San Juan Satisfies Palates

Epicureans to unite at first annual culinary festival

By: Kara Cutruzzula

Saborea Puerto Rico: A Culinary Extravaganza will be held on the blue flag beach of Isla Verde in San Juan this year April 4-6. Sponsored by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), the first annual culinary festival will celebrate Puerto Rico’s culinary traditions and give epicureans the chance to sample dishes prepared by some of the island’s most renowned chefs.

“We are proud to announce San Juan’s first annual culinary festival, Saborea, being held on the gorgeous Isla Verde Beach. The festival will bring together prominent chefs, sommeliers and epicureans and will allow foodies from around the world to sample the rich flavors of our island, which date back to pre-Hispanic times,” said Terestella Gonzalez Denton, executive director, PRTC.

The beachfront, weekend-long celebration will be hosted by the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association (PRHTA) and include demo kitchens, signature events, wine seminars, kids’ kitchens and a Tasting Pavilion available to ticket holders.

Over 18 chefs and 32 Puerto Rican restaurants have already been confirmed, with more to be announced. Chefs and celebrities include the Food Network’s Ingrid Hoffman, Michel Richard (Citronelle, Washington D.C.), Augusto Schreiner (Augusto’s, Puerto Rico), Giovanna Huyke (Puerto Rican celebrity chef) and Bon Appetit’s wine and spirits consultant, Steve Olson.

When tickets are purchased with MasterCard by March 15, visitors will receive an instant $15 discount. Participating restaurants throughout the island will have discounts and special offers as well.

Clarisa Jimenez, PRHTA president and CEO said, “The Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association is elated to co-sponsor the Saborea festival, a groundbreaking festival for the island, which ultimately will drive tourism and showcase some of the great hotel properties and their restaurants in and around San Juan.”

Over the last several years, Puerto Rican chefs, such as the famous Wilo Benet, have spearheaded a Puerto Rican-fusion culinary trend, blending traditional Puerto Rican flavors and dishes with international cuisines to produce flavors found nowhere else in the world. These flavors can be sampled in San Juan at restaurants, such as Panza (Chateau Cervantes Hotel), Pikayo (Puerto Rico Art Museum), and at the recently opened Budatai in Condado.

“Saborea is a major stepping stone in placing Puerto Rico on the world’s culinary map. Our food, much like the island, is a unique fusion of various ingredients and traditions, which embodies the true spirit of Puerto Rico,” said Barbara Mari, executive producer of Saborea.