Taste of the Hawaiian Range: One of the Best Food Festivals on the Big Island
One of the island’s most well known, and yummy, culinary events takes place September 9 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort. The Big Island is often called the breadbasket of Hawaii with North Kohala and Waimea in particular known for their ranches and farms.
The annual Mealani Taste of the Hawaiian Range is where you get to sample all that delicious goodness! This agricultural festival showcases more than 30 top chefs who will prepare and offer mouth-watering dishes featuring local pasture-raised beef, lamb, beef, pork, goat, mutton, and wild boar — plus a cornucopia of fresh island fruit, veggies, honey, spices, and beverages.
Honey Vendor / Photography by Denise Laitinen
Cooking & Food Demonstrations
There are cooking and food demonstrations during the day with the big crowd pleaser being the agricultural showcase from 6 to 8 p.m. Culinary adventure seekers can taste and enjoy all the cuts of pasture-raised beef – everything from tongue to tail – prepared expertly by Hawaii chefs. Enjoy familiar cuts like sirloin tip and ribs, plus beef cheek and the infamous “rocky mountain oysters” or bull testicles. (I dare you to eat them!)
Crowds at 2015 “Taste of the Range” / Photography by Denise Laitinen
The Premier Food Event
Now in its 21st year, Taste of the Hawaiian Range, or “Taste” as locals refer to it, has become the premier food event of the year in North Kohala. Come hungry because there is an amazing array of food to sample! You’ll also want to wear comfortable shoes for all that walking between the different food booths. (Hint: while some folks do dress to the nines for this event, many more dress resort casual – you’ll appreciate wearing loose fitting clothing as you fill up on all the delicious food!)
Speaking of delicious food…Here’s Chef Ippy Aiona of The Three Fat Pigs at 2015 “Taste” / Photography by Denise Laitinen
Talk Story with the Ranchers & Farmers
What I like is that while “tasting” all the great food you get to talk story with the ranchers and farmers who make a living growing food for Big Island residents. A lot of business also gets done at the event with local food producers meeting and networking with isle chefs, wholesale buyers, and consumers, thus increasing business prospects for local ranchers and farmers. (If you’re thinking of buying a ranch or farm property, this is an excellent opportunity to meet and talk with those involved in the local agricultural industry.)
2015 Hilton Waikoloa Chef at “Taste” / Photography by Denise Laitinen
Pre-sale tickets for Taste are $45 and $60 at the door. In North Kohala you can buy tickets at Kamuela Liquor Store and Parker Ranch Store in Waimea and Kona Wine Market in Kailua-Kona or buy tickets online. For more information on the Taste of the Hawaiian Range visit their website or call 808-322-4892.
See you there!
Julie Keller, RB