More Focus on Maui at Upcoming Food & Wine Festival
By Kiaora Bohlool
If you’re looking for good eats and cool drinks over Labor Day weekend, here’s an idea: Hawaiʻi Food & Wine Festival’s Moscow Mule Maui Style on Saturday, September 5, at the Westin Kāʻanapali Ocean Resort Villas.
So first off, what’s a Moscow Mule? The popular cocktail was created in 1940’s, made with vodka, ginger beer and lime juice. But don’t settle for me telling you about it. Go make your own signature Mule, as experienced mixologists provide hands-on cocktail demonstrations. For instance, Jason Vendrell from Monkeypod Kitchen in Wailea will show you how to make your own ginger beer, and Bill Scott, master distiller of Maui’s Ocean Vodka, will explain the art of distillation. You can even take home a copper Mule mug to commemorate the cocktail.
Even the food is paying tribute to the Moscow Mule. Westin Kāʻanapali Ocean Resort Villas executive chef, Francois Milliet, carefully considered what to make for the light lunch.
“The Moscow Mule is characterized by distinct ingredients including ginger and lime,” said Chef Milliet. “I wanted to design a menu that truly complements these signature tastes so we went with an Asian flavor profile, which pairs nicely with the ginger and lime, and then threw in some local flavor twists.”
The menu features local produce, fish and meat. It opens with smoked Kona kampachi, deconstructed gazpacho, garlic and black soy. Next comes a main course of Maui cattle beef tenderloin, Kula corn, mushrooms, pork belly croutons and pho chimichurri. Attendees should save some room for the final course, of course: dessert, which is chocolate feuillantine (thin pastry strips) with Kuʻau orange liliko‘i cream.
“The Festival’s mission of highlighting local produce and protein is one that is incredibly important to us,” said Brandon Maeda, food & beverage director at The Westin Kāʻanapali Ocean Resort Villas. “Chef Francois continues to be a leader for our culinary team by integrating local ingredients into both our daily menus and special event menus, such as the menu he created for the mixology pairing lunch.”
Moscow Mule Maui Style runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and tickets cost $65. It’s part of a two-week celebration of sustainable cuisine happening on Maui, Oʻahu and the island of Hawaiʻi. The fifth-annual Hawaiʻi Food & Wine Festival is expected to attract more than 10,000 attendees between August 29 and September 13. The event showcases the bounty of local, fresh produce, fish, meat and other ingredients though interactive dining experiences, cooking demonstrations, industry panels and hands-on events.
More than 100 internationally-renowned master chefs, culinary personalities and wine/spirit producers will take part in this year’s festival, including Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s Hawaiʻi, Sheldon Simeon of MiGrant in Wailea and Beverly Gannon of Bev Gannon Restaurants on Maui.
The festival will spend a total of three days on Maui, an expansion from previous years. Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival Kāʻanapali will feature Roy’s Annual Golf Classic with dinner (prepared by five prominent chefs) on the 19th hole, happening Friday, September 4 on Kāʻanapali Golf Course.
On Saturday, September 5, there’s the Moscow Mule daytime event, along with a gourmet dinner created by eight notable chefs called Maui on my Mind, under the stars on the Black Rock lawn at Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa in Kāʻanapali.
Sunday, September 6 will pay tribute to Shep Gordon, who managed the careers of many notable characters, from musician Alice Cooper to celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse. His documentary, Supermensch: Legend of Shep Gordon, will play at Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in Kāʻanapali, paired with a six-course dinner created by six of Gordon’s chef friends.
“The expansion of the Hawaiʻi Food & Wine Festival on Maui gives visitors the opportunity to participate in an entire weekend of new and immersive culinary activities,” says the festival’s Executive Director Denise Yamaguchi. “Our goal is to have an extensive roster of culinary events in every location so that travelers can plan their vacations to different islands and still have access to a full range of festival experiences.”
To check out all the events and buy tickets, click here.