A True Culinary and Hawaiian Food Experience-Taste of the Hawaiian Range 2015


HIltonSunsetTasteThe first thing that hits you is the smell of grilling meat. The smoke wafts towards you as you head down the grand stair case of the Hilton Waikoloa Resort and see the sun starting to set on the ocean. Then you see all the chef tents and realize that many grills are going at once and the aroma becomes intoxicating. Then you enter the realm of pasture raised goodness and the start of the 20th Annual Taste of the Hawaiian Range has begun.

TasteoftheRangeThe Taste of the Hawaiian Range has become one my must attend food festivals on Hawaii Island. We sampled from over 30 food booths with chefs preparing culinary “tastes” using 100 percent pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb, goat, mutton and wild boar—plus fresh island fruit and vegetables. Hundreds of people around us had the chance to graze at culinary stations while visiting vendor booths to meet the farmers and ranchers who grow our food.


Citrus Marinated Steam Ship Taco -Photo by Denise Laitinen


Tamale with Chimichurri Sauce by Tommy Bahama

We started outside to enjoy all the grilled meats (our favorites included the flap meat tamales from Tommy Bahama and the citrus marinated steam ship taco created by the Waikoloa Hilton and Chef Dayne Tanabe). Being outside and watching the sun set behind the palm trees with a plate of goodness in our hands and a glass of wine while seeing our friends made us realize that we never enjoyed a food event like this anywhere in California when we used to live there. We are surrounded by world class resorts here in West Hawaii with amazing chefs who come together to support our farmers and ranchers each year at this event. It’s a unique opportunity and after two hours of tasting, it’s a fulFILLING one, too!

If you get to go, don’t stuff yourself too much on the grilled meats outside, because you walk into the ballroom and it’s like entering a whole other food festival!


Chef Noah Hester, Blue Dragon Restaurant

TasteOystersOne of the most memorable moments came when I sought out who was chosen to prepare the “Rocky Mountain Oysters”, which you may know are bull testicles. Each year, the chefs get a different cut of beef or range animal to prepare.  In this, we truly get to see which chef stretches their creativity in preparing this “difficult dish”. I was pleasantly surprised to see local “celebrity” Chef Noah Hester from the Blue Dragon Restaurant had incorporated the meat into SUSHI!! Talk about clever! They even had some fun t-shirts to go with the experience.


Culinary Student Serves A Peirogi at the Sheraton Kona Booth

Adding to the sense of “eating for a good cause” we enjoyed seeing the culinary students from the local community colleges in the booths helping the professional chefs prepare, plate and serve the food. It was great seeing our “farmer” friends, like Tane and Maureen Datta of Adaptations, who own a community supported agriculture (CSA) food hub where we get our farm fresh produce every other week and the folks at Big Island Bees Honey. We are BEYOND blessed to have such an abundance of produce for the chef’s to create all the dishes available in the room that night.

If you have not yet attended the Taste of the Hawaiian Range, put it on your “must do” list for 2017 and come hungry and ready to nosh on Hawaii’s culinary gems!


Adaptations owners Tane and Maureen Datta

TorchingFood KombochatwithSteak TacoChimichurri

Kudos to the chefs, organizers, farmers, ranchers and hundreds of foodies who love this event as much as I do!



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Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Julie Ziemelis is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, blogger and vlogger in Kailua Kona. She created and moderates the “365 Things to Do in Kona” page and the Kona Newbies group on Facebook. She blogs at 365Kona.com and MoveToHawaii365.com and vlogs with her husband, Eric, at “365Hawaii” on YouTube. Julie also authored the books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”. You will most likely find Julie in Kona hiking, running, biking, taking photos and sharing Aloha.

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