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Stir it up at the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival Kaanapali

By Staff | Aug 20, 2015

Mixologist Chandra Lucariello will lead “Moscow Mule Maui-Style,” a hands-on cocktail demonstration, at the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival Kaanapali.

KAANAPALI – Ever seen someone drinking out of a chilled coconut or a golden pineapple? It might be plain old lemonade they’re sipping through that straw, but you still want one for yourself. It’s all about the cup.

A shiny copper mug has been making a comeback at bars nationwide this year. The Moscow Mule – a smooth concoction of vodka, lime and ginger beer traditionally served in a copper cup – is all the rage these days, and it’s about to get star treatment at the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival Kaanapali.

Sought-after mixologist Chandra Lucariello will be stirring up the 1940s classic cocktail with a tropical twist to the delight of diners at the festival’s popular Mixology Pairing Lunch.

“Moscow Mule Maui-Style” is a hands-on cocktail demonstration sharing the story behind the drink and giving diners a chance to build their own signature Mule (and take home a cool copper cup of their own).

As director of mixology for Southern Wine & Spirits of Hawaii and vice president of the USBG Hawaii (United States Bartender Guild), Lucariello is well-qualified to serve as “ambassador.”

She will be joined by Jason Vendrell, beverage director and sommelier at Monkeypod Kitchen Wailea, who will demonstrate how to make your own ginger beer (key to the perfect Mule); Bill Scott, master distiller of Maui’s own organic Ocean Vodka, who will explain the art of distillation; and Robert Pace, beverage director at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua.

“The Mule is such a fun drink with an interesting story behind it,” Lucariello said. “I love taking the wealth of flavors and ingredients that Maui has to offer and using them to add a special flair to this classic.”

This year’s mixology event is set to take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 5, at Pulehu, an Italian Grill at The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas.

The resort’s award-winning executive chef, Francois Milliet, will prepare a light lunch for attendees featuring his signature blend of Maui-grown ingredients and vibrant flavors.

“As our tastes evolve, we are coming full circle and realizing that not only what we eat is important, but so is how it was produced and processed,” Chef Milliet said.

“More and more, people are realizing that where food comes from matters.”

Maybe that’s why the Grown on Maui Farmers’ Market is such a popular part of the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival Kaanapali.

Held on the oceanfront Kaanapali Beachwalk, the market showcases an array of Upcountry greens, tropical flowers, ripe mangoes, colorful root vegetables, free-range eggs, fresh coffee and more.

Shoppers can meet and talk story with the dedicated farmers who provide Chef Milliet and Maui’s other top chefs with stellar ingredients for their creations.

Vendors include Ocean Vodka, Hali’imaile Distillery, Maui Gold Pineapple, Kula Country Farms, Hana Herbs and Flowers, Kula Fields, Maui Coffee Association, Neighborhood Farm, Moku Pua, Kumu Farms, Otani Farms, J. Shishido Farm, Traje Farm, Maui Preserved, NapiliFlo, Lilikoi Bliss, Hula Grill and Leilani’s on the Beach.

New this year, Hawaii Food & Wine Festival celebrity chefs will attend the market. Here is an opportunity see the chefs up close and personal while they are on-site to meet the farmers and conduct media interviews.

The market runs from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Admission is free, and parking is free with validation from the market.

Tickets for the Mixology Pairing Lunch are $65 plus tax (minimum age 21 years; identification is required), available online at www.hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com. Note: This event sells out early!

The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas is offering special room rates for festival attendees starting at $229 per night plus parking and tax; call (808) 921-4654 for reservations.

The Hawaii Food and Wine Festival Kaanapali, set for the weekend of Sept. 4-6 at Kaanapali Beach Resort, is part of the premier epicurean destination event in the Pacific: the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival, which spans two weeks on three islands.

The festival features a roster of more than 100 internationally renowned master chefs, culinary personalities, and wine and spirit producers.

Co-founded by two of Hawaii’s own James Beard Award-winning chefs, Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, the festival in Hawaii Island, Maui, Honolulu, and Ko Olina Resort showcases wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, one-of-a-kind excursions, and exclusive dining opportunities with dishes highlighting the state’s bounty of local produce, seafood, beef and poultry. More than 10,000 attendees will join in the celebration of sustainable Hawaiian cuisine.

For festival tickets, more information and a schedule of events, visit www.hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com.