Maui – Local Delights – Hawaii, USA

Winter lived on in NZ and the tropical climate of Hawaii was calling.  We flew to Hawaii on the 12th August and met Paul, Ashleigh and Taj in Honolulu before continuing onto the island of Maui.  I had been looking at the temperatures up there and it was saying mid to late twenties but it was actually in the early thirties most days we were there – no complaints!  

I think we both had different travel experiences getting to Honolulu and ours was probably a lot more relaxing : 0

A special guest on our flight from Napier to Auckland

Koru delights

Meanwhile in Sydney….

We got to Maui about 1pm and our accomodation wasn’t ready so we had some lunch at the Outbeak Steak House where the Waiter was full of suggestions for our stay on Maui.  I got quite excited while Steve’s eyes glazed over at the thought of so much outdoor exploration that didn’t involve a golf course!  We then did some grocery shopping before all crashing out for a couple of hours.

Grandad was very happy to be reunited with his little buddy.

Not sure about the tongue poking though : 0

We were staying in South Kihei which is on Maui’s south shore.  The accomodation was in a good location and we were within walking distance to the beach, shops, restaurants and bars.  I had done a bit of research prior to the trip regarding where to eat and drink and of course that included the best happy hours on the island : )

Some of the local highlights during our stay……

Life’s a Beach

This became the local – they had happy hour between 4pm and 6pm and served these monstrous beers for USD3.50 and a monstrous MaiTai for USD8 – I must say I was a bit shocked when they bought out my MaiTai but it ended up being the best MaiTai on the island and I had no trouble drinking it all : ). Needless to say we had a few visits here and the locals were very friendly.  This was helped by Taj being the little charmer that he is – he never fails to smile and engage with the people around him and if they’re not looking at him then he makes cute little sounds until they are looking at him!  Who does that remind you of, minus the cuteness : 0

Life’s a Beach

Horhito’s Shrimp Tacos Food Truck

The world over, food trucks are becoming more popular and Maui was no exception.  We saw a few food trucks during our visit and I had read about this one that did USD3 tacos.  It turned out Horhito’s Shrimp Tacos was parked just down the road from where we were staying.  The tacos were pretty good for the price so we had dinner there one night.

Hawaiian Moons Natural Foods

I always love a good natural foods shop so when I discovered Hawaiian Moons was 500 metres from where we were staying I was pretty happy.  They had a good range of fresh produce and meat as well as a salad bar and you could buy locally made artisan bread.

Hawaiian Moons

Lava Java

Another passion of mine is a good coffee and when it is locally grown and roasted I love it even more.  There were a few local growers and roasteries on the island but this one was just down the road so it became a morning ritual for me while everyone was still sleeping – grab a coffee and head to the beach to watch the people out in the sea learning to surf and paddle board.

The couple that own Lava Java, work with several upcountry growers to get their Kula Coffee and look to well known Maui grower Kimo Faulkner for the other Maui coffees.  The Kula Coffee’s “untold story” began over a decade ago, when about 250 Kona coffee starter plants found a new home on the slopes of Haleakala, and officially became Kula Coffee.

Lava Java Maui

Three’s Bar & Grill

Three friends who surfed and chefed together formed Three’s Bar & Grill in 2009 as a catering company but it didn’t take them long to establish a permanent restaurant in South Kihei.  We enjoyed happy hour drinks and food there one night and it was great – they have incorporated the three chef’s three cuisines – Hawaiian, Southwestern and Pacific Rim.

Again Taj made friends with all the wait staff.

Three’s Bar & Grill

South Shore Tiki Lounge

We had spotted this place on our walks so put it on the list to visit one night.  They professed to have some of the best pizza on the island so we tested it out when we visited and they didn’t disappoint.  They pride themselves on buying local and use only the finest and freshest ingredients.  The blurb above their menu was pretty impressive:

“We strive to buy local and use only the finest and freshest ingredients. Our bread products are made with wheat and malted barley flour. They contain no dairy products and are cholesterol free. Our meat products come from Maui Cattle Company free-range cows. They contain no hormones or antibiotics. Our fresh fish is caught off the shores of Maui. Our oil “Whole Harvest Smart Fry” is 100% cold expeller pressed soybean oil used only for cooking our French fries. It contains no harsh chemicals, no solvents, no trans fatty acids, no hydrogenation and no cholesterol. Our veggie dogs and burgers are made from soybean and wheat protein. They are low carb, low calorie and low fat. Our vegan chili is made with 3 types of beans, 3 types of chili, 3 types of onions, tomatoes, and herbs. Our hand tossed New York style pizzas are crafted from scratch using wheat flour, extra virgin olive oil, filtered water and a few secret spices. The sauce is made from fresh crushed Roma tomatoes and fresh (not dried) chopped herbs and spices. We hope you enjoy!”

I am very into knowing where my food comes from and what it contains so I was pretty impressed they had gone to the lengths they had to ensure the food they serve really does come from the finest and freshest ingredients.

Tiki Lounge

Paia Fish Market Restaurant

Every time we walked past this restaurant it was busy so we thought we better check it out.  We worked out that it was quieter earlier in the week so on the last Monday night we were there we wandered down here for dinner.  The website said that the portions were generous and the prices reasonable – my sort of place : )

Again there focus was on locally caught fresh fish and locally grown produce.  You order at the counter and find a table wherever you can, even if that means sharing with other people – they encourage rubbing elbows and making friends.  

The meals were large, tasty and satisfying.  There are actually three Paia Fish Market Restaurants on the island – the one we were at in South Kihei, one in Lahaina and the original one in Paia which opened in 1989.

Paia Fish Market

The Hawaii Fudge Company

As we were wandering back to our apartment after dinner one night we decided to go and check out the Hawaii Fudge Company – the smells drew us in.  We got accosted by a couple of staff who were promoting a fudge making class where you get to make a pound of fudge and become a fudgeologist!  They offered us a good deal so Ashleigh and I signed up for the next night.

We arrived at Fudge University at 5.30pm and the other two people booked in for the class didn’t turn up so we ended up having our own private class.  Paul gave us a bit of history on the Company and then on Hawaii itself which was really interesting.  The mythology is very similar to that of our indigenous people in NZ.  They have produced these four different fudge boxes which depict four different Hawaiian Legends – see below.

The Company employs about 12 people in their factory who make small batches of fudge just like you would at home.  They have many flavours including some seasonal ones.  There are two locations on Maui – Kihei and Lahaina and one on Oahu.

Pre fudge making we had to come up with a name for ourselves using an adjective starting with the same letter as our first name.  We then had to introduce ourselves and explain why we had chosen our adjective.  I was Racey Rachie due to racing everywhere no matter what I’m doing : ). Ashleigh was Awesome Ashleigh for obvious reasons, least of which was having to look after both Taj and Paul – just like having two children really : )

It was now time to make our own fudge creation – we had the choice of a white chocolate fudge or a chocolate fudge – Ashleigh went white and I went chocolate.  You then chose the flavouring, the bits and pieces to go in the fudge and a topping if you wanted one.  I love mint chocolate so I choose mint flavouring, mint chips and some pistachios to jazz it up.  Ashleigh went down the macadamia, caramel route.  We didn’t have to do too much hard work as the base mixture was already mixed.  It was then microwaved for 60 seconds for white and 90 seconds for chocolate – we then had 10 seconds in which to get all our flavourings and bits and pieces mixed in before pouring into our fudge boxes.  We all did the countdown while the fudgeologist of the moment did their mixing.  10 seconds goes fast which may explain why all my pistachios ended up in one corner of my fudge – I didn’t quite get them mixed in properly.

We had to come up with a name for our creations and from memory I called mine Peppy Peppermint with a hint of Pistachios.  We then graduated as Fudgeologists and took our pound of fudge home along with another lot of ingredients to make a second batch.  We were a bit dissapointed that we had to wait a few hours for it to set – we wanted to get into it – I had licked the bowl and it was going to be good!  Half of my fudge made it back to NZ after the holiday but it is long gone now.

Fudge History

Before 1886, the origin and history of fudge is unclear, but Fudge is thought to be an American invention. Most believe the first batch was a result of a accidental “fudged” batch of caramels, hence the name “fudge”.

In 1886, fudge was sold at a local Baltimore grocery store for 40 cents a pound. This is the first known sale of fudge. A letter, found in the archives of Vassar College, written by Emelyn Battersby Hartridge reveals that Emelyn wrote that her schoolmate’s cousin made fudge in 1886 in Baltimore and sold it for 40 cents a pound.

In 1888, Miss Hartridge asked for the fudge recipe, and made 30 pounds of fudge for the Vassar Senior Auction. The recipe was very popular at the school from that point forward. Fudge became a new confection after word spread to other women’s colleges of the tasty delight. Later, Smith and Wellesley schools each developed their own recipe for fudge.

Vassar College was the first degree-granting institution of higher education for women in the United States. It didn’t become coeducational until 1969.  Vassar was the second of the Seven Sisters colleges, higher education schools that were formerly strictly for women, and historically sister institutions to the Ivy League – Yale, Harvard, Princeton…

The story Paul told us was that one of the women was making a batch of caramel and it went wrong – it still tasted good so she sold it as Fudged Caramel – fudged being botched, cocked up.  The woman of the college continued to make fudge and used it to sweeten the local politicians whilst lobbying them on various political matters.

Definition of Fudge

Fudge is a crystalline candy and controlling the sugar solution crystallization is the key to delicious, smooth fudge. One of the most important aspects of any candy is the final texture. Temperature separates hard caramels from fudge and tiny microcrystals of sugar in fudge gives fudge its firm but smooth texture. The secret to successful fudge is getting these crystals to form at just the right time.

Hawaii Fudge Company – Love, Peace, Fudge

Our Fudge Lecturers – Paul & Heaven

The History of Hawaii

“The Aloha State” became the 50th state in 1959, but the history of Hawaii goes back centuries earlier. Roughly 1,500 years ago, Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands first set foot on Hawaii Island. With only the stars to guide them, they miraculously sailed over 3,200 kilometres in canoes to migrate to the Islands.

500 years later, settlers from Tahiti arrived, bringing their beliefs in gods and demi-gods and instituting a strict social hierarchy based on a kapu (taboo) system. Hawaiian culture flourished over the centuries, giving rise to the art of the hula and the sport of surfing, but land division conflicts between ruling chieftains were common.

In 1778, Captain James Cook, landed on Kauai at Waimea Bay. Naming the archipelago the “Sandwich Islands” in honour of the Earl of Sandwich, Cook opened the doors to the west. Cook was killed only a year later in Kealakekua Bay on Hawaii Island.

In 1791, North Kohala born Kamehameha united the warring factions of Hawaii Island and went on to unify all of the Hawaiian Islands into one royal kingdom in 1810. In 1819, less than a year after King Kamehameha’s death, his son, Liholiho, abolished the ancient kapu system.

In 1820, the first Protestant missionaries arrived on Hawaii Island filling the void left after the end of the kapu system. Hawaii became a port for seamen, traders and whalers. The whaling industry boom flourished in Lahaina Harbor in Maui. Throughout these years of growth, western disease took a heavy toll on the Native Hawaiian population.

Western influence continued to grow and in 1893, American Colonists who controlled much of Hawaii’s economy overthrew the Hawaiian Kingdom in a peaceful, yet still controversial coup. In 1898, Hawaii became a territory of the United States.

In the 20th century, sugar and pineapple plantations fuelled Hawaii’s economy bringing an influx of Japanese, Chinese, Filipino and Portuguese immigrants. Lanai, under the leadership of James Dole, became known as the “Pineapple Island”, after becoming the world’s leading exporter of pineapple. This mix of immigrant ethnicities is what makes Hawaii’s population so diverse today.
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on Oahu. Four years later, on September 2, 1945, Japan signed its unconditional surrender on the USS Battleship Missouri, which still rests in Pearl Harbor today. In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th State of the United States. Today, Hawaii is a global gathering place for visitors to share in the spirit of aloha. Beyond the sun and surf of the islands, we urge you to discover the rich cultural history of Hawaii to add even more depth to your visit.

Hawaiian Religion

Ancient Hawaiian Religion

The Hawaiians believed in multiple gods who controlled the aspects of their lives. They believe that, in the beginning, there was nothing but the god Keawe. Keawe was said to be the first being and ancestor to the chief gods. Keawe manifested himself in the form of his son, Kane, the god of creation and light, and in his daughter, Nawahine, the moon goddess and the mother of heaven. 

From Kane and Nawahine came their sons: Lono, the god of agriculture, Ku, the god of war, and Kanaloa, patron of the ocean. Kane, with his sons, were the four main gods in the Hawaiian religion, the akua. The Akua ruled over the world and they watched over it. The Hawaiians respected the land they lived in because they believed that the gods would take forms of nature, like plants or animals, so they lived in the mentality of loving the land. After the akua, each household had their own specific god that they paid homeage to, the ‘aumakua. The ‘aumakua were said to be guardian spirits that took multiple forms, such as sharks, birds, fish, or other creatures. The ‘aumakua symbolized strength, guidance, warnings, assistance, and inspiration. The Hawaiians worshipped their gods with the Kapu system, the rules that they followed to keep their gods’ territories and images holy. The Kapu system was both their laws and their religion, and it controlled the actions of the Hawaiian people until King Kamehameha II abolished it in November 1819. This left the Hawaiian people without direction for a year, until the missionaries arrived in 1820.

Post contact Hawaiian Religion

When the missionaries arrived in Hawaii in 1820, they saw it as divine providence that the Hawaiians had overthrown their previous religion, leaving their minds open to the truth of Christianity. The missionaries sought to save and civilize the Hawaiians so they could be brought into the modern world. The Hawaiians were taught the doctrine of the Puritans. Hawaiians converted to Christianity in large numbers, yet some stayed in the practice of the old gods.

Modern Religion in Hawaii

Religion in Hawaii today has been greatly influenced by the cultures that make it up. Hawaii has had a large Asiatic influence since it became a port for world trade, so a large part of Hawaii’s religious background is made up of religions of Asian descent, such as Buddhism. With our world being connected with easy travel, there are elements of many religions in Hawaii. 

Hawaiian Legends

Forging Fire God: Pele

Lighting up ancient Hawaiian legends, Pele (pronounced peh-leh) the goddess of fire, lightning, wind, dance and volcanoes is a well-known character. Otherwise known as ka wahine ai honua, the woman who devours the land, Pele’s home is believed to be Halemaumau crater at the summit of Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes. However, all of Hawaii lays the setting for her stories, so that to this day, any volcanic eruption in Hawaii is attributed to Pele’s longing to be with her true love.

Frozen Mantle God: Poli’Ahu

Poliʻahu met the Aliʻi Aiwohikupua on the Eastern slope of Mauna Kea. The two fell in love and Aiwohikupua took Poliʻahu home to his native Kauai. There Poliʻahu discovered that the aliʻi was already betrothed to a princess of Maui. Poliʻahu left in dismay, but managed to first curse the betrothed. She first chilled the princess of Maui to the bone, then turned the cold into heat. Finally, the princess gave up and left him. Later Poliʻahu similarly cursed Aiwohikupua, freezing him to death. The four goddesses are defined by their otherworldly beauty. Poliʻahu is noted as Hawaii’s most beautiful goddess.


Origin Gods: Papa & Wakea

Together, Papahānaumoku and Wākea created Hawaii, Maui, Kaua’i, and Ho’ohokukalani. After having incest with his own daughter, Ho’ohokukalani, she gave birth to Haloa-naka, meaning elder child. It was a stillborn baby, which they later planted and became the first kalo or taro, a staple of the Hawaiian diet. After Haloa-naka, Ho’ohokukalani gave birth to another child named Haloa, meaning younger sibling, and he became the first kanaka or Hawaiian person. The relationship between Haloa-naka and Haloa describes the balance of relationships between the land and the people that live in it. Haloa-naka, the land or kalo, takes care of the kanakas or Haloa by providing them with food and nutrients. In return, Haloa or the people would treat and take care of the land like their own family. Later on, Wākea reunites with Papahānaumoku and they create Ni’ihau, Lehua, and Kaʻula. In one tradition, the first person on Earth was the woman Laʻila. She and her husband Kealiʻi are the parents of Kahiko, the father of Wākea. Wākea made the land and sea from the calabash or gourd (‘ipu) of Papahānaumoku. He threw it up high, and it became the heavens. He made the rain from its juice and from the seeds he made the sun, moon, and stars.

Hidden Beauty God: La’ieikawai

In Hawaiian mythology, Laʻieikawai (Lāʻi.e.-i-ka-wai) and her twin sister Laʻielohelohe were princesses, and were born in Laie, Hawaii, Oahu.

They were separated and hidden away from their chiefly father who had all his daughters killed at birth, because he wanted a first born son. Laʻieikawai was hidden in a cave which was only accessed by diving in a pool of water named Waiapuka. Soon it was well known that someone of royalty resided nearby because of the tell-tale rainbow that graced the sky above her cave dwelling. Her grandmother Waka secretly tried to smuggle her to Paliuli, Puna, Hawaii (island). On the way there others heard of her beauty and the rumors travelled all throughout the islands. Aiwohikupua, a chief from the island of Kauai decided he would pursue her. At her home in Paliuli, Laieikawai was attended by supernatural birds such as the ‘i’iwi polena. It is said she could float on the wings of the birds. While other royalty in Hawai’i had mere feather capes and cloaks, Laʻieikawai had a house made of the sacred feathers. After a series of misfortunes, she becomes known as Kawahineliula (“woman of the twilight”). In 1863, S. N. Haleʻole published the story of the figure in The Hawaiian Romance of Laieikawai, the first fictional work of literature produced by a Native Hawaiian.


This blog was originally set up to share our 9 month adventure around Europe and the USA with friends and family in 2014. On returning to NZ in January 2015 I decided to carry it on so I could continue to share any future travel adventures - it has become my electronic travel diary. I hope you enjoy and get inspired to visit some of the wonderful places we have visited.
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