Similar to how we Californians worship our native avocados and…wine (?!), Antiguans are proud of their indigenous produce- namely mangoes- and the many ways they can be enjoyed. To pay homage, the Mango Festival was created ten years ago and has since become a “can’t miss” event attended each summer in Antigua by tourists and locals alike. Located in the orchards of beautiful Christian Valley where over 30 varieties of mangoes are grown, this festival celebrates all things mango – the tropical “king of fruit”- with live music, a market, kids’ activities, competitions, games, and more. Everything mango-made you could dream of shows up at the festival – from fruity soaps and preserves, to scented candles and wine.
To kick off the festival, the Antigua & Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute hosts the Mango Pineapple Culinary Competition whereby local professional chefs are invited to create dishes using these key ingredients. The judges told us they were looking for dishes that exhibited a balance of nutrition, visual appeal, creative usage of pineapple and mango, and a fusion of flavor that had international appeal.
We were fortunate enough to sample Ana’sentry prepared by their Executive Chef Naomi Thomas (check out our Antigua guide for more on Ana’s) who took home 2nd place in the competition. Here’s the recipe for her winning dish-- Antiguan Pineapple Cavalier Infused Snapper with Basil and Mango Mashed Potatoes and Baby Spinach Beet Salad.
Fillet of Snapper
Drain, add heavy cream, salt, pepper, pureed mango, and blend well
Season fillet of snapper with salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning
Heat pan with olive oil and sear fish on both sides -- then set aside
Ring the pineapple and put in a pan on low heat with a little butter, garlic, parsley,
Cavalier Rum, white wine, lemon juice
Place cherry tomato in center of each pineapple
Place snapper skin down on top of pineapple and cherry tomato and flash in oven for 2-3 minutes
Place mango mashed potatoes on plate with snapper covered in pineapple and cherry tomato rings on top
On the side add cubed boiled beets and baby spinach salad, garnish with mango slices.