2011 Kapalua Wine & Food Festival: Day 3

I have to say I was quite sad by the time I reached my last day at Kapalua. The sun shone across the gorgeous seaside hills Sunday morning as I made my way to the last wine tasting session of the weekend, titled “You say Shiraz, I say Syrah.” Another stellar lineup of wines were featured, including an Amavi Cellars Syrah, Scherrer’s “Sasha” Syrah, Waters’ “Loess” Syrah, and Penfolds’ St. Henri Shiraz, with panelists like Jamie Brown of Waters Winery, Pax Mahle of Wind Gap Wines, and Fred Scherrer of Scherrer Winery ready to talk the differences between the rich red wines found in California and Australia.

Post-wine tasting, guests were treated to a cooking demo with chef Peter Merriman, an island favorite. Merriman, owner of Merriman’s and Monkeypod, offered up a great menu of poisson cru, an outstanding strawberry and Maui onion Surfing Goat cheese salad, a Maui Cattle Company filet of beef, and a perfect chocolate cream pie for the afternoon culinary demonstration. Dishes were paired with a Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvee Brut, St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc, Navarro Gewurztraminer, Gunderloch Jean Baptiste Riesling, and Ehlers Merlot.

“I think the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival is great for Kapalua, it’s great for Maui. I’ve never seen so many Master Sommeliers in one place. It’s just a real opportunity for people who really appreciate food and wine to come together in a beautiful place, to have some fun, exchange ideas. It puts us on the map,” said Merriman.

Capping off my last evening in Kapalua, I joined the the rest of my fellow festival revelers beachside for the Maui Seafood Festival. Held under white tents and palm trees, the sunset event included a handful of Maui’s favorite restaurants, from Hula Grill Ka’anapali and Japengo to the Pineapple Grill at Kapalua and Roy’s Kahana Bar & Grill. Dishes presented included a wide range of seafood favorites, like a miso seared scallop, an abalone shooter, a fish taco with blackened swordfish, and a Keawa Nui Farm shrimp curry sausage. As the sun began to fade along the horizon, guests danced into the late evening hours, enjoying the end to a spectacular food and wine weekend.

I am most certainly already looking forward to the 2012 Kapalua Wine & Food Festival.

Missed coverage of Day 1 and Day 2? You can check those out here and here, respectively. Stay tuned to more from my Maui visit next week on Daily Blender, with features on two of the talented Grand Wailea chefs, as well as a tour of one of their favorite local farms.

Aloha, Maui. I’ll be back soon.

~Jennifer Heigl

*Many, many mahalos to the Maui Visitors Bureau as well as the marvelous folks at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua for hosting me for this wonderful weekend of food and wine.

**Photo credit: Jennifer Heigl / Daily Blender

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