Personally, I’m a Junior Mints and popcorn kind of girl (extra butter, please) when it comes to movie theater food. But this week, I might be coerced out of my sweet and salty rut because the upcoming Maui Film Festival in Wailea is the catalyst for a quadruple-feature of dining events that simply defy the cinema status quo. The menus are decadent, to say the least, and this brief run down of culinary offerings is just a taste of what food-lovers can expect at the year’s extravagant film event.
The gastronomic adventure begins with the Taste of Ko Opening Reception. So much good food is being prepared for this event that it’s been broken down into five distinct “stations,” probably to help people like me who end up juggling three heaping plates at the end of any huge buffet.
Black and blue ahi will mingle with “Paniolo” rib-eye steak from Maui Cattle Company at one station and coconut curry lamb chops and seared opah with black bean sauce at another. Two more will host Lumpia spring rolls, miso glazed tiger prawns, tempura battered ahi sushi and vegetables and won bok kim chee. Finally, there will be a station dedicated exclusively to dessert, with chocolate baked custard, lychee-sake kanten and something mysteriously delicious sounding called an almond float. Admission to the feast includes complimentary Ocean Vodka cocktails like the Kula lavender infused lemon drop.
It’s hard to believe that anyone will still have an appetite after that lavish menu, but then again this is America and if there’s one thing we as a country can collectively excel at, it’s eating. A lot.
Thankfully, the Starry Night Moon Dance party’s fare comes in pupu style. The offerings will be smaller but, judging by the menu, just as sumptuous. Snow crab salad-stuffed cherry tomatoes and smoked salmon on Belgian endive will be passed around the room while partiers enjoy Tommy Bahama Rum drinks and visit the seafood and finger food bars stocked with ahi poke in puff pastry, green mussels in a half shell, rosemary skewered strip loin, snow crab claws and lots of grilled asparagus and other veggies.
This is all just the tip of the iceberg, because the Taste of Chocolate is next.
This late-night, dessert-only affair features espresso chocolate soufflés, hot chocolate mousse, truffles, Bailey’s and malted milk shots, milk chocolate crème brulee and many more incredibly delectable surprises. According to my sweet tooth, this will be the biggest dessert spread to hit Maui this year.
But the real star of this culinary show is the Taste of Wailea, the grand finale of a week marathon of very good eating and the collective effort of some of the best chefs on Maui.
Ferraro’s is throwing their seafood risotto into the hat with the Grand Wailea’s lobster tempura and braised Kobe short ribs, while Tommy Bahama’s will offer sea scallop sliders and Habana Cabana mini pork sandwiches with blackberry brandy barbeque sauce. Irish offerings like Guiness-marinated braised short ribs and potato gnocchi with wild mushroom ragu will be provided my Mulligan’s on the Blue and Matteo’s. Mala Wailea is getting some of the action, too, with their ahi bruschetta and spicy lamb pitas with garlic aioli.
Obviously, there’s a whole lot more to list here. Café Mambo, Spago and the Fairmont Kea Lani all have delicious dishes lined up for this event and there are big plans for dramatic Ocean Vodka cocktails in the works, too. Honolulu Coffee Company is planning a dessert that involves dipping acai sorbet balls into Kona coffee and dark chocolate.
There’s going to be a lot of food to be eaten in Wailea this week, but I have to remind myself that sometime during this week of incredible feasting there’s going to be lots of good films to watch, awards to present and movie stars to meet.
For tickets or more info call 572-3456 or visit www.mauifilmfestival.com MTW