Cut-off denims, a leaky tent and Lorde on the main stage. That's a festival, right? Well so is this: Flour, cornmeal, etc.

In Jamaica, a "festival" is a cylindrical, slightly sweet, fried cornbread. No one knows how it got its name, but locals swear this dense doughnut masquerading as a dinner roll is a party in the mouth.

Festivals made the menu at Auckland's Seafarer's Club recently, as part of a pop-up bar created to celebrate a visit by Joy Spence - the world's first female Master Blender.

Jamaican-born Spence has just celebrated 20 years in the top role at Appleton Estate. She's travelled the world with rum, but one of her favourite memories was made in New Zealand when she exited a helicopter and raised a glass cooled with a fresh chip of glacier ice.


Spence's Appleton Estate Joy Anniversary Blend is on sale here now for $350 a bottle, but if you're looking for a cheap and cheerful taste of Jamaica, try this:

Mix 1 cup cornmeal, 1 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 Tbsp sugar, and ½ tsp salt. Add just enough cold water to make a stiff dough.

Flour your hands well and knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for just a minute or so. Divide into 12 and roll each into a small cigar shape, tapered at the ends.

Pour enough oil into a skillet to reach about 2.5cm deep. Heat over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Slide a few of the dumplings into the oil and fry, turning as necessary, until golden brown on each side, adjusting the heat if necessary (about 8 minutes total).

Drain on paper towels and eat 'em hot.