We had two functions in Honolulu at the end of November.  The first was a trade tasting by Southern Wine & Spirits of Hawaii, who represents Selene in Hawaii.

The tasting was held at the Halekulani in Waikiki and was very well attended.  They put on a good show.  The wineries were around the edge of the room, probably three dozen wineries from the mainland, with food in the middle of the room.  There were buyers and Sommeliers from all the islands.  I saw more people from Maui at this tasting than I did when we went to Maui the year before for vacation!  I guess we went when restaurants close down for the slow season, so it was good to see everyone we missed at this tasting.

We were lucky enough to walk across the hotel to eat at La Mer after the tasting.  La Mer is Halekulani’s very nice French seafood restaurant.  Ever since my first visit to Waikiki a few years ago, I’ve wanted to eat at La Mer.  We were able to get right in (luckily we were dressed up for the tasting!).  We had some wonderful dishes.  They served this great champagne by the glass, I believe it was Lanson.  We also ordered a 2003 Chablis, which is really good for our California palettes, a little riper and richer than most Chablis.  It was great to sit in the open air and have a wonderful meal with some wine and the Hawaiian music and a traditional Hawaiian dancer on the beach below us.  It was a great ending to a very successful day.

The next day we were at Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas for a consumer tasting benefiting the Lupus Foundation.  I had a chance to meet Dr. Eugene Wong, who is a Nephrologist specializing in hypertension and lupus in Honolulu.  He is one of the people who organized this benefit along with his friend Chuck Furuya, who is one of the best Sommeliers certainly in Hawaii if not the world. 

The Chefs of restaurants from all around Hawaii where there making a special small plate for the 250 consumers who attended, while wineries were pouring their wine. There were about a dozen different wineries and 15 different food stations. 

Before the event got started, I was interviewed by Jo McGarry of Wine and Dine Hawaii.  She wrote a nice article on the event, which includes the link to the Podcast of the interview. We poured our 2003 Chesler Red Wine and received nice responses.  Many people came back for seconds! 

The most unexpected thing was being turned on to this sourdough chocolate bread by everyone telling us it went so well with our wine.  I’m not a huge fan of chocolate and red wine unless it’s a very high percentage of cacao in the chocolate.  I have to admit this bread was wonderful.  It wasn’t particularly sweet, it had a sourdough flavor, very dark chocolate and a little piece of bitter sweet chocolate right in the middle of it, and it did go very good with the wine.  We were lucky enough to have some people bring it over to our table.  Chris Miura, who recently opened Mauna Kea Baking Co., is a gifted baker for sure!

It was an excellent cause with wonderful people.  The wineries and restaurateurs that were involved were great; it couldn’t have been a better event to get acquainted with consumers there in Honolulu.  The dinner for our last night in paradise at Hiroshi’s was memorable.  Chuck Furuya took good care of us and the food sent from the kitchen was incredible.

I might mention that if you haven’t been to Waikiki in a while, it’s undergoing some makeovers.  There are some wonderful restaurants and shopping and retail fun.  It’s been three years since I’ve been there, and I really enjoyed this visit.