An avid traveler, I’ve been around the world, from the sandy beaches of the Caribbean to high humidity of Kuala Lumpur, the icy glaciers of Alaska to the blue waters of Australia. But Hawaii is clearly something special.
Landing in Maui on Thursday afternoon for my first trip to the islands, I was a bit wary for my Hawaiian adventure, personal trials and tribulations weighing heavy on my mind. But that first step off the plane, with breezy palm trees blowing in the wind surrounded by green rolling hills and plenty of water as far as the eye could see, and I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
As a guest of the Maui Visitors Bureau, I drove down Highway 30 to the luscious Ritz-Carlton Kapalua to begin my Kapalua Wine & Food Festival adventure. Starting with an opening reception at the Ritz-Carlton Residences that evening, I kicked off my official schedule the next day, with a beautiful Grand Tasting hosted on the grounds of the hotel. A frequent guest to Grand Tastings, I was pleased to see the reasonably-sized crowd when I entered, allowing me to gather photos, as well as bites and beverages from the restaurants and wineries in attendance, without having to elbow guests out of the way.
Dishes at the event included a tasty seafood sausage from chef Jojo Vasquez of the Ritz’s Banyan Tree restaurant, as well as a house cured bresaola beef and sauteed broccoli from Ruth Chris Steak House Lahaina, and my favorite of the evening, a perfect ceviche tostada from Cilantro Mexican Grill. Wine offerings included pours from Europe, the Southern Hemisphere, and California, with festival host, and wine man himself, Fred Dame, on hand to chat with attendees.
Tomorrow, my notes and pics from Day 2 of the festival, including a Drive Up Highway 101 with a handful of California’s finest wines and the Scherrer Wines dinner at the Banyan Tree!
**Photo credit: Jennifer Heigl / Daily Blender