Hungry for a taste of our island? Slow Food Maui will present a nine-part Taste Education series at Maui Culinary Academy for those interested in learning about local Maui foods and producers.
The sessions will be held on the last Wednesday of each month, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in The Leis Family Class Act Restaurant upstairs in the Paina Building at the University of Hawaii Maui College in Kahului.
The price is right, too. Individual sessions are $15, or you may buy all nine sessions for $125. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are highly recommended due to limited seating.
Janet Simpson and Gerry Ross are pictured at Kupa‘a Farm in Kula. Ross will present the first session Wednesday about their award-winning coffee.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
"Slow Food Maui supports one of the founding principals of Slow Food International, which is to honor the people who grow and produce the food we eat," says Charlene Ka'uhane, co chair. "This series will bring our community's local food producers to the forefront so others may learn about their works, how their products are made and where to find them."
"We also hope this series will motivate others to create more agricultural value-added products," said Chris Speere, Slow Food Maui Education co-chairman as well as the program coordinator for MCA. "Having a thriving local food system relies on extending what we grow into delicious, quality products. Whole Foods Market, Maui will provide some of the supplementary ingredients."
The series kicks off Wednesday with a jolt of caffeine as Gerry Ross of Kupa'a Farm in Kula and Jeff Ferguson of MauiGrown Coffee Co. Store in Lahaina devote this evening to what goes into a great coffee from seed to cup. They'll talk all about growing, picking, processing, roasting and brewing as well as explain the many varietals and emerging terroirs of coffee.
Wednesday, March 30, Melissa Panzarini will feature Ocean Vodka in a fun mixology class.
It gets sweeter the following month on Wednesday, April 27, when attendees make sorbets and gelatos with Melissa McKelvey of Penguini Gelato in Paia. Crafted from local ingredients, the gelato will be in distinctive combinations such as kaffir-lime-coconut, lilikoi-mango as well as Olinda plum with Maui ginger.
May 25, Melanie Boudar of Sweet Paradise Chocolatier will share her knowledge and love of chocolate as you taste, evaluate and pair confections while looking at what's hot in Hawaii's cacao industry.
The theme for June 29 is "Where's the beef?" Learn all there is to know about organic, grass-fed beef on Maui with William Jacintho of Beef and Blooms, Hawaii's first certified organic ranch. Taste and compare Maui's local product with other brands.
Wednesday, July 27, Taste Education will take you on a field trip to Maui Brewing Co. in Lahaina and Kahana with owner Garrett Marrero.
Aug. 31, Don Wakamatsu of Whole Foods Market, Maui, will share his knowledge of fish varieties as well as how to select, cut and prepare local, sustainable fish caught in Hawaiian waters.
Sept. 28, retired Maui Culinary Academy Chef Instructor Bobby Santos will return to the classroom to talk about how to raise poultry. Oct. 26, Catering From Soup to Nuts owners Ralph Giles and Daniel Southmayd will walk everyone through planning the perfect dinner party from cooking to table settings to etiquette.
Get tickets to Taste Education via e-mail at info@slow foodmaui.org. Or purchase tickets by phone by calling Ka'uhane at 243-2290.
You may also purchase tickets now for the Grand Taste Education at the fourth annual Maui County Agricultural Festival on April 2 at Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu. Cost is $25 adults, and $15 for children 12 and younger at mauicountyfarmbureau.org.