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Delicacies from near and far, seafood feast in a pot, found at Maui Prime

The shelves at Maui Prime Fine Foods in Lahaina are stocked with products from Hawaii and around the world. Maui Prime also sells complete seafood steamer pots that make entertaining a snap. AYA GANZ photo

The shelves at Maui Prime Fine Foods in Lahaina are filled with a stunning cornucopia of gourmet speciality foods from around the world. These items aren’t only hard to find on Maui, they’re hard to find anywhere!

The illustrious array of delicacies include truffle oil, beautifully bottled organic turmeric balsamic vinegar, every style imaginable of Italian pastas, fantastic European white and red wines; fresh, smoked and cured meats; cheeses from Italy and France; and artisanal crackers. There are also wonderful gourmet chocolates, pickled vegetables, salts from all over the world and other fine items and gifts to give the well-seasoned chef our for your own kitchen.

Chef Jason Mahon walked me through the store, showing me around the beautiful items and cold cases.

Jason has been on Maui for six years and has been with Maui Prime the entire time. As he showed me around, it became instantly apparent that this store is a rare find on Maui. These are my kind of people. Food people!

Most Maui food providers focus is local food and a home grown, made-on-Maui feel. Maui Prime offers something else all together. The dazzling array of imports would leave any food lover’s mouth watering. Wagyu beef, which is originally from Japanese cattle and now grown around the world, has a global reputation for being the best quality. Shoppers can find Wagyu from Australia and from Idaho, Kobe beef from Japan, as well as beef from Washington state and our local Maui Cattle Company.

Shellfish is the real specialty here. Owner Cary Button, also a chef, began selling shellfish out of the back of his car more than 30 years ago. He provided shellfish, like oysters, clams and mussels to local restaurants, hotels, chefs and private clientele. Thirteen years ago, Cary and his wife, Karin Button, opened Maui Prime. They also assist the Maui community with helpful cooking instructions, tips to create fabulous menus and stunning wine pairings.

Chef Jason is an East-Coast transplant from Lewes, Del., and is a graduate of Kapi’olani Community College’s Culinary Arts Program. Growing up on the East Coast, with all the beautiful shellfish in front of him, had a lasting impact and helped lead Jason to his current position with Maui Prime. The newest creation in the store is Jason’s steamer pot. It’s just about the coolest idea ever. You don’t have to be a cook. It’s all prepared so you can be the star of your next dinner party!

Jason’s concept is to give customers an all-in-one, ready-to- make, sensational meal in the privacy of your own home. Staying in an Airbnb or VRBO? This is the perfect dinner to have on a night when you don’t want to go out. Depending on the size of your party, Maui Prime will fill the pot with everything you need. All you have to do is put it on the stove. The bottom layer is ice, which turns into water when it melts with heat. There’s also a preparation of garlic, white wine, lemon and a secret blend of seasonings. The steam cooks the shellfish, while the water, wine, butter and spice create a luscious broth that is perfect for dipping a baguette into. I invited a couple of friends over. We were really blown away! This was such a fun way to entertain, and the food was absolutely perfect. Shrimp, clams and mussels, corn, broth and baguette. Absolutely outstanding. The spice blend was subtle, perfectly matched to the ingredients and not overwhelmed by salt. If you want to wow someone or a group of friends, I can’t speak highly enough about making your next dinner or lunch party a steamer pot party. You won’t be disappointed. Tell Jason, Aya sent you!

* Maui Prime Fine Foods, Emerald Plaza, 142 Kupuohi St, No. F-7, Lahaina. Call 661-4912.

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