Aloha! John and I are currently on Maui for the very first annual Ka’anapali Fresh festival, which celebrates cooking with local, island-grown ingredients at this popular Hawaiian vacation and getaway destination.
The festival consists of over half a dozen events at hotels (and by at hotels I mean at their poolside/oceanside luncheon spaces and lawns) on the beach in Ka’anapali, Maui. Our first event with other Canadian and local media, before the festival began with a Progressive Dinner last night, was a beer pairing lunch with Maui Brewing Co. at the Ka’anapali Ali’i beach resort condos.
The luncheon was prepared by Executive Chef Greg Grohowski of the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa and pairings were introduced by Garrett Marrero, owner of Maui Brewing Co. (whom I had been following on Instagram for a few months already).
1st course: Kula Greens with warm macadamia nut crusted brie, Kula Country Farms strawberries, mandarin oranges, Ka’anapali Golden Ale shiso vinaigrette. Beer pairing: Ka’anapali Golden Ale.
“When we say we use spices, fruits, vegetables, it’s the actual items and not just flavouring,” said Marrero about Maui Brewing’s ingredients. The company started out as a brew pub years ago and has grown to become one of Maui’s largest craft breweries. From what goes into the beer to how it’s packaged, it’s a 100% Hawaiian operation.
Chef Grohowski said that some might Maui Cattle meats a little tough but his trick is to marinate it overnight in papaya to soften it up. His processed did indeed make it very tender and succulent.
3rd course: Kula strawberry shortcake with Ali’i lavender scone, whipped sour cream with citrus, mascerated strawberries. Beer pairing: Coconut Porter.
Marrero said they became known as the ‘coconut beer guys’ but that’s a title they won’t fight, they’ve even embraced it with other offerings like a coconut chocolate porter or a macadamia coconut brew.
Back home in BC, farm-to-table cooking has become a staple with Pemberton, Okanagan, and Fraser Valley meats, fruits, and produce taking on starring roles in home cooking and restaurant dishes. It’s been fascinating to learn more about this concept in an entirely different place — and discover how you can eat well and local while on vacation.
This morning we’re heading out to the “Grown on Maui Farmers Market”, the next Ka’anapali Fresh event, to try more delicious bites and get a few ingredients to take back to our room and enjoy later on. Follow the tag #KFreshMaui on Twitter for updates from all participants.