Spring is nigh, but the Barbados’ Sugar and Rum season is already in full swing! The brainchild of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority, the Sugar and Rum Season 2017 is the newest celebration of sugar and rum to hit the island’s events’ calendar, paying a colourful tribute to the island’s rich heritage and culture surrounding its most prolific treats.

For the next week, until April 1, locals and visitors alike will enjoy the culmination of the intimate story of the island’s sugar history and the birth of rum from their humble beginnings to their years of international acclaim. The two-month long season, which is not to be confused with a festival, has adopted a nationalistic approach and takes patrons to all corners of the island for the riveting history lesson and delicious treats – it is the perfect blend of culinary and culture!

As a teaser to this amazing story, one must appreciate the island’s flamboyant history. While Barbados’ first major crops were cotton and tobacco, declining quality and demand, as well as a diminished labour force, caused these doomed crops to give way to the advent of sugar cane. Introduced to the island in the 1600s from Dutch Brazil, the crop thrived on the island thanks to its flat terrain, rich soils and the island’s original Jewish community who grew the industry to one of the world’s biggest during that period.

This introduction brought not only a bountiful sugar industry, but also the period of the island’s most stellar craftsmanship – the creation of rum. Birthed as a by-product of sugar production, the spirit gained popularity with locals, and weathered centuries carrying its signature quality – and the island’s name – far and wide across the globe. With an undeniable repertoire of the finest rums produced globally, Barbados offers several brands and types of rum suited to every fancy, including the world’s oldest Mount Gay, whose story is almost four centuries in the making.

Today, the large plantation estates, windmills, distilleries and other remnants of this era of sugar and rum still dot the island’s landscape as a reminder of its heyday. During the Sugar and Rum season, tours and other activities are hosted at some of these historic locations, offering its patrons the chance to experience and delve further below the surface of their stately personas. During this final week of the on the season’s calendar, enjoy rum cocktail tours, a candlelight dinner, a tour of historic Bridgetown as well as sugar and rum-themed barbecue, lectures, expo, cooking classes and the island’s annual chocolate festival! For further information visit the Barbados Tourism Product Authority’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/TheBTPA.