August 27, 2008

Made In Hawaii Festival and Oahu

Exploring the world of food as a chef has made me realize that I need to stay as informed as possible to the trends and what is going on in the world of food. What can I say, I'm a lifelong learner no matter what I am doing. I decided to go to Oahu in mid-August for the Made In Hawaii Festival. I didn't know what to expect. I knew there were going to be a variety of food vendors and all kinds of new products. There were hundreds of vendors from all over Hawaii. I was excited to go and see what was going on in the small business world as well as what entrepreneurs were doing on the other islands. I had fun discovering the varieties of honey and jams and coffee. I also found a jasmine rose tea that is created on the island. I found one woman who makes 35 kinds of shortbread cookies! It was also really fun trying the samples. I do know for sure that there is a vibrant community on the Hawaiian Islands where people love their land and are very resourceful in what they produce and sell. There are a lot of creative entrepreneurs and people who really love what they are doing, the passion shows.

The other exciting part of the trip was going to Chinatown and finding little food markets. What can I say, going grocery shopping is FUN for me. A lot more fun than going clothing shopping or to a MALL! That tells you a lot about me. I found goji berries, a lemongrass powder, noni tea and some great rock sugar. I really enjoyed exploring the little shops, almost as much fun as going to Trader Joe's!

And then Saturday the best part of my day was going to the local farmer's market at the parking lot of the local community college in Oahu. The Red Hibiscus ginger syrup drink was phenomenal. I even bought some dried red hibiscus so I can make my own drink! And I found cinnamon honey that I will use for a recipe I plan on creating. And I loved the local Farmer's Market cookbook with a listing of local vegetables and fruits all clearly labeled.
Food and the varieties of food excite me in all of their forms. There are so many exciting new trends and ways of using foods and ingredients to tantalize the tastebuds. I know for sure that living in Hawaii has made me appreciate more and more each day what nature has made. I notice the fruits and vegetables. Before I lived here I hardly paid attention to what nature has given us. I pay attention to the flowers and trees more than I did before. I look at Red Hibiscus and now realize that I can make my own tea from it. I look at an avocado and a lemon so differently now. There are endless possibiltiies what I can do with what the land has to offer. The other day I picked up a box of lilikoi (passionfruit) from a neighbor for $3. I squeezed each and every one of those lilikoi and made a syrup. I then started adding this luscious juice to everything from dressings to marinades for chicken and fish.
Eat well. Live well.

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