Hawaii Food and Wine Festival chefs get creative with fresh local ingredients. // © 2015 Dane Nakama/Hawaii Food & Wine Festival
Feature image (above): Evening parties with gourmet food and drinks create culinary memories at the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival. // © 2015 Dane Nakama/Hawaii Food & Wine Festival
As Hawaii comes into its own as a food mecca, the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival (HFWF) continues to grow in an effort to reach as many hungry travelers as possible.
This year, from Aug. 29 to Sep. 13, HFWF will celebrate its fifth anniversary, featuring more than 100 world-class chefs cooking with products that are locally grown, caught and raised. Events will take place on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island.
For 2015, HFWF is lengthening the Maui portion of its activities to three days.
“The expansion on Maui gives visitors the opportunity to participate in an entire weekend of new and immersive culinary activities,” said Denise Yamaguchi, executive director of HFWF.
Travel agents can benefit by telling their clients about HFWF, Yamaguchi noted.
“The festival offers travel agents incentives and commissions on select events,” Yamaguchi said. “We’re helping travel agents sell Hawaii by providing them with a value-added product beyond the standard offerings.”
While food lovers represent the major target audience for HFWF, its myriad events appeal to many markets. Families can attend Keiki in the Kitchen, an all-day kid-friendly event at the Honolulu Zoo. Fitness buffs can sign up for a yoga session on the beach that’s followed by zen-like snacks and cocktails. Golfers can take part in a tournament hosted by celebrity chefs and winemakers, with gourmet food and drinks served throughout the course.
“Our goal is to have an extensive roster of culinary events in every location so that travelers can plan their vacations to different islands and still have access to a full range of festival experiences,” Yamaguchi said.
Hawaiian Airlines, host of two signature HFWF events, is offering festival attendees a 5 percent discount off nonstop airfare from all of the line’s gateway cities.