The Living Salad at Blue Dragon Restaurant is served in a mini wood planter. Green and purple baby lettuces spill from the top along with a few wispy fennel fronds. Gilded gold scissors with ornate scrollwork are placed alongside. On a separate plate, wedges of roasted beets grown at Blue Dragon Farm are fanned in a circle and topped with cubes of perfectly ripe mango, crunchy pea shoots and intensely flavored strawberries. I am instructed to cut the lettuce along the edge of the planter box, so as not to get potting soil on my greens, roll the leaves around the vegetables and dip the lot into a jaboticaba honey vinaigrette, which is piped in circles around the plate. The salad is a blast to eat and the strawberries will forever haunt my memory.
Nate Hayward navigates a 15 passenger van along a rutted farm road in North Kohala. A steady drizzle of warm rain splats across the windshield. Eight foodies
The Big Island Chocolate Festival is in its fifth year, and the gala’s theme is Lavalicious-A Chocolate Salute to the 100th Birthday of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Indulge in both savory and sweet temptations prepared by top chefs and chocolatiers while watching award-winning Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company, sculpt one of the largest volcanoes ever created in fine chocolate. Culinary stations will be judged on their depiction of the popular park, plus a host of “best” culinary categories such as savory, plated dessert, bon bon, bean-to-bar, Hawaiian cacao and People’s Choice.
Tom Kerns, owner of Big Island Brewhaus, sits across from me at a picnic table on the bar’s lanai. His wife, Jayne, and their cook, Dan Leishman, sit on either side of him. Inside, boisterous conversation punctuated by laughter pour from customers who drink Tom’s award-winning craft beer and nibble on a large variety of pupus, some made with