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Monday, October 10, 2011

Kapalua Wine and Food Festival

For thirty years, Master Sommeliers have descended on Maui and in conjunction with local chefs, beverage distributors, and the Kapalu Resort have hosted a four day weekend wine and food extravaganza.  If you are contemplating a visit to Maui during the early summer and would like to enjoy a fun weekend of tasting amazing wines and good food, plan your trip to include the Kapalua Wine and Food Festival.

This year was the Thirty Year Celebration of the festival!  We've been talking to our friends about the festival for several years-I think we've been four times to some or all of it-and finally convinced four of them from SF to come over.    They are already asking when we can register for 2012!

We rented a house up in Kapalua.  It was perfect.  We're all good friends and the house was certainly big enough for all of us, plus it had a pool, and gourmet kitchen (not that we did any "real" cooking).  The resort shuttle picked us up and brought us back so no one had to worry about spitting out rather than swallowing the wine during the tastings (who really does that?) and there was no need for a designated driver for the evening events.
View from the pool over golf course to ocean.

The format is fairly straightforward, you can buy a ticket for the whole weekend (which is what we did) or you can pick specific events/tastings you want to try and pay for individually.  Each day has several organized tastings hosted throughout the day.  There is a welcome reception with heavy pupu (appetizers) and wine the first night, a Grand Tasting where they pull out all the stops-hundreds of top rated wines to try with good nibbles to go along-this year focused on Farm to Table and paired a local farmer and chef to create wonderful small plates for us to enjoy.  One evening is open which is a great night to enjoy one of the local restaurants (we dined at Lahaina Grill-fabulous). The final night is the Seafood Festival featuring, you guessed it, local seafood treats along with hundreds more wines.  The Grand Tasting and the Seafood Festival are held outside on the Ritz Carlton property so the scenery is amazing!

I hope you enjoy this photo tour through this year's festival.  And, come over for 2012!
(All photos taken with my camera phone so, you know, it is what it is).
One of many tables of wines at the opening reception.
My favorite tasting each year is the one featuring cheeses from
The Cheese Shop in Carmel
Another tasting featured wines from along Hwy 101 in California.
For the thirty year celebration we were treated to three decades
of reserve Cabs from four premium producers-oh my!
A little bubbly to start off the Grand Tasting.
The Grand Tasting
Desserts at the Grand Tasting.
More dessert!
Another favorite: Chef Peter Merriman cooking demo and wine tasting.
Ceviche of local fish.
Local greens, Surfing Goat Dairy goat's cheese,
local strawberry vinaigrette.
Maui Cattle Company Beef Filet
Merrriman's Chocolate Creme Pie
Just another beautiful Maui sunset in Lahaina
Walking down the Ritz Carlton lawn to the Seafood Festival.

Bubbly to start the evening?  Why, yes, I believe I will.
Wine in every direction.
Local fish tempura.
Perfect bites and cup of soup.  Love the presentation.
Sushi lollipops.

Fancy freeze dried presentations-I think this was the
Maui Culinary Academy station.
Wonderful sushi rolls featuring fresh island fish.
Ahi tuna tacos.

Well I've really just scratched the surface.  Not that you ever need a reason to come to Maui, but add this to your list.  Aloha!