On the southern end of the Leeward Islands chain, the sun-seeking traveller can find Antigua and Barbuda: two islands united in their exceptional offering of natural beauty, aquatic adventure, and charming accommodations. Beyond the dual-island destination’s many natural gifts and manmade attractions, however, you’ll find a vibrant and storied Caribbean culture that expresses itself through art, architecture, and - of course - food.
The ABTA (Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority) and the ABHTA (Antigua and Barbuda Hotel and Tourism Association) have always been deeply involved with events in Antigua and Barbuda designed to enhance the tourist experience and showcase the edible culture of the destination. In recent years, the ABTA and the ABHTA have expended greater effort in promoting the destination’s cuisine and for good reason: Antigua and Barbuda elevates Caribbean classic fare to new levels of tastiness. These efforts have materialized into not one, but two food festivals - one for each island - and believe us when we say they are both worth tasting. When you book a vacation to Antigua and Barbuda, make sure you come hungry!
Photo courtesy of Humble & Free Wadadli, Antigua
On Antigua, the Taste of Wadadli just might be the can’t-miss event of the year for the travelling foodie. 2022’s incarnation, taking place during Tourism Week, delighted diners with pop-up food stands, a hot sauce competition, a cricket match, and a battle to crown the island’s best mixologist. 2023’s edition is shaping up to be another exciting exercise in titillating tastebuds.
Fungee and Pepperpot; photo courtesy of the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority
The Taste of Wadadli food festival is a major tourism and cultural event focused on Antiguan heritage - specifically, its culinary heritage. Walk amongst the many pop-up food stands and embrace the many mouthwatering aromas. From home-cooked Caribbean classics like Fungee, Pepperpot, and Ducana to local twists on international dishes, The Taste of Wadadli is the best place to get a feel for the full breadth of Antigua’s culinary creativity.
The Taste of Wadadli includes a tour that spotlights various eateries around the island in what the locals would call a “liming” experience: a laid-back excursion that feels more like reconnecting with old friends. Visitors will get to know both the food and the people that prepare it: ‘to truly know a people you must first get to know their food”, as they say. To help participants work off some of the heavier dishes, the tour includes a few hiking areas. The traveller who is intellectually hungry (in addition to the regular kind of hungry) will no doubt relish the opportunity to survey the island’s historic cultural and religious sites with a Ras Freeman guide. With plenty of opportunities to participate in Wellness and Adventure activities during the festivities, there’s no single or restrictive definition of the Taste of Wadadli: it’s truly a celebration of all things Antiguan enjoyed at whichever pace you favour.
Frigatebird at the Frigate Bird Sanctuary Barbuda
Antigua’s quieter counterpart, Barbuda has an outsized reputation for such a small island. Its list of attractions is surprisingly long: it’s home to the largest Frigatebird colony in the Western Hemisphere, has one of the longest beaches in the Caribbean, and is rife with coastal caves hiding undisturbed indigenous petroglyphs. While Robert De Niro may have thrust Barbuda into the international spotlight when he opened a Nobu on one of its beaches, the island’s culinary scene absolutely stands on its own merit. On the Taste of Wa’Omoni tour, visitors will enjoy the totality of the Barbudan experience. Exploring the avian sanctuaries, delving into indigenous history, and sampling the local restaurants, the Taste of Wa’Omoni is a holistic and compelling journey of Barbuda. The Wa’Omoni Bestaurant (Yes, with a “B”!) in Codrington is a family-owned eatery that has become something of an institution on the island and - as you might expect - plays a starring culinary role in the tour. The Conch and venison burgers are quintessentially Barbudan, and the freshly made cakes and puddings are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. The Taste of Wa’Omoni may not have the same fanfare and scale as its Antiguan reflection, but that’s exactly the point: for lovers of natural beauty with a healthy appetite, Barbuda is where you’ll want to be.
With the wide variety of events that Antigua & Barbuda offers throughout the year, the Taste events are only the beginning.