Friday, November 02, 2007

Slow Food Adults Enjoy Kid's Stuff

By Lee Roversi
Slow Food Kaua'i

The newly formed convivium of Slow Food Kaua’i gathered for their first event on Tuesday, October 30th. Dubbed “Kid’s Stuff” it started with a marvelous tour of the Wooten family’s Kunana Dairy—an organic goat farm in Kilauea, and concluded with a masterfully prepared and superbly presented tapas menu at Bar Acuda Restaurant in Hanalei.

Hosted by Louisa Wooten, the matriarch of the operation, the dairy tour was informative and fun. Meeting the goats, which the family considers their kids (pun intended), was a peek at animals who have been lovingly hand-raised and tended with care. The kitchen and milking facilities are crisp and clean, also a reflection of the fine attitude and impeccable ethic this family brings to their work. Louisa’s son and daughter-in-law, Ryan and Sarah, are an integral part of the day-to-day operation of Kunana Dairy. In addition to the several kinds of artisan goat cheeses produced, Sarah makes some delicious sauces, pestos and dressings from the organic produce also grown on the acreage. As if that were not enough, the farm is now turning some of their prolific goat’s milk into soaps, lotions, shampoos and conditioners. Needless to say, this is a very busy family and some extremely content goats. The entire tour was a sterling example of organic family farming at its finest.

The marvelous restaurant in Hanalei to whom Kunana sells several of their cheeses, was our next stop on this great evening. The owner and chef, Jim Moffat, had prepared this menu for our Slow Food group, featuring the dairy’s cheeses. Paired with the tapas for which the restaurant is rightly renowned, were wines to which we were lovingly introduced by sommelier George Rowland. As the group moved from dish to dish, we all kept up a constant murmur of amazement at the range of flavors, the delightful variety and the consistent quality of the dishes. Jim has a commitment to sustainability and the reflection of that was surely in his purchasing. There were a number of products in each dish that were organically grown from local farmers. The goat cheeses (gorgonzola, cheddar and feta) were integrated into a menu that showcased them in deliciously diverse culinary settings.

Every member at the table came away with a finer understanding and deeper respect for the grasp and dedication the Wooten family and Chef Jim Moffat and his staff at Bar Acuda have for the tenets inherent in the Slow Food movement. We all were renewed in our personal reasons for supporting this global movement here on our own island and excited to gather again at another event soon.