Officially proclaimed by Hawai’i County as Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range Day, Sept. 21st offered perfect “grazing” weather for hungry attendees at the 17th annual agriculture festival that sprawled both inside and out of the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Food was on everyone’s mind-and plenty of it.
Event-goers shared their grazing experience on Taste’s facebook page, describing a host of favorite culinary offerings. There were many nods for the steamship round of beef prepared on the outdoor spit into tasty Paniolo Wraps and Pipi Huli on ‘Ulu Rolls by Kamehameha Schools, Another popular item was the savory Island-Braised Lamb Sliders (see recipe) by Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai.
“Best dish goes to Earl’s Tummy Rolls,” posted Angelia Elarco. “Who would (have) ever thought of tripe sushi? LOL. But I heard the dish that was wrapped like a laulau with the truffle sauce was amazing (beef cheek by The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i) … Best display goes to Kamuela Grown-all those farmers are amazing.”
With over 75 booths to visit-a mix of culinary stations, island-made product sampling, fresh displays by farmers and educational exhibits-there was something for everyone to enjoy. A handy Graze Your Way at Taste map guided attendees through the event. Info collected from booths could be conveniently stowed in canvas Taste bags.
A slew of Hawai’i Community College culinary students from both East and West Hawai’i helped chefs and product booths dish out hundreds of tastes. Also assigned grass-fed cuts of beef to prepare, the future chefs didn’t disappoint, offering Thai Beef Papaya Salad, Beef Stroganoff and Kona Coffee and Wine-Braised Beef. Facebook fans extolled the students’ Banana-Chocolate-Coconut Pops and Lilikoi-Papaya-Ginger Sorbet!
Mahalo to the many others who helped make Taste a success! With a mission to provide a venue for sustainable agricultural education and support of locally produced ag products, Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range is rooted in small business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. Find a list of the 2012 supporters and participants, details on the Mealani Research Station-where Taste began-plus where to get grass-fed beef on the Big Isle AND recipes, at www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com. Save the date for next year: Friday, Oct. 4, 2013. Come hungry!