The Jamaican Blue Mountain Culinary Trail is a forte into the world of gastronomy tourism. In 2015, the Blue and John Crow Mountains made UNESCO’s World Heritage list for its natural offerings and historical role as a refuge for Tainos and Maroon communities.
The Blue Mountains have long been an area for local weekend warriors and adventurous visitors to hike, bird watch, bike and camp. The narrow, windy roads and steep cliff sides aren’t for the faint of heart. The difficulty in navigating these roads contributes to the region’s unspoiled character. Here you will find rustic and upscale offerings that pull from the mountain’s charm.
There are fifteen participating eateries and attractions along the trail, each with breathtaking views of mountains, lush greenery and Kingston city below. The cuisine on the trail range from the unique coffee farms of Craighton Estate, Old Tavern and Mavis Bank to traditional flavorful local cuisine at Crystal Edge and Rafjam and Jamaican fusion cuisine at EITS Cafe, Blue Ridge, Belcour and Strawberry Hill. These include Strawberry Hill, RafJam Bed and Breakfast, Belcour Lodge, Blue Ridge restaurant, Craighton Estates and EITS Cafe.
Here is a round- up of our favorite stops on the Blue Mountain Culinary Trail.
A short fifteen minute drive from Papine Square will take you to a serene valley, away from the cacophony. Belcour Lodge is a private, colonial era home. A river runs on the property and the gardens brim with orchids and flowers endemic to the region. Robin and Michael Lumsden offer culinary tours of the property which includes an apiary , citrus orchard and other fruit trees. Robin also makes artisanal, savory gourmet condiments, pepper sauces and fruit preserves.
Crystal Edge Restaurant
Proprietor, Winsome Hall, started selling pan chicken on the roadside. Today, she has an established restaurant with a jaw dropping view. The restaurant prepares hearty Jamaican staples like oxtail, chicken soup, curried goat and jerk chicken. They only prepare four dishes and are normally sold out by early afternoon.
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Located on same majestic nook as Crystal Edge, Café Blue is a coffee shop like no other. Their recently expanded deck juts over a lush valley of banana trees below. To the right is a stunning view of rolling hills and pine trees. Serving the best Blue Mountain coffee and decadent cakes, pastries and sandwiches, Café Blue is a serene experience.
RafJam Bed and Breakfast
Deep in the valley of the Red Light District and nestled between two rivers, RafJam offers an authentic Jamaican experience. Imagine a childhood spent dipping in rivers, climbing trees, picking fruit and scaling huge rocks and you will get RafJam’s appeal. Lodging options vary from single rooms to large cabins.
EITS offers a delightful trifecta of fusion restaurant, cliff side organic farm and backpacker lodging. The rustic laid back feel will lull you to sleep after you’ve filled up on delicious dishes like crab cakes, smoked barrel roasted chicken and spicy escovitched fish. Most of the food served here is grown on site or sourced from nearby farms.
Strawberry Hill Hotel
A relaxed, bohemian chic style exudes at Strawberry Hill. Owned by record producer and former manager of Bob Marley, Chris Blackwell, the expansive property doesn’t try too hard to impress. The simple, fresh menu with modern Caribbean flavors is a hallmark of world class dining. The property has twelve Georgian style cottages, a delightful infinity pool and a calming botanical garden.