Jun 29, 2010

Megalicious Wednesdays: EXPO JAMAICA

Welcome to Megalicious Wednesdays when MyEliteGrocer.com (MEG) blogs each week about outstanding food & beverage products and gift ideas for all occasions and every pocket.

Recently MEG was one of 300 + registered buyers at EXPO JAMAICA, a bi-annual event held at the island's National Arena 17-20 June. While there and after a year-long hiatus, we were inspired to return to the 'blogging' world. Our aim in this piece is to create awareness about strong products that MEG believes is on the brink of meteoric success.

Continental Baking Company (National Bakery) sponsored 11 upcoming stars of manufacturing in Jamaica. They include Banyan Creations, Chocolate Dreams, Pastry Passions, Matie Sauce and more. This Gary ‘Butch’ Hendrickson-led initiative is to be commended and sincerely hope will be repeated and adopted by other large businesses as an innovative way to giveback, help and grow a prosperous Jamaica, land we love.

Source: JIS

As a side note, I had the pleasure of working with Kevin Hendrickson and his Father, Jamaica’s most successful entrepreneur, Karl Hendrickson. The experience was one that made an indelible impression and will cherish forever. For quick references of Hendricksons' entrepreneurial 'winners', see the Courtleigh Hotel incl. Corporate Center & Auditorium, Caribbean Boiler's Group & Knutsford Court.

While there were numerous products & services on display at the Expo, we have elected to highlight four (4) strong food & beverage (F&B) products. They are as follows: -
1. Matie Sauce
Convenient and vacuum-sealed with an ‘easy to pour’ spout, this ‘Guavaliciously Irie’ sauce comes from Lloyd Sterling, Champion Pan chicken cook and a BOLD one. Guava, blended with traditional jerk seasoning is the heart of this product. Yum! Yum!
Samples were served with Sterling’s award winning pan-chicken and get this, tofu. Yes, that’s right - pan-jerked tofu!!! Generally, tofu is found to be an acquired taste but ever the adventurous foodie I tried it. Much to my taste-bud's surprise, both the richness of the jerk and the sweetness of the guava made for a wonderful tofu complement.

MEG definitely sees Matie Sauce as the newest kid on the block at cocktail parties, Sunday brunch gatherings and such.

2. Local Spice Jamaica Ltd
'Supporting our local farmers'
Conceptualized by Jamaican twins, Marvin & Marlon Stuart [Stella Maris Prep. grads - WOOT! WOOT!], coupled with blessings from ABC NewsSupermarket Guru, this product is a force to be reckoned with. One single usage pouch of their complete seasoning serves 3-4 lb of meat and it has a harmonious blend of Jamaican jerk: hot and spicy. Beautifully packages and priced for everyone’s pockets, Local Spice’s easy-on-the-go packaging gets MEG’s endorsement as a must-have on your weekly grocery list!

To have Local Spice in your home, at a preferred rate of J$20 per 15g pouch & doorstep delivery, please contact MEG at: myelitegrocer.com or dial (876) 564.8041

3. Barrington House Premium Cigar Ltd (BHPC)
'The Taste of Distinction'
It was a lovely surprise to see premium Jamaican hand-made cigars on display. En route to my family based in Sevens Estate, May Pen, back in the day, would take us by acres and acres of tobacco fields. Sadly, the vast acreage was suddenly swept away by the forces of Hurricane Gilbert in 1988. Though fields were subsequently re-planted, we often pondered if the lush tobacco leaves would regain prominence or disappear from the landscape. As you can imagine, when I learned that Sevens Estate fields were one of Barrington House Cigars’ tobacco suppliers, I was pleased. Even more so, BHPC's cigar-making exhibit was positively captivating.

While a non-smoker myself, I am a fan of the cigar’s distinctive smell. MEG chatted with BHPC's Jamaican marketing representative, Ms. Pamela Bruce, and learned that re-packaging their Harvill Jamaica brand that offers hand-rolled, flavored cigars namely: Rum, Cognac and Vanilla is currently in the pipelines. This is indeed great news since their 5-pack burgundy & white package for mild, mellow smokes says ‘dull’ and does not let-on to just how exciting these 5.00 x 28 panatella size cigars are.

Source: Jamaican Cigars

BHPC has other leading brands including Pride of Jamaica, Fundadores, Montalvo & Santa Cruz – Pirates. An upcoming MEG blog will look at the history of Cigar-manufacturing in Jamaica. As a teaser, Jamaican cigars were excellent substitutes in 1960’s in lieu of 'Cubans' since Cuba's soil composition is similar and prone to the same climatic conditions as Jamaica. More anon.

4. Stanmark Agro-Food Processor
'Quality you can taste'
MEG particularly likes Breadfruit-in-brine under Stanmark’s Island Sun brand. Any member of the Jamaican diaspora will be well-pleased that this popular roasted breakfast complement, can now be closer to their plates by means of opening a canned tin of Island Sun without any hassle. And yes, canned ackees and callaloo are available too.

So there you have it, EXPO JAMAICA was time well spent. Kudos to the organizers headed by JAMPRO - Miss Carole Beckford & Ms. Berletta Forrester! NOTE: The next Expo will be held on 26-29 April 2012, please bookmark and for participation contact Carole at: (876) 978-7755 Ext. 2067 cbeckford@jamprocorp.com

Thanks for spending time with MEG today. Stop by again for Megalicious Wednesdays. Until then share your thoughts about today's blog and tell us what you'd like to see from MEG.

NEXT WEDNESDAY: You won't want to miss Jamaican Guest Blogger, Sacha Page, who will take us on an epicurean journey through Spain: Madrid & Seville. By the way, tomorrow July 1st is International Reggae Day so on that note, we offer a listen to reggae favorites: -
  1. Bob Marley & the Wailers, Stir It Up
  2. Third World, Mr. Reggae Ambassador
  3. Etana & Alborosie, Blessings
Megaliciously yours...


  1. Matie Sauce! How did he come up with that name? It's probably quite interesting. :) Anybody want to hazard a guess?

  2. LOL, Sandi! As you know 'Matie' is the Jamaican colloquial use of the term for a man's mistress. Chef Sterling says "It is the competing sauce, so in that sense it is the 'Matie' in competition with the other products, (but) more importantly, it is a chef's mate. It assists the chef in rescuing or creating new and exciting meal ideas."

  3. congrats and good luck its a chance to bring this product to Spain , i would love to check in my paginas amarilla if you have any information or persons whom i can talk about this product . got to try this one !


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