Kaua’i for Christmas
This is part of our Food Channel On Location Series, Destination: Kaua’i.
When a foodie thinks of Christmas, he or she usually envisions peppermint, hot chocolate, a standing rib roast, a turkey with all the trimmings. Scents of cinnamon and clove, wassail simmering on the stove, and glittery reindeer food ready to throw out on the snow.
It’s not usually sweet Sugarloaf pineapple, fresh ahi, or the slightly bitter flavor of cacao beans fresh from the pod. It’s not usually sampling lava salt, eating macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup, or discovering how delicious eel can be in a properly prepared sushi roll. And it’s not eating your fill of starfruit, papaya, apple bananas, and rambutan.
And yet, for at least one community, in one of our nation’s states, those are the opportunities that face them during the holiday season. They make the most of it, gently capitalizing on increased tourism and a strong sense of family, sharing their bounty with boxes of free fruit at the check out counter and gifts of the flowers and flavors of the island.
We traveled this year to Kaua’i, a somewhat magical land of waterfalls and sunlight skies. In just over a week’s time we fit in three food tours, a coffee plantation tour, a chocolate farm, and countless restaurants and coffee shops. We cooked at home, using the bounty from visits to many of the daily farmers markets. We sampled new-to-us ingredients, watched fascinating cooking demonstrations, and developed a pineapple craving that is still not satiated.
Welcome To Hawaii
We also traversed the island, north, south, east and west, flew over canyons and ocean views, drove narrow roads, visited the island’s oldest church for Christmas Eve, did a little whale watching, and even hiked up to cheer as teenaged cliff divers took the leap from rocky ledge to ocean landing.
At one of our many restaurant visits, this one at Saimin Dojo in Kapa’a, we saw a slogan that read, “Welcome to Hawaii. Eat something new.”
That’s exactly what we did. After decades of working in the food industry, I might have boldly said that there’s not much I haven’t tasted. Untrue. This trip showed me just how many things I have yet to try—and I attempted to pack as many of them as possible into this trip.
You’ll find a series of articles detailing our adventures in food and maybe, just maybe, you’ll get a glimpse of the Kaua’i (and it’s food) that we began to know and love. Then, if you get the urge and can figure it out, maybe you can book a trip and follow in a few of our footsteps to sample the tastes and textures of the island—whenever you can make it happen.
Destination: Kaua’i is our gift to the food travelers, the ones who build their vacations around new flavors and the people who make them happen.
So, go ahead. Eat something new.
Wherever you are.