Poipu Food and Wine Fest begins Wednesday

KUKUIULA — A unique culinary experience starts Wednesday from 3:30 to 6 p.m. during the Kauai Community Market, a partnership with the Kauai County Farm Bureau and the Shops at Kukuiula.

Throwing back to the plantation days’ pau hana style, participants will be immersed in the atmosphere of live music, vendor offerings of regional cuisine liberally sprinkled with fresh, locally grown fruits, vegetables and coffee with helpings of spices, jams and cheeses.

Wednesday launches the inaugural Poipu Food and Wine Festival which runs through Sunday to benefit the Kauai Community College culinary arts program.

“This year, our goal is to help raise funds to help send Kauai Community College culinary arts students to participate in a culinary arts competition on Oahu,” said Jody Kjeldsen of the Poipu Bay Resort Association, a participating partner. “Mark Oyama and the KCC culinary arts program has been so grateful of this effort, they are having their students helping with the event.”

During opening day, the culinary arts students will be featured demonstration chefs, working with South Shore chefs onstage at the Wine and Beer Garden to show their cooking skills in preparing local specialties utilizing Kauai-grown ingredients. There will be free sampling and plates available for purchase with the proceeds benefiting the college.

Thursday, an admission program allows people “In the Kitchen,” a hands-on cooking class with some of Poipu’s top chefs in their own restaurants, including Eating House 1849 with Roy Yamaguchi, Merriman’s Fish House and Tortilla Republic. Due to space limitations, class sizes will be limited. Participants will receive a tasting and commemorative gift.

On Friday afternoon, the Flavors of Kukuiula will fill The Shops at Kukuiula with music and festivities. Starting at 5:30 p.m., the spotlight will shine on culinary demonstrations by Koloa Rum creations, Chef Ben from The Club at Kukuiula working with the culinary arts students from Waimea High School, and Chef Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s Restaurant and Eating House 1849. There will be more free sampling, with food available for purchase.

Sip and Shop takes over Saturday from 6 p.m. when shoppers are able to purchase a specially designed glass and enjoy complimentary pours from the Kauai Beer Company, Living Foods Market and the Wine Shop in the Palm Court at The Shops at Kukuiula amid an atmosphere of music and fashion.

The highlight of the festival comes Sunday with an outdoor brunch from 8 to 10:30 a.m. featuring specialties from The Eating House 1849, the Ilima Terrace at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa, Keoki’s Paradise, Koa Kea Resort, Lappert’s Hawaii, Living Foods Gourmet Market, Cafe and Juice Bar, Poipu Beach Athletic Club, Tortilla Republic, Savage Shrimp and The Wine Shop.

Tickets will be available for reserved sit-down dining or walk-about dining. Each attendee will receive a signature cookbook featuring recipes from the participating chefs.

Tickets and reservations are available at The Shops at Kukuiula, the Poipu Bay Resort Association, or online at www.poipufoodandwinefestival.com.

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