Tag Archives: Hawaii agriculture

IFWTWA 2013 Hawaii Conference: Finding the Real Hawaii

The International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association’s 

Conference May 23 – 27, 2013 Honolulu, Hawaii

Finding the real Hawaii through history, arts, culture, education and food
Hilton Hawaiian Village, Waikiki the IFWTWA conference center
Hilton Hawaiian Village, Waikiki the IFWTWA conference center

Hilton Hawaiian Village, Waikiki, was the IFWTWA’s 2013 conference center.

Attendees had the opportunity to sample Executive Chef Jeffrey Vigilla’s multi-cultural cuisine.

                  The Hilton Hawaiian Village fronts healing waters

poke at Hilton Hawaiian Village opening reception
poke at Hilton Hawaiian Village opening reception

Poke at Hilton Hawaiian Village opening reception. Poke is raw marinated fish with herbs.

pool at The Modern hotel Waikiki dessert reception
pool at The Modern hotel Waikiki dessert reception

Pool at The Modern Hotel, Waikiki, next door to the Hilton. The Modern sponsored a dessert reception.

Maui Surfing goat cheese & Ho Farm Tomato Quiche at breakfast at the Moana Surfrider hotel (oldest in Waikiki)
Maui Surfing goat cheese & Ho Farm Tomato Quiche at breakfast at the Moana Surfrider hotel (oldest in Waikiki)

Celebrating its 112 year of operation, the historic  Moana Surfrider hotel sponsored a breakfast including Maui Surfing goat cheese & Ho Farm Tomato Quiche.

fine art at the Honolulu Museum of Art and
fine art at the Honolulu Museum of Art and

Fine art at the Honolulu Museum of Art with imaginative groupings and vibrant wall colors

mahi-mahi udon salad at lunch at the Honolulu Museum of Art Cafe
mahi-mahi udon salad at lunch at the Honolulu Museum of Art Cafe

Equally fine at the Honolulu Museum of Art was the menu at the cafe. Pictured above is the mahi-mahi udon salad

pool with view of Diamond Head at Shangri La the Islamic art filled home of the late Doris Duke
pool with view of Diamond Head at Shangri La the Islamic art filled home of the late Doris Duke

Pool with view of Diamond Head at Shangri La the Islamic art filled home of the late Doris Duke

1-Desktop31

Hula and music from ancient to new social media sensation

IFWTWA president & 4th generation Hawaiian born Michelle Winner
IFWTWA president & 4th generation Hawaiian born Michelle Winner

IFWTWA president & 4th generation Hawaiian born Michelle Winner

weekly Friday evening fireworks at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Waikiki
weekly Friday evening fireworks at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Waikiki

Weekly Friday evening fireworks at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Waikiki

IFWTWA 2013 Conference, Honolulu, HI - Sunday education sessions
IFWTWA 2013 Conference, Honolulu, HI – Sunday education sessions

IFWTWA 2013 Conference, Honolulu, HI – Sunday education sessions:

Clockwise: IFWTWA Board member and book publisher, Sherrie Wilkolaski and IFWTWA president Michelle Winner, Grame Kemlo, president IFWTWA Australasia, Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association respresentatives, Loni Rich, president Visitor Aloha Society, Manly Kanoa, Hawaiian cultural trainer, Kim Chapman (left) Alabama’s Orange Beach/Gulf Shores CVB and Jo Duncan (right) Benders Walker Group PR both associate members IFWTWA, Joe Recca, Hawaiian cultural trainer.

poke on edible spoon, Duke's Waikiki, Honolulu
poke on edible spoon, Duke’s Waikiki, Honolulu

Poke on edible spoon, Duke’s Waikiki, Honolulu

Dinner at the Canoe Club Waikiki
Dinner at the Canoe Club Waikiki

Dinner at the Canoe Club Waikiki was sponsored by Shay Smith, (bottom center) CEO of the family owned Ocean Vodka, Maui. Robert Larsen of Sonoma County, CA, Rodney Strong Vineyards provided the wines.

Taro chips
Taro chips

Taro has been life sustaining since the beginning of Hawaiian time.

The Pacific coast at Punalu'u, Oahu, Hi, A Kamehameha Schools land asset.
The Pacific coast at Punalu’u, Oahu, Hi, A Kamehameha Schools land asset.

The Pacific coast at Punalu’u, Oahu, Hi, a Kamehameha Schools land asset.

You can read all my articles on Examiner.com at:

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

and

 Food & Recipes Examiner

The Puna – Produce Garden of Hawai’i

    

Top Left: Papaya, coffee beans, avocado. Bottom Left: unknown, Asian cucumber, Cacao pods

 

I was startled awake at 5:30 AM by a loud rapping on the bedroom window. It was the next door neighbor of our rented Hilo water view house telling my wife and I that we had to evacuate. A Pacific-wide tsunami warning, following Chile’s catastrophic earthquake in February 2010, had been issued. Not knowing if we’d see our beautiful Japanese beach house again, we drove the 30 minutes to Volcano National Park, 4,000 feet elevation. The Park is home to one of Earth’s most active volcanos – in an island chain born of volcanos. As we had breakfast in the tropical forest we were struck that we had fled to the sides of an active volcano to escape a tsunami. This is the fragility of paradise; an environment that allows for abundance yet it just may convulse and destroy it all. Fortunately, Hawai’i was spared this time, but that wasn’t the case in 1950.    

Hilo Market

 

Later that week we drove the ten miles into Hilo for a day at the already famous Hilo Market – founded in 1988. I was struck by the vaguely shabby feel of Hilo’s commercial waterfront. Some fine examples of Art Deco, tropical Victorian and Arts & Crafts architecture are in various states of repair or restoration. A substantial swath of land forms a buffer between the historic commercial center and the Pacific Ocean. It makes for attractive park land, athletic fields and water activities, but that’s not the reason for its existence.    

For nearly a century, prior to 1950, this land had been Japan Town, a warren of shanties and pan-Asian cooking. The legacy of Japan Town lives on in the Puna’s suburb Asian fusion cuisine. In a brief period of time one morning in 1950, Japan Town was swept into the sea by a tsunami created by one of history’s most catastrophic earthquakes centered in the same area of Chile as the 2010 event. The Hilo Market area occupies land that had been devastated by that tsunami.    

    

As we neared the market, the scents and sights pulled us quickly along.  The main stalls, flower vendors, clothing, crafts, jewelry and a seamstress radiated onto the surrounding sidewalks. The Hilo Market  is not really a building. The main stalls are under a permanent cover with no walls (fortunately or else it would feel like an oven). It’s a bustling place. Organic lettuce is sold next to carnivorous plants. Taro root’s for sale if you want to make your own poi or tapioca. Exotic fruits and vegetables from Asia and the Pacific are in abundance and require conversations with vendors and fellow market goers for preparation suggestions. It’s a riot of color, textures and sounds!    

Top pics: sweet potato cheese cake and "what is it?"

 

The fresh coconut “milk” vendor is a perennial favorite in the tropics. Fresh, iced green coconuts have their tops sliced off with a machete. A straw is all that’s needed to enjoy a truly refreshing drink. Often when finished, the soft green shell is cut in half exposing the pudding-like coconut that can be eaten with a spoon – a double treat !    

    

The multi-cultural quilt that is Hawai’i resulted in a fusion of comfort foods. During the Second World War, that marvel of canned foods, SPAM, hit Hawai’i like a rock star. Overnight, the refrigerator scarce islands of the 1940’s found a food of remarkable flexibility, even if it is lacking in other qualities.    

Tradition meets SPAM and Loco Moco: popular island breakfast

 

The macadamia nut is nearly synonymous with Hawai’i, even though it’s native to Australia. What processors do to this buttery treat is legendary, and for another blog post, but suffice to say, the nut also married SPAM.    

Macadamia: green from tree, dried and shelled

 

Farmers markets are in nearly all small towns, and even between them, on the island. The Sunday market near Hawaiian Paradise Park, south of Hilo, offers a large variety of local crafts, musical entertainment, fresh eggs, Kava (for a relaxing morning), candles and terrific poultry, beef and pork grilled over guava wood.    

    

The lush eastern half of the Big Island is a garden, and even if you are a visitor without a kitchen, the markets of Hawai’i provide not only the best and exotic but a terrific insight into cultural fusion, entertainment and certainly an opportunity to eat authentic prepared island foods.