We broke away from our early Spring routine for a trip to Kauai, thrilled to enjoy the subtropical sun, the warm Pacific waves, and the soothing folk music. Naturally, we were looking forward to a culinary change of scenery as well.
Knowing we had a kitchen at our Poipu Beach rental apartment, we had sent a box of essential RITROVO® condiments ahead of us. We were as eager to experiment with local Kauai foodstuffs as we were to swim and snorkel in Poipu’s pleasant bays.
Thanks to Sunshine Markets’ island-wide program to bring local farmers’ produce to the kitchens of resident and tourist chefs, we sampled traditional delicacies both humble and elevated. As the cool evening trade winds breezed onto our deck, we prepared simple dishes combining RITROVO’S® condiments with fresh local fare.
From Kukui’ula’s market near Poipu, we loaded up on citrus, pineapple, papaya, and freshly-caught fish. This refined, somewhat upscale market inspired some wonderful Italian-Hawaiian dishes.
First we sliced buttery Monchong fish (sickle pomfret), sprinkled it with Casina Rossa’s Sweet & Salt, and served it beside local Chinese greens drizzled with Casina Rossa’s Lemon EVOO.
Then, using a local farm’s pesto made from Kauai basil and Macadamia nuts, we cooked up Casina Rossa’s Artichoke Leaf Pasta, adding a couple drops of fresh lime juice for brightness.
For a Hawaiian-style dessert, all we needed was fresh papaya, a sprinkle of Sweet & Salt, and a drizzle of RITROVO® SELECTIONS Organic Balsamic. Receiving news that this balsamic had been nominated for a sofi™ award made it all the sweeter.
The moon’s light glinted off the fresh-picked green limes and orange-hued Calamansi limes floating our glasses of BEVIVO™. In the daytime, we blended BEVIVO™ with a mix of fresh Kauai coconut water and sparkling water. A juicy wedge of local pineapple fit in like a resort-loving Italian.
On South Central Kauai we popped into Hanapepe’s local market, which offered a range of ingredients typical to Filipino cuisine. We picked up some long beans and robust local ginger. Later, we simmered these with lime and a simple sauce of Casina Rossa’s Lemon EVOO, Organic Bergamot Oil, and WuWanWo Harmonious Soy Sauce. We quickly pan-cooked local Ono in the same sauce, and served it together with a side of Tenuta Cocevola’s Taralli Crackers.
We made a perfect warm supper one evening with I Peccati di Ciacco’s Rice Gigli, sautéed Asian spinach, local Kauai arugula, EVOO, and Piran sea salt. We paired this with a splendid sparkling rosé from the Ulupalakua Ranch on Maui. Its light spiciness paired well with the veggies grown in Kauai’s rich red soil.
For lunch, there were abundant plate lunches and in the evening we often ventured into reasonably-priced local restaurants to indulge in local ahi poke, fresh fish, and ceviche with taro chips.
We tried a loco moco on our last Sunday morning at Waimea, sitting besides locals eating hearty breakfasts. The loco moco is a Hawaiian classic: steamed rice topped with a fried egg, beef gravy, and a hamburger patty. We chased it with coffee, though we couldn’t help thinking a palate-cleansing glass of Bevivo would have been just right.
RITROVO’S™ version of the loco moco is still in the works—perhaps we’ll use Fior di Maiella’s Black Rice topped with a local farm egg and a simple “gravy” of Madonna dell’Oliva Raro EVOO and RITROVO SELECTIONS™ Organic Balsamic. Maybe we’ll crown the plate with a serving of Radici of Tuscany White Beans instead of the Kauai beef patty. But don’t expect to feel the trade winds.
Think locally, eat globally!