WINE TINGS with a WineMaker.

“Making good wine is a skill, fine wine is an art.” – Robert Mondavi

Now most people who know me personally, know that when you say wine, you’re literally speaking my love language. Among my friends, I’m the Yneaux [wino]; primarily because I am known for my erudition and indulgence of all things wine. Simply, wine is everything. And that’s not to boast, that’s just how intrigued and passionate I am about the whole experience from grape to glass.


A self-taught connoisseur of wine and all it entails, wine has been a passion and an intimate part of my life for the better part of six years and I foresee many more years to come. But my sojourn with wine, hasn’t just led to nights of imbibing, it’s undoubtedly expanded and improved my palate to be able to identify and discern flavours in foods. Which has impacted my cooking too. It’s a whole food thing and I love it!


What’s been super cool about this journey though are the doors that it’s been opening for me. From food writing to photography and now, networking with a Senior Winemaker for one of the most renowned brands in the world-Robert Mondavi.

…and it was amazing!


“Even more importantly, it’s wine, food and the arts. Incorporating those three enhances the quality of life.”-Robert Mondavi


If you’ve never heard of Robert Mondavi Wine, firstly, where have you been? I kid, kind-a! But seriously, Robert Mondavi Wines has been around for over 50 years and is renowned for producing some of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon wines in the world, as well as for its Sauvignon Blanc grapes used in the production of their signature, Fumé Blanc.


The namesake of Robert Mondavi himself, Robert Mondavi Wines is located in the town of Oakville, in the Napa Valley County of California-aka wine country, really. Their belief was that wines produced should reflect the origins of the grapes used to produce them and as such their unique flavours and varietals did just that. But unique to this brand is the use of Jamaican Rum Barrels in the aging process of their Robert Mondavi Private Selection Merlot.


But this isn’t a lesson on wines…nor history on Robert Mondavi.

[Look out for that in the next issue of Indulge Food & Wine Magazine]


When your Editor says, “Hey, we have an 8:00 am meeting with Jason Dodge from Robert Mondavi wines,” no matter how much of a morning person you are NOT, you make it happen. When she goes further and says “He’s the Senior Winemaker for their Private Selection, do you have any questions for him?”, even if you think you’re the ultimate brain on wines, you find something to ask. And that’s exactly what I did.


Crav’nish: What’s the best pairing for a Beef Patty?

For (Tastee) Beef Patties, I’d say RMPS Heritage Red Blend.  –JD


Crav’nish: What’s the best pairing for Jerked Pork?

Jerked Pork- RMPS Pinot Noir.  –JD


Crav’nish: What’s your recommended pairing for Curried Goat?

Curry Goat- RMPS Rum Barrel Aged Merlot.  –JD


Crav’nish: What’s your recommended pairing for Oxtail?

Oxtail- RMPS Cabernet.  –JD


Crav’nish: What’s the one thing you’d suggest to someone, like myself, who is fascinated by wine and wants to become an expert?

To become an expert you need to expose yourself to wines from around the world. Only then will you start to build that database of smells and tastes and textures. There are some great resources on the internet as well. I recommend traveling as well to experience a wine region I person. –JD


Crav’nish:  What’s your favourite varietal from the Robert Mondavi Private Selection?

It’s hard to choose a favorite variety because I love all of my children but I tend to drink the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet most often. The Sauvignon in the warmer months is fantastic as well.  -JD

…and considering it’s usually warm in Jamaica, I’m personally honing in on that Sauvignon tip!


And there you have it. A long over-due blog post on what it was like meeting a winemaker and a few things I had to know from THE EXPERT himself, Jason Dodge, Snr. Winemaker at Robert Mondavi Private Selection.


Follow him on IG at @jasondodgewine

 **RMPS-Robert Mondavi Private Selection




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Patty Business

Patty Business a nuh joke ting! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
When a Jamaican talks patty, listen. There’s a whole science behind it.
Don’t believe me? Check this out…
If you’ve never had a hot Jamaican patty, then you need to add it to your foodie bucket list ASAP! The hot meaty goodness, well spiced and nestled neatly within a flaky crust… oh man!

For many Jamaicans, Patty is just part of the food culture. Having a patty or two on a weekly basis, dare I say daily basis, is as natural as rice and peas for Sunday dinner. Our patty culture is so rich and so deeply ingrained in Jamaica, that it breaks through societal barriers and brings us together. You may even think we came up with the ingenious idea of filling a flaky   crust with beef, chicken, fish, lobster and the like. We didn’t, but I’m sure we perfected.The Business of Patty is a historical one, and without going into too much of a history lesson, let’s just say it’s one of the rare gifts left by our colonial ancestors that has actually benefited us. One we’ve, in true Jamaican style, made uniquely ours and perfected.

Today, centuries later, patty is a BOOMIN’ business with numerous players on the market, such as Tastees, Juici, Mother’s and Devon House Bakery, creating their own signature recipes.

When we decided to put a few self proclaimed patty connoisseurs to the test, we had no idea it was this deep.

Do you know your patty?



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Smurf’s Cafe

It was an early morning, just like this, that day…    
Can you tell I’m here for the dramatics? Well, only when it comes to GREAT FOOD & equally amazing service.

Normally, I’m not one for a heavy first meal. I’m a grab and go kinda gal. But this morning in particular I was really crav’n more of an indulgence than normal. So I was really excited to check out Smurf’s Cafe.Now when it comes to food, admittedly I can be a little picky. I don’t eat for eating sake [never have] and would rather go hungry than eat something that will mess with my palate. But somehow, on arriving at this charming corner bar restaurant, I wanted to eat all the things!

Smurf’s Cafe, St. Elizabeth.

Smurf’s Cafe is a neatly nestled, corner bar restaurant, along the Treasure Beach stretch in St. Elizabeth. Located at the corner, where the road bends towards Billy’s Bay. It’s unassuming and looks like any other corner bar you’d find on any road trip across the island. But it’s not. The menu is bigger than the place itself and the aromas from the kitchen scream good home cooking. Food is freshly done to order and the coffee is Jamaica’s best, hot and rich.

You place your order and have a little wait until your meal is prepared and served to you. The open air setting, vibrant colours and melodic tunes of the local musicians that vibe there, make the wait seemingly non existent and very worth it. It gives patrons the opportunity to chat a little and truly anticipate the experience they’re about to have. An experience with great food.

Now as a Jamaican, I believe my palate holds Jamaican Cooks/Chefs to a higher standard, especially when making traditional meals. The fried dumplings must taste suh and the ackee must look suh. It’s a whole thing that happens in my head, even before the first bite. Undoubtedly, Smurf’s Cafe hit and surpassed the mark that morning. It nice suh till! Ackee and Saltfish, fried dumplings, plantains, roast breadfruit & pear (avocado). Oh my! But it doesn’t stop there, if you’re continental, like I tend to be on the rare occasion, then they have their scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, pancakes and waffles for you. There were fritters and omelettes, fruits salads, porridge and sandwiches. Anything you could possibly want for $650 JMD or just under $5.00 USD.







Now for a relatively selective foodie, who believes a great meal is way more than just the food, but includes the place, the service, the experience and the way you feel right throughout; Smurf’s Cafe got full marks.

A definite must go for me and the DownDiRoad Team once we’re in the area! We highly recommend you check them out too.

It’s food livity & culture the soul needs.




Smurf’s Cafe

Treasure Beach
(876) 504-7814


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Welcome to Crav’nish!

This odyssey to food, started 30 years ago, when a woman from Downtown Kingston, Jamaica, had a child…

Okay, no seriously, but I really do believe I was made for such a time as this.


I’ve always had a kind of love:hate relationship with food. I love the colours, aromas, textures, tastes and the juxtaposition that takes place when you mix them all together. I am intrigued by the inherent mouth watering effect of food that smells good, and in love with spices that carry big flavours. But I hated eating. [Weird, I know.] That is until I discovered myself.


In 2011, I met one of my *“soulmates” and he taught me how to truly define myself and in defining me, the things I loved and that brought me joy. He taught me it was okay to be different, to take risks, deviate from the norm and the importance of living loudly, with 100% honesty. Evenings spent, over bottles of wine … that’s how Crav’nish started.


So it’s been years in the making, I just didn’t know it yet. It was years of cooking and creating recipes with a tupse o’ dis and a dash o’ dat. It’s the years of Cookouts with friends, all the Christmas and Birthday Dinners with Family, it’s Date Nights & Drink Ups. It’s wine and wine glasses on the Beach, interviews with world renowned Chefs published in Food Magazines; and it’s a late night par with my Dad and Brother at a roadside bar drinking a Dragon.


And for you, Crav’nish could be even more…


Crav’nish is food, all that it entails and all that it leaves you with- Culture, Lifestyle and Livity. It’s that thing you’ve been craving and the craven way we indulge in that first taste. Crav’nish is good food that satiates the soul and the belly.


Follow me, Yhuli J., as the DownDiRoad Team and I, explore Food Culture, Lifestyle and Livity through Crav’nish.




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