One of my favorite things in the whole world is Maui and her people. It’s the home of my heart. So nothing excites me more than seeing other people falling in love with this magical place and sharing in the experience.
Last year I had the opportunity to attend the Ka’anapali Fresh event for the first time and hoped to come back for a second serving of this amazing combination of Hawaiian culture and the most blogged-about culinary destination. Many mahalos to Shelley Kekuna and Ka’anapali Beach Resort for inviting me back for Ka’anapali Fresh 2014, along with Ann Tran, Misty McPadden, and Marty McPadden.
One of the things I really love about the Ka’anapali Fresh event is that it’s actually a collection of individual events. You can choose to go to all of them or select what fits your schedule. It’s a whole weekend of festivities to partake in.
With each individual event so rich in all areas of the senses, here’s my very condensed overview of the Ka’anapali Fresh weekend so you can plan for next year!
ʻAhaʻāina O Kāʻanapali
As the flotilla of canoes arrived along with double-hulled sailing canoes Mo’okiha o Piilani and Moolele, Shelley Kekuna and I chatted about this traditional Hawaiian ceremony and other Ka’anapali Resort and #KFresh14 events in the video below created by Marty and Misty McPadden. Watch this video of Hawaiian protocol through the exchange of gifts, and sounds of the pu and chants.
This ceremony signals the beginning of the aha aina. The evening at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa took us on a journey through the evolution of dining from Old Hawai’i to the Golden Era, and finally Modern Hawai’i. Some of my favorites of the night were Steamed Sweet Potato with Caramelized Palm Sugar representing Old Hawaii; Kona Kampachi Poisson Cru over Coconut Fried Rice in a Won Ton Shell over Sweet Poi for The Golden Era; and representing Modern Hawai’i, Sushi rolled with Lobster, Mango, & Avocado, crusted with Toasted Coconut Flakes & laced with Dragon Tare. Each dish was as beautiful as it was delicious.
The music and dance were a special treat. Award-winning female vocalist Napua Greig was accompanied by her Merrie Monarch Festival award-winning Halau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka. It was so wonderful to see a resort event filled with Hawaiian culture and food. The Hawaiian people are the heart and soul of this paradise that we visit as guests.
Grown on Maui Farmer’s Market
This free event (with free parking too) at Whaler’s Village is an open air market right along the Ka’anapali beach walk that runs along the beach. People were stopping by for shots of wheatgrass, coffee samples, Go Go green smoothies (one of my faves) and lots of fresh fruit, veggies, and other tasty creations. Everything was vibrant and fresh and made with Aloha.
Fresh Mixology 101 – “Kāʻanapali Craft: The marriage of libations spirited and brewed”
This event is so much fun — and not just because our table won the mix-off and created the winning cocktail (I just did a lot of woot-wooting and take no credit) but the view from under the white tents on the lawn of the Sheraton Maui overlooking Ka’anapali Beach and Black Rock were just gorgeous! Award winning mixologists Chandra Lucariello (who lights up a room with her smile) and Freddie Sconfienza taught us about the fine art of cocktail creating. The food was of course was beyond delicious, and the atmosphere festive and friendly. What a great way to start a fun-packed day at Ka’anapali Beach.
Ka’anapali From Range to Sea
The ‘Farm to Table’ event is held on the 3rd hole of the Royal Ka’anapali Golf Course. With almost two dozen chefs and local farmers coming together to create Maui fresh food cuisine, this is a foodie fantasy. Samplings of dishes were presented beautifully, and it was fun to compare thoughts on what were our favorites. It was almost impossible to choose and there wasn’t one dish I didn’t love. There were divine desserts, craft cocktails, organic spirits and Maui craft beer. The music of dearly loved local sensations Kamakakehau Fernandez and HAPA filled the evening air with the sounds of aloha and the palm trees were shadowed by the Maui moon and stars. As I mingled with old and new friends, it was a night I was sad to see come to an end.
After the event was over I headed back to the north side of Maui to catch a few last days of looking for honu and a fun surf session with a best friend. The #KFresh14 event made this one of the best trips home I’ve ever had. I’m already dreaming about next year’s Ka’anapali Fresh event!
Much mahalo to my Kaanapali Resort ohana Shelley Kekuna Executive Director of the Kā‘anapali Beach Resort Association, Charlene Kauhane, and the rest of their dream team (hearts of gold) and the Hyatt Regency Maui and Westin Ka”anapali Ocean Resort Villas for all the wonderful hospitality and help. I feel extra blessed that I can come home to Maui and work with you all! I am incredibly grateful! A Hui Hou Kakou!