Need a reminder of what and where exactly is Stush in the Bush? Check out Suga’s Review on them a bit over a year ago by clicking on the link below:-
Now that you are either up to speed, you are already aware of the hidden culinary experience or you are just so curious that you want to read on, I will keep you in suspense no further.
Last Saturday I visited Stush in the Bush’s second Moonlight event with friends. The event costed $80USD with limited spaces. As soon as all spaces were filled, a notification was sent out. Before the event, we were updated and teased with emails of the menu, what to wear aka ‘Bush Glam’, a little of what to expect etc., just enough to let you remember the event, be well prepared and to remain enthusiastic about it. The directions given were also detailed to the key so you would not get lost.
There was a threat of rains from Hurricane Erika, so on the day we were told to wait it out a little until given more information. The event was to start at 3pm. We got the clear with pictures of bright sunshine a little after 1pm. So my friends and I decided to get ourselves together to make our way out. We got there at 4pm. Only ‘4-wheel drives’ could go directly downhill to the farm, otherwise you would have to park at the top and walk down because it was quite steep and rough. Hence the ‘Bush Glam’ dress code to wear boots, closed foot shoes etc.
Upon entry we saw a few people gathered, already nibbling on appetizers. I had no doubt food would be circulated already. Mrs. Lisa Binns is always prepared, on time and seems to be quite a perfectionist. My friends and I were greeted by both Lisa and her husband, Chris on our way in, genuinely warm and pleasant as usual. There was also a welcome sign with our names along with other guests, which I found to be quite creative and hospitable of them.
Now to the food! Let me start out by saying that I found everything delicious throughout the evening except for the Potato and Leek soup that was just ‘ok’ and the Robalo (fish) for the main course, which was overcooked. But they had so much going on, food everywhere you turned, as soon as you stopped eating, something else was brought out for you to experience, so those two, yes, literally two items that were not made to perfection, seemed oh so negligible.
The ‘First Bites’ were as follows:
The Rosemary Beer Bread really had the taste of Red Stripe beer and you could taste the rum in the Rum Guava sauce for the Yam and Pineapple Croquettes! Awesome. We also had access to freshly chopped Coconuts. The Fiyah Grilled Pizza that stood out for me was the Pesto pizza. Delish!
As the majority of guests arrived to the lovely venue with a spectacular view, we were given an official welcome by Lisa followed by Chris. She gave many thanks to her guests for coming, especially returnees and important guests to her such as Anna-Kay Tomlinson aka Miss T from Miss T’s Kitchen, who continuously encouraged Lisa from the very beginning and Chef Conroy Arnold from Hermosa Cove who also loves to use their products, especially their fresh, local greens from the farm. Their farm, called Zionites farm, had a nice ambience and was quite cool.
We were also reminded that the first ingredient of their products are Love and Affection, sometimes hard to come by, said Chris. However, their love story is quite sweet and it is obvious they continue to care, love and support each other throughout their lives, especially at the toughest times such as the passing of their mothers. Imagine, when Chris met Lisa, her mother died 5 days after. He could either step up or run. He said he did a bit of both but he made sure he found himself on that plane to Barbados to meet the family and go to the funeral. Quite a task. But he made it happen.
They thanked The Jamaica Observer, who of course has been there from the very start and other persons who helped with the event to make it even more dynamic such as Select Brands, Grace Kennedy for the Harbour wines and spirits, Gina May Mair from Fresh Monger JA (known for wild caught, premium seafood) for the Ceviche and fresh, local fish and Sasha Palmer, CEO of Liqy Liqy who provided popsicles for part of dessert. It was nice to see the support given on both sides for Moonlight and each other’s products, even leading up to the event.
What was even nicer to know, when they thanked their staff, we learnt it comprised of people they trained from within their community. Lisa mentioned she would also like to start a Young Women’s group for young ladies leaving school with no jobs and young mothers, creating even more opportunities for persons in the community. A nursery on property for their young ones to be monitored and in a safe place while they work is in the plans too. Also, cooking classes for them and us folks, that has already been a frequent request.
That was an inspiring mouthful that had everyone’s close attention, as Lisa is always so eloquent and Chris adds his quiet touch of humour. We moved on to have fun at the Selfie station where an actual selfie stick was provided. Ha! Finally learnt how to use one. We then gathered by a huge fig tree and joined hands, a place of meditation for Chris.
For the main course, we walked down the love path made by arched plants and trees and sat on benches by tables that held at least 10 people. So it was a homey atmosphere that facilitated socializing and even a little networking.
The main course aka ‘Stush dining’ was as follows, paired with red and white Harbour wines & spirits accordingly:-
The Mango & Lime Ceviche shooter and Zionites Farm signature salad including Arugula, Microgreens, Jackfruit, Watermelon and Tomatoes along with a choice of Mango lime & ginger vinaigrette was fantastic. Their Blow Fyah sauce in small doses of course, went well with the Robalo and grilled veggies.
We had the pleasure of sitting with Ms. Sasha Palmer, founder and CEO of Liqy Liqy based in Manchester, who also won the Business Journalists’ award at Jamaica Observer’s Mogul in the Making Ceremony this year. She had such a lovely personality. Certainly a pleasure conversing with her. She is quite passionate about what she does even though it is her side business.
She also offers opportunities to persons within her community in Mandeville by employing single mothers to make the popsicles and run the Liqy Liqy carts at events.
She was excited to share that they cater popsicle treats in all sizes, shapes and forms for Bachelorette parties and other events. Wink wink. From what I remember that night, she had the flavours of Mango, Lemon and Basil, Tamarind and Coconut. The Vanilla flavour made its debut and it was delicious like Devon House Ice Cream, BUT all the popsicles are 100% organic and low in calories. For the others that I had, the Lemon and Basil popsicles were refreshing and good palette cleansers and the Coconut was tasty as well.
Liqy Liqy’s gourmet popsicles should be on the shelves soon, if they aren’t already, at supermarkets such as Loshusan, John R Wong and all the Sugar & Spice locations. Look out for their Sorbets coming soon too. Follow them @LiqyLiqy on Instagram and Facebook.
The bonfire had begun and we made our way back up to where we gathered at the beginning to be greeted by Ginger cookies topped with Lemon Curd.
For those watching their weight, the whole day was practically guilt free until I was presented with extremely salivating Dessert pizza with Banana, Chocolate, Peanut butter and more. Even though it was practically all Vegan, it was the winning dessert for me! Another Dessert pizza with Jackfruit also came out and that grill kept firing up more. I thought all of that created fireworks in my stomach, only to hear real fireworks behind me. What a pleasant surprise! They definitely went all out.
Only one person in the crew checked the time so we wouldn’t get carried away into the night there. Wine was still flowing, sauces and spreads were on sale and it seemed like we missed the after party on the dance floor. It was just after 8pm, the time at which Moonlight was scheduled to be finished. So definitely not a typical Jamaican event, as it had an on-time start and finish. We appreciated that they were considerate of our time, allowing us to get back into town at a reasonable hour.
Wow, what a delightful evening that left everyone impressed and fully satisfied. A refreshing experience that freed the mind, both an inner and outer body experience in a sophisticated-rustic atmosphere. They prepared and catered to the vegans, vegetarians, those who couldn’t eat pineapples, all with allergies, those who had to eat gluten-free, you name it. Well done Chris, Lisa and all the others that came together to make it happen.
So what else is on the horizon for Stush in the Bush? A possible Bed and Breakfast, a Yoga platform around the huge fig tree, where a bonfire was lit for the night and an outpost on another Caribbean island.
Suga cannot wait to return with even more friends and family!