Kapalua Wine and Food Festival 2012: Welcome Reception at Merriman’s Kapalua {Maui}featured

Hawaii, I think you are the honey bee’s knees.

I heart your sunny disposition, the flowers in your hair, and your shaka salutes. May I add, you have crazy amazing rainbows.

Hawaii rainbow

Rainbow Road

I was super excited to return to the Kapalua Wine and Food Festival this year. Some of you may remember when I covered it a few years ago. If so, you’ll remember how it was just a love fest of food, wine, and ridiculously beautiful views.

View from Merriman’s Kapalua

View from Merriman’s Kapalua

As Anthony Bourdain would say, “This does not suck.”

No siree, it does not.

We kicked off the weekend of indulgence with a welcome reception at Merriman’s Kapalua, the home of what may be the best view on the island. It sits right on the ocean, and when you’re on “The Point,” the expansive deck where our reception was held, all you see is sweeping ocean and blue sky that stretches into infinity.

The reception was a nice teaser of what was in store for us.

Master Sommelier, Michael Jordan

Festival Host and Master Sommelier, Michael Jordan, inspecting the goods

Wine a plenty…

Truffled arancini, Merriman's Kapalua

Truffled arancini

Tasty bites…

Kapalua Wine and Food Festival

From left to right: Elizabeth Ferrer, Kim Kessler, Samia Arslane, Bianca Peyvan

Fabulous people…

Merriman’s dining room

Merriman’s dining room

And lots of fun to be had over long, indulgent meals.

Creamed Kula Corn

Creamed Kula Corn

Remember when I first tasted Merriman’s Creamed Kula Corn and wanted to bathe in it? Well, yeah, it is just as good as I remembered it. We had to order double portions of it, because it went too fast. I’m not sure vegetables are allowed to taste this decadent.

“Fish and Chips”

I adored the chef’s take on “Fish and Chips” – perfectly fried tempura Mahi Mahi and crispy slices of eggplant (grown right in Kapalua). It was served with pickled veggies and a sweet corn tartar sauce. And, it came the cutest brown bag presentation.

When dessert rolled around, I quickly learned that anything that comes in a brown bag at Merriman’s is amazing. So, if you ever have doubts…see a brown bag? Order it.

Case in point, see this brown bag dessert?

Merriman's Malasadas

What’s in this brown bag? Oh, just some pure awesome.

Guess what’s in it?

Merriman's White Chocolate Filled Malasadas

White Chocolate Filled Malasadas

Yeah, these White Chocolate Filled Malasadas. The bag comes, your server shakes it up so that the malasadas get a nice even coat of powdered sugar, then you dip them in a little pot of Maui Oma Coffee Caramel Dipping Sauce, and *swoon*. Just be careful not to burn your mouth on the molten chocolate inside!

Merriman's Malasadas dipped in Coffee Caramel Sauce

White Chocolate Filled Malasadas dipped in Coffee Caramel Sauce

For those confused as to why there seems to be a plethora of malasadas in Maui…there is actually a long history of Portuguese immigrants who settled in Hawaii during the late 1800s to work on sugar plantations. So thank you, Portuguese ancestors, for bringing your delicious food ways with you.

Merriman’s malasadas are seriously heaven in a brown bag. Think you have no room for dessert? It doesn’t matter. You will demolish every last bit of this and then kiiiinda want more.

Don’t worry, we refrained. After all, this wasn’t our first rodeo. This was going to be marathon not a sprint…you’ll see. More coverage of the Kapalua Wine and Food Festival comin’ atcha.

Clifford Nae'ole, Cultural Advisor for the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

Clifford Naeole, Hawaiian Cultural Advisor for the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, chants an opening prayer

31st Annual Kapalua Wine and Food Festival
June 8-10, 2012
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua
Maui, Hawaii

Merriman’s Kapalua
One Bay Club Place
Lahaina, Hawaii 96761
Twitter: @MerrimansHawaii
Facebook: Merriman’s Kapalua

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