The Four Seasons’ Rich Taste Of Chocolate

Jo McGarry
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Wednesday - July 01, 2009
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I was at Taste of Chocolate on Maui last weekend (yes, I know, horrible-job-but-someone-hasto-do-it), and I had the opportunity to taste outrageous chocolate creations, and to check out some of Maui’s best restaurants. There’s a whole different feel to the food-and-wine scene on Maui. At upscale restaurants such as Spago and Ferraro’s Bar e Ristorante at Four Seasons Resort and Nick’s Fishmarket at Fairmont Kea Lani, the food is among the best in the world. Even at the laid-back, casual mom-and-pop bars and cafes dotted around the island there is an incredibly high standard of food preparation and heavy use of local produce.

But it’s at the Four Seasons where you’ll spot not just amazing ingredients, but some of the world’s most-recognizable faces.

Four Seasons Resort regional vice president Thomas Steinhauer and his team provide a venue for vacationing celebs that’s garnered the hotel its reputation of being the place to head if you want to relax in the lap of luxury.

“Celebrities love to have a reason to come and stay at the Four Seasons,” says communications director Yvonne Biegel. “The Taste of Chocolate gives people a reason to come. The hotel is a haven for them.”

It’s easy to see why the rich and famous love the hotel, partly because it’s one of the few places on earth where nothing is too much trouble, and partly because Taste of Chocolate is one of the best-organized, most-exclusive events in Hawaii. Strutting the late-night red carpet this past weekend I spotted Kristen Bell, Anna Faris, Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott, as well as actress Virginia Madsen, best known for her role in blockbuster “wine” movie Sideways.

The chocolate extravaganza has been part of the Maui Film Festival these past five years, and each year brings more decadent and outrageous chocolate creations than before. This year guests nibbled on chocolate truffles, chocolate cake and chocolate candies, and sipped tiny white chocolate milkshakes while surrounded by chocolate sculptures and chocolate martini bars. I watched as a chef added the final touches to a huge chocolate sculpture, blowtorching gold leaf details with intense concentration.

“This year I think that the chocolate sculpture on the stage was the most impressive,” says Biegel, “but what blows everyone away each year is the beauty of the individual chocolates prepared by our own Four Seasons’pastry chef Rhonda Ashton.”

Now that the event is over, staff can take a breather for a few months. “We start planning and brainstorming in January for the 2010 Taste,” says Biegel ...

I had a nice chat with actress Tori Spelling, who assured me that the life of a celebrity, no matter how rich, is not all sweet treats, late-night parties and champagne. “Oh, I sound like such a dork,” she said, “but Dean (McDermott) and I don’t go out much at all. We have two children under 2, and we love to cook and have dinner at home almost every night. Our son is obsessed with french fries, so I try to make him some kind of healthy version - like sweet potato fries - when I can.”

She was happy to stand and chat about her kids and what they will and will not eat - a favorite topic of moms the world over.

“This is fun,” she said, echoing the thoughts of every invited guest at the party. “And it’s a big night out for us!”

Happy eating!

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