FEEL­ING FRUITY

Move over mai tai, the cool kids of Maui are drink­ing pineap­ple wine and beer

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - DESTINATION MAUI - KARA MUR­PHY

Dis­cov­er­ing fresh lo­cal fare – on your plate and in your glass – is a de­li­cious high­light of visit­ing Maui, the sec­ond largest Hawai­ian is­land. From Up­coun­try pro­duce to pineap­ple wines and brews, to fresh seafood with re­gional Hawai­ian flair, here are a few ideas to help fuel your itin­er­ary.

HAR­VEST YOUR OWN SALAD

For an im­mer­sive farm-to-ta­ble ex­pe­ri­ence, head Up­coun­try (the higher el­e­va­tions sur­round­ing 3055m Haleakala) to O’o Farm in the Kula dis­trict, about 1066m above sea level on Haleakala’s north­west­ern-fac­ing slopes. Restau­ra­teurs Louis Coulombe and Stephan Bel-Robert bought the land in 2000 to sup­ply their Pa­cific’O restau­rant in La­haina with or­ganic pro­duce; to­day, the 3.4ha farm roasts 100 per cent Maui-grown Ara­bica cof­fee and serves meals on­site, a few steps from its crops.

The three-hour tour and gourmet lunch in­cludes a peek at the farm’s cof­fee trees and roast­ing fa­cil­i­ties; the chance to pick field greens and ed­i­ble herbs and flow­ers for a salad; and, fi­nally, a multi-course, fam­ily-style, BYO-wine out­door lunch.

Mains might in­clude cof­fee cher­ryglazed tofu with sprouted legumes, broc­col­ini, and aubergine-cele­riac puree; lo­cally caught fish with beets, daikon, chay­ote and arugula puree; and Maui-raised chicken with fireroasted parsnips and rutabaga.

A cup of French-press Aina cof­fee paired with Maui Gold pineap­ple slices and a sliver of dark choco­late deca­dence pro­vides a sweet fin­ish.

OOFARM.COM TASTE PINEAP­PLE WINE

Also Up­coun­try is 8093ha Ulu­palakua Ranch, home to Maui Wine and a 9.3ha vine­yard. The win­ery be­gan grow­ing grapes in 1974; while wait­ing for the grapes to ma­ture, they de­vel­oped wine made from Maui Gold pineap­ples. The pineap­ple wine was such a hit that they now pro­duce three types: off-dry Maui Blanc, sweet Maui Splash, and sparkling Hula O Maui.

Taste all three in circa-1870s King’s Cot­tage, built for the vis­its of Hawaii’s last reign­ing king, or sam­ple small pro­duc­tion es­tate wines in the Old Jail, once a base­ment jail­house.

MAUIWINE.COM DRINK FRUITY BREWS

Maui Brew­ing Co., Hawaii’s largest craft brew­ery, uses the fa­mous fruit in a wheat beer called Pineap­ple Mana, avail­able through­out the is­land in stores, some restau­rants and the com­pany’s Ki­hei tast­ing room and Ka­hana restau­rant in La­haina. The tast­ing room has a 32-tap draft sys­tem fea­tur­ing other flag­ship beers such as Co­conut Hiwa Porter, made with hand-toasted co­conut, as well as lim­ited re­lease drops such as Mango He­feweizen, a Bavar­ian-style wheat ale brewed with lo­cal mango.

MAUIBREWINGCO.COM SIP MAUI’S BEST MAI TAI

Pe­ter Mer­ri­man is one of 12 Hawaii chefs who, in 1991, es­tab­lished Hawaii re­gional cui­sine. One of Mer­ri­man’s restau­rants is the lively and ca­sual Mon­key­pod Kitchen in Wailea (also soon to open in Whalers Vil­lage, Ka’ana­pali), where the menu in­cludes Kauai shrimp and Ha­makua mush­room pot­stick­ers; hand­made gnoc­chi with pork sausage, ri­cotta, vine-ripened toma­toes and or­ganic kale; and ki­awe (a mesquite tree) wood-oven piz­zas. The tart and Mon­key­pod Mai Tai – made with Old La­haina sil­ver and dark rums, lime juice, macadamia nut orgeat, orange cu­ra­cao, and a thick layer of house­made honey liliko’i (pas­sion­fruit) foam – is rea­son enough to visit.

MONKEYPODKITCHEN.COM A MOUTH­FUL OF FISH

Hu­muhu­munukunukua­pua’a, the Grand Wailea’s Poly­ne­sian thatchroof restau­rant, is named for Hawaii’s state fish, the Hawai­ian trig­ger­fish – and at­tempt­ing to say its name cor­rectly is a fun chal­lenge as you pe­ruse chef Mike Lo­faro’s menu.

Small plate con­tenders in­clude seared Hokkaido scal­lops with radish, truf­fle vinai­grette, and “ca­noe plants” such as bread­fruit and sweet potato; Ha­machi Carpac­cio with chilli, cel­ery, and gin­ger shave ice; a rich “risotto” made from bread­fruit in­stead of rice; and mar­i­nated toma­toes, mo­lasses, Surfing Goat cheese and smoked Kula straw­berry. Main choices are sim­pler: opt for the catch of the day – which could be the Opaka­paka (Hawai­ian pink snap­per) – served with gin­ger rice, dark soy and scal­lion vinai­grette, and sunomono (cu­cum­ber salad).

GRANDWAILEA.COM/ EX­PE­RI­ENCE/ DINE SAM­PLE OR­GANIC VODKA

Dis­tilled from Maui-grown or­ganic sugar cane and blended with deep ocean min­eral wa­ter sourced from the Big Is­land’s Kona Coast, OCEAN Or­ganic Vodka fea­tures in cock­tails through­out the is­land, and tours of its Kula farm and dis­tillery are avail­able.

OCEANVODKA.COM OR­DER PU­PUS FOR DIN­NER

A pupu is a Hawai­ian-style ap­pe­tiser or hors d’oeu­vre. At the Westin Maui’s Rel­ish Ocean­side restau­rant in Ka’ana­pali, try the spicy Ahi poke tostadas, a com­bi­na­tion of av­o­cado, Ahi poke (raw yel­lowfin tuna salad), and Hawai­ian chilli pep­per aioli served atop a crispy won­ton chip;

Award-win­ning Dragonberry Bomb is a re­fresh­ing cock­tail.

WESTINMAUI.COM/ DIN­ING/ RELISHOCEANSIDE.COM

THE WRITER WAS A GUEST OF HAWAII TOURISM OCEA­NIA

PIC­TURE: I S TO C K

In Maui, the pineap­ple is gold in wine-mak­ing and beer-brew­ing.

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