With tropical drinks in hand and reggae music in the background, our hosts created an island escape with a delicious Jamaican-themed menu for our seventh gourmet group dinner. The menu was carefully planned to recreate the flavors our hostess remembered from her two years living on the Island as a child. We feasted on flavorful jerk chicken, fragrant coconut rice and Caribbean vegetables, and a rich chocolate rum cake. My assignment: Jamaican Carrot Soup with a pear relish and plantain chips. I suggest making the soup at least a few hours ahead of time to allow the complex flavors to really come together as it’s refrigerating. And don’t skip the pear relish – it adds texture and freshness to the warm, spicy soup. This soup would also be amazing on a cold fall day!