Hawaii is a beautiful place with so much to see and do. When the opportunity to go for the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival came up, I was excited to be able to visit the island of Oahu again. The first time I traveled here, we visited a few islands, but for this trip we would focus on Oahu.
It is an 11 hour direct flight from New York to Oahu so being able to fly first class on Hawaiian Airlines really made a difference with lie-flat beds and food curated by Lee Anne Wong & Mark Noguchi. I honestly did not want to get off the plane it was so enjoyable but we had so much to do and get started with on our Hawaii journey.
Hawaiian Airlines useful tips and fun facts:
- Each of our A330 aircraft is named after a star or constellation used by Polynesian voyagers for celestial navigation.
- A constellation divider between the Premium Cabin and Main Cabin adds a magical touch by featuring the constellation Makali’i, rendered in twinkling fiber-optic lights. It is significant to Hawaiian Airlines, as Makali’i is the constellation that was high in the sky when our first airplane took flight on Nov. 11,1929.
- We partnered with renowned Hilo designer, Sig Zane, on a new line of complimentary amenity kits, a cotton quilt and a lounging pillow all fashionably adorned in a meaningful ‘Auli‘ilani lehua flower pattern.
About Alohilani Resort:
After we landed in Oahu we were greeted by our Avis driver for the week who took us straight to where we would be staying at Alohilani Resort. It is a beautiful property a block away from the beach with views of the mountain also.
What made this trip unique was the opportunity to dig deeper into the Hawaiian culture and learn about the indigenous ingredients of Hawaii.
Activities and Voluntourism
We got our hands dirty (and our feet) with Kanekoa Kukea-Schultz, executive director of Kāko‘o ‘Ōiw as we planted and restored a new patch of lo‘i (taro planted in water). Following that we enjoyed a taro-inspired meal handcrafted by Hawaiian Airlines guest Chef Noguchi.
North Shore Tree Planting Tour at Gunstock Ranch hosted by ‘Alohilani Resort
In partnership with the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, ‘Alohilani has committed to help return native trees to 500 acres on North Shore’s Gunstock Ranch. Discover the best of what Gunstock Ranch has to offer through a private, guided tour and experience a one-of-a-kind tree-planting ceremony within the ‘Alohilani Legacy Forest.
Kualoa Grown Farm to Table Tour
The Kualoa Grown Farm-to-Table tour is a totally immersive culinary experience which allows guests to learn and taste many of the products raised and grown at Kualoa. Explore Kualoa’s livestock operation of cattle, pork and sheep in beautiful Ka‘awa Valley. Learn about the aquaculture operations’ oyster, fish and shrimp farms. Taste some of the exotic tropical fruits and vegetables like cacao, breadfruit and taro which are all grown and incorporated into a delicious six-course meal prepared by Kualoa’s own Chef Kimo Kauhane.
Kō Hana Rum Tour
This was a really cool and unique experience that was very informative and also tasty at the end when we got to try a bunch of different selections.
Aloha from Mari’s Gardens + Property Tour
I have been to a number of food and wine events all over the US and I have to say, I am really impressed with this one. The list of chefs participating were amazing and the events were never overcrowded i.e. no waiting in lines for delicious food 🙂
This was our first event and it was the most causal of the bunch as you would expect for hops. I love the clever name of the event giving a nod to the fresh crops of the island used in the dishes at the event. You could find a beer for any palate here.
Lots of swanky vibes and great cocktails with savory dishes.
This was my favorite of the events. It was over flowing with fresh seafood dishes, delicious bites, perfectly crafted cocktails and every wine you can ask for.
We had a wonderful experience in Hawaii that was extremely authentic and more unique than the typical visit. I highly recommend diving into the culture and learning more about what makes each island of Hawaii special.