Maui, Upcountry Culinary Getaway
First of all, Happy New Year – Sawasdee Pee Mai – สวัสดีปีใหม่.
I have just returned from a family vacation to Maui. While I was there I had the chance to take two days off to totally explore Maui as a culinary getaway. For foodies and culinary enthusiasts, the upcountry is a must. No Maui vacation is complete without a full immersion into this land, people, food and culture.
First Day – Grandma’s Coffee House, Tedeschi Vineyards, Ali’i Kula and the Hili’imaile General Store
On Friday December 23rd, I left Ka’anapali around 8:30am and drove along Highway 37 to the upcountry area. Upcountry is the high land area near the base of the Haleakala Crater and the Haleakala National Park. (Please see related links below for more information.)
I arrived at 9:30am at Grandma’s Coffee House – a must-visit place for coffee lovers, either on your way to the Maui Winery or afterwards if you are following the area’s bike route. Grandma’s serves breakfast and lunch.
Grandma’s Maui Coffee, Highway 37, Keokea.
I enjoyed a Grandma’s Americano and a Grandma’s Pineapple and Banana Cream Cake at an outside table. The cake was perfect—not too sweet, but with all the Hawai’i goodies: macadamia nuts, pineapple and bananas. The frosting was light with a swirl of caramel. My palate tasted the heaven.
Tedeschi Vineyards at the Ulupalakua Ranch
Highway 37, Keokea. mauiwine.com
Around 10am I got back in the car and, continuing on Highway 37, headed to Ulupalakua. I arrived at the Maui Winery 20 minutes later, just in time for the first tour at 10:30am. The free half-hour tour provided extensive information about the winery and its wine, as well as the history, culture, and native land that connect to the spirit of the place. The old large tree and hilly landscape made for a very tranquil atmosphere.
Ulupalakua Ranch Store and Grill, Highway 37
Then I walked to Ulupalakua General Store and had my picture taken between the sculptures of two Hawaiian cowboys. I could have ordered an elk burger, salad or sandwich for lunch, but the Ali’i Kula lavender Farm was my next destination and I planned to have a late lunch after that at the Hili’imaile General Store.
Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm, 1100 Waipoli Road, Kula.
Twenty minutes later, I arrived at Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm. Admission to the farm was free, but I decided to take the 30-minutes tour at 1pm for $12. This gave me plenty of time to enjoy the gift shop, eat a lavender scone and sip some lavender black tea on the patio. I enjoyed the retreat-like setting in the beautiful garden with its cool air and great view and felt at peace.
Thank you to Kathy Gehrt, my friend and author of the cookbook Discover Cooking with Lavender, who recommended this place to me. If you wish to learn more about cooking with culinary lavender please visit Kathy’s blog: Discover Lavender.
Right after the tour ended, I excused myself and headed out to The Hili’imaile General Store. I arrived at 2 pm, just 30 minutes before the kitchen was to close.
The staff was very friendly and I took their recommendations for what to order. I was glad I did. To share my memorable meal with you, I have found Chef Beverly Gannon’s recipes online and placed the links to them right under the pictures of these dishes. The Sashimi Napolean and the six times award-winning Pineapple Upside-Down Cake are not to be missed. The recipes are also in her second cookbook, Family-Style Meals at the Hali’imaile General Store which is published by Ten Speed Press.
900 Hali’imaile Road, Makawao, HI 96768
Phone: 808.572.2666 | Fax: 808.572.7128
Second Day – Kula Lodge, O’o Farm and Makawao
On Monday, December 26th, the second day of my upcountry culinary getaway, I started my day with breakfast at Kula Lodge, then drove to the O’o Farm which is only 10 minutes away. I arrived at the farm just 10 minutes before a farm tour was to begin.
O’o Farm, 651 Waipoli Road, Kula. Tours and lunches
Chef Caroline Schaub prepared some amazing and inspired farm-fresh dishes.
The farm tour and lunch package costs $50; booking in advance is recommended. The tour, which included about 26 people from all across the United States, was guided by the farm manager. It started at 10:30am and we picked our own salad mix at the end. We all enjoyed the tour and were inspired by our farm-to-table experience.
After leaving the farm I spent a pleasant hour in Makawao, a delightful small town for visiting art galleries, eateries and shops. Then I made a leisurely drive back to Ka’anapali and met up with my family in the late afternoon.