The 33rd Annual Kapalua Wine and Food Festival officially kicked off with a welcome reception and dinner on June 12 at the beautiful Merriman’s restaurant. Guests mingled on the spacious patio enjoying panoramic ocean views before heading indoors to feast on a variety of dishes including lobster, filet, and local seafood.
The next morning, The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua’s Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ambassadors of the Environment Program hosted a canoe blessing by cultural advisor Clifford Naeole on D.T. Fleming beach.
Following a brief maiden voyage on the canoe, guests headed back to the resort to enjoy the New Zealand Wine Seminar featuring samplings from Pyramid Vineyards, Villa Maria, Fromm, Misha’s Vineyard, and Craggy Range. The late afternoon’s seminar featured wines from the Santa Lucia Highlands including Morgan Winery, Talbott Vineyards, Lucia Vineyards and Roar Wines. The vineyards also shared samples at that evening’s Grand Tasting held at the new Montage Resort. A variety of local restaurants attended including The Plantation House, Pineapple Grill, Merriman's Kapaulua, The Montage, and Kai Sushi and The Terrace from the Ritz-Carlton, offering bite-sized portions of dishes featuring locally grown produce.
On Saturday, two more wine tastings were hosted by the Ritz-Carlton. Pours from Chateau Ste. Michelle, Eroica, Northstar, Andrew Will and Leonetti Cellar were featured at the Washington State Great Wine morning seminar while reds from Williams Selyem, Hartford Family Wines, Arista, Kosta Browne, Papapiertro Perry, and Benovia were featured at the afternoon Pinot Noir Russian River tasting.
There were also several cooking demos including Chef Dean Ferry serving up barbeque shrimp tacos and wild striped bass on gulf lump crab among other items from his new cookbook, The Texas Food Bible.
Saturday’s Jackson Family Vineyards dinner at the Ritz-Carlton Terrace restaurant featured outstanding wines as well as food with a tasting menu of ahi ribbons with Kaffir lime and ginger, cured beef carpaccio with black garlic, seared foie gras and kumquat, braised pork cheek, and a raspberry mousse.
Sunday’s sold-out Grand Finale Seafood Festival on the Ritz-Carlton’s oceanfront beach house lawn showcased Maui’s top chefs and local fish. Participating restaurants included Roy’s, Kai Sushi, Japengo, Star Noodle, Pacific’o, Makena Beach Restaurants, Ka’ana Kitchen, Maui Culinary Academy, Maia, Migrant, Pulehu, Gannon’s, Alan Wong Amasia, and New Zealand Master Chef.
For information on next year’s festival, visit The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua website.