1. CONGRATULATE THE ORGANIZERS
It’s the 25th anniversary of the longest-running festival of its kind in Hawai’i. This year’s four-day “Silver Salute” food and wine celebration is being held entirely at the Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua, since the closure of its usual location at the Kapalua Bay Hotel. And there’s a French countryside theme, so break out your scarves and practice saying things like “Chateauneuf du Pape” and “My, this seared foie gras with quail egg and pineapple on brioche is delightful!”
2. CHEF COOKING DEMOS ARE COOL
Whether it’s with Julian Serrano of Las Vegas’ Picasso Restaurant at the Bellagio on Friday, Iron Chef Champion Ming Sai on Saturday or Andrew Sutton of the Napa Rose in California on Sunday, you might learn a thing or two in the kitchen. Top chefs you’d normally only see on TV basically show you how to prepare recipes—like Sake-Miso Marinated Alaskan Butterfish with Wasabi Oil, Soy Syrup and Vegetarian Soba Noodle Sushi—and then you eat it. Oh, and since this is a wine and food festival, each dish gets paired with an appropriate vintage. That’s my kind of education!
3. TRIED AND TRUE IS NOT FOR YOU
Most people gravitate towards the wines they know—tres gauche!—but this simply won’t do. “I like to tell people to start at one end and work your way to the other,” says Brian Clancy of JMD Beverages. “Try an obscure French or a wine from Washington you’ve never had before. This event really gives you the ability to expand your palate.”
4. TALK TO STRANGERS
With master sommeliers, more than 25 winemakers, top chefs, visiting aristocrats and local celebrities all in the mix, you never know who you’ll fight over that last drop of Cakebread Cellars chardonnay. And don’t pretend to know more than you do—picking the brains of foodies and wine experts from Germany, Spain or Anaheim about their region and varietal is one of the best parts of an event like this for the voracious and open-minded.
5. DRINK LOTS OF WATER
There are many wine tasting seminars, like the Silver Salute on Friday featuring three decades of vintages from five noted wineries, the Master Sommelier 103 blind tasting, Kapalua Wine Tour and Que Shiraz? Syrah? on Saturday and the French Finds on Sunday. And of course there’s the Grand Tasting on Friday, a showcase of over 100 vineyards from around the world. But along with the themed tents that include sparkling wines, sommeliers’ choice picks and wines of summertime, there are booths and buckets full of the good stuff that’ll alleviate the very real disaster of a global hangover.
6. BE CAMERA READY
From the Welcome Reception on Thursday to the Seafood Festival on Sunday, the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival is one big, prestigious gastronomic frenzy. And that means reporters and photographers from high-fallutin’ culinary magazines will be hovering close-by. Do you want to be caught wearing your I’m-about-to-eat-a-lot-of-food-so-I-want-to-be-comfortable muumuu, mid-bite through a cabernet-blackberry braised prime beef short rib? Or smile with teeth stained by your 10 “tasting” glasses of “Terroir de Chablis” Verget?
7. CHEW SLOWLY
It’s very French and you’ll taste more. The Seafood Festival on Sunday can be an overwhelming temptation for your tummy, with chefs from Chez Paul, Hali’imaile General Store, Plantation House and many more, showing off their masterpieces. But relax. Unless you’re a journalist or just finishing some weird food cleanse, there’s no need to kill yourself and everyone else in your path trying every morsel placed in front of you. And please, there’s no need to push and shove. Unless that schmuck ahead of you is about to get the last chocolate ding-dong. Then all bets are off.
For a complete schedule of events, please visit www.kapaluamaui.com or call 669-2440. MTW