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Jul 21, 2018







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1Love Caribbean Festival

Where: Milford Community House lawn, 5 Union St., Milford
When: Saturday, Sept. 3, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
Cost: Free 
Visit: cfcg-tpr.vpweb.com




Tropical tastes
New cultural festival features Caribbean cuisine

09/01/16
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



 Experience the flavors of the islands at the first annual 1Love Caribbean Festival, with food representing at least four different Caribbean nations as well as cultural music and dance performances, craft vendors and fun for kids.

The festival is happening Saturday, Sept. 3, at the Milford Community House lawn and is hosted by the Caribbean Fete & Cultural Group. The new organization was founded by Manchester woman Rane Edwards, who grew up in the U.S. Virgin Islands on the island of St. Croix, and her husband Albert Edwards Jr., who works as a local chef.
“The Caribbean community has been included in some of the other festivals going on, but there was nothing for us specifically,” Rane Edwards said. “I looked around and noticed that Glendi is its own festival, Mahrajan is its own festival, and I thought to myself, there’s Caribbean people here. Why don’t we go ahead and create something to educate New Hampshire about our food and culture and way of life?”
There will be at least four food vendors at the festival, each offering cuisine specific to a different Caribbean nation. The lineup includes Dos A-A Restaurant of Nashua representing Colombia, Manchester-based food truck Made With Love 603 representing Puerto Rico, an individual representing Jamaica and the Edwards representing the Virgin Islands.
While there are cooking styles characteristic of the Caribbean region as a whole, Edwards said she is encouraging vendors to bring food that is distinguishable from the others’ and emphasizes what makes the cuisine from their represented countries unique.
“We’re trying to not have dishes that are too vague. We want them to be very country-specific so there’s more of a variety,” she said. “Everyone could do a curry, it’s a Caribbean staple food, but they aren’t going to do that. They’re going to represent their countries with their countries’ specialties like jerk spice for Jamaica or empanadas for Puerto Rico.”
At the Virgin Islands booth, Edwards and her husband will be serving up traditional treats like banana fritters and juices like passion fruit, tamarind, soursop and sorrel as well as a spicy ginger beer.
“We don’t dumb it down at all,” she said, “so if you don’t like the spice then don’t drink it because it goes down really good and spicy.”
In Caribbean culture, Edwards said, people form a more personal connection with food. Both girls and boys are taught at a young age to cook, and most people grow their own produce and catch their own fish, or source from a friend or family member who does, as opposed to buying food at a store. Their cooking is thoughtful and unhurried with an emphasis on flavor.
“There’s a lot of seasoning and flavoring in our food. You would never say a dish is bland or that you can’t taste the cumin or the sofrito,” she said. “We cook with a lot of love, and you can taste the love in our food.”
In addition to the food, visitors at the festival can experience other aspects of Caribbean culture like moko jumbie (also know as stilt walking), fire dancing and other traditional performing arts.  
“We have an intense pride about our lifestyle and who we are, and we’re excited to show that to people in New Hampshire,” Edwards said.





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