Photo Courtesy of South Pacific Food & Wine Festival
The only thing that beats a great meal is a great meal in a fabulous setting; and proving this once and for all will be the point of the inaugural South Pacific Food and Wine Festival this March, where visitors can explore the bounty of South Pacific cuisine in the company of a cadre of international star chefs.
The event will be held over four days, from March 14-17, 2012, on the resort island of Denarau, 20 minutes from Nadi International Airport.
Chefs will be in attendance from all over the world, including cookbook author Robert Oliver, celebrity Chef Manu Feildel from Masterchef Australia and Dancing with the Stars, Ben O’Donoghue (right) from Australia, Samoan native Chef Michael Meredith based in New Zealand, and Chef Peter Gordon of The Providores and Tapa Room in London among others.
Events will include experiences like celebrity cooking demonstrations and master classes, culinary workshops, gourmet lunches and degustation dinners. Outside the kitchen and dining room, guests can take guided tours of the Suva Produce Market, and an opening night launch party hosted by Festival Ambassador Robert Oliver, where they can sample wares from the boutique wineries and food purveyors that supply Fiji’s hospitality industry.
Guests can purchase one-day passes for $333 FJD (approximately $180 USD) or three-day passes for $777 FJK (approximately $420 USD). The three-day pass includes a signature lunch daily in a designated festival restaurant, access to all chef presentations, culinary workshops and master classes as well as t the Hospitality Trade Expo, evening social events, the “Taste of the Pacific Gala Dinner” on the festival’s final night, and even a fishing expedition.
Where to Stay
Events will be hosted at the Sheraton, Westin, Sofitel, Hilton and Radisson Blu in Denarau. The Sheraton will host several of the program events, and guests here have access to the other five-star resorts in the Starwood complex of three Sheraton and Westin resorts on the property with a variety of facilities including the Westin’s award-winning Heavenly Spa with 10 open-air therapy rooms. The aesthetic at the adjacent Westin is a little more island-chic with sliding wood doors in the rooms, thatched shade huts lining the pools and restaurants; and among the water activities and land sports, cultural activities like the Evening Unwind torch-lighting ceremony.
The upscale 296-room Sofitel blends South Pacific and French influences for a relaxing resort feel, and sits on a magnificent waterfront location with a large lagoon pool. Rooms come with contemporary amenities like Bose iPod docking stations, as well as private balconies and terraces. There’s also a Mandara Spa here to unwind after a busy day of festival events. Over at the Hilton, rooms range from studios to five-bedroom villas, and guests can dine in two gourmet waterfront restaurants, barbecue at their rooms, or enjoy takeout gelato and espresso as well as deli items from L’Epicier market. The spa here offers the possibility of treatments in a private cabana right on the beach.
The family-friendly Radisson Blu resort has 270 rooms and one- and two-bedroom suites situated around lagoon swimming pools, each of which comes with private balconies, free internet, and LCD televisions. There are four restaurants on property that offers a range of water activities, has a harmony Retreat Day Spa, and is near the Denarau Golf & Racquet Club.
Air Pacific, the international Airline of Fiji, operates four direct flights a week from Los Angeles to Nadi on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday aboard a Boeing 747. The flight takes about 10 hours non-stop, though passengers can also travel on to various other destinations in the South Pacific from there including Australia. Air Pacific is a member airline of Oneworld, so flyers can earn miles on other airline programs like American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Qantas, and in the U.S., Air Pacific codeshares with American and Alaska, opening up access to the entire west coast and beyond for connections. To kick off the festivities, Air Pacific is offering a 5% discount on flights for travelers attending the festival.