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11th Annual Taste of Puna

Sure Save Stores has announced a new coffee tasting category to its 11th Annual Cook-Off “Taste of Puna” contest to be held at Puna Fresh Foods at the Keaau Shopping Center, on Saturday March 24, 2007.   This community service project’s mission is to promote the goodness of the district of Puna and to showcase its creative tastes and talents.  All cooks are invited to compete in this fun event, which will also feature arts and crafts from Puna and cooking demonstrations.

This new coffee tasting category is being sponsored by Hilo Coffee Mill (located in Puna) and will be east Hawaii’s first coffee cupping competition.  All entrants’ coffee beans will be roasted by Hilo Coffee Mill and will be judged for its aroma, body, smoothness, acidity, and finish.  Coffee beans from all geographic districts on the Big Island are welcome to enter the cupping competition.

The event’s grand prize is $2,000 cash with the total purse for the Cook-Off totaling $4,250. Contestants may enter in one of five categories including pupus, salads, entrees, desserts, beverage, and coffee.  Judges consider use of products from Puna, taste, creativity, presentation, and recipe.

This year’s celebrity judge is Barry Cutler, host of “Cookin’ with Cutty”.  Cutty’s shows are aired in OC16 in Hawaii and on the America One network – Nationwide.

Local judges include Audrey Wilson – Hawaii Tribune Herald;  Katherine Patton – Hilo Coffee Mill, Lee Harlow – Volcano House; Alan Okuda – Hawaii Community College Culinary Program; Chris Scott – Paradise Bar and Grill; Richard Nelson – First Cook-Off Winner; Margie Hanselman – cooking enthusiast and cook book publisher; Emily Naiole – Councilwomen; Jay Yoshimoto – councilman, Bill Walter – W.H. Shipman; Denyse Temple – Puna News; and Miriam Hamasaki - Miriam’s Cookies.

The general public is invited to taste and enjoy the creative food entries by making any cash gift of any amount to the beneficiary of this year’s event – Best Friend Camp.  A Puna based 501(3)c non-profit organization; Best Friend Camp was selected as the event’s beneficiary for their role in building stronger families and encouraging positive parenting.  Best Friend Camp is located at the popular Pohiki Bay in Puna.

Major sponsors of the event are Puna Fresh Foods and Keaau Shopping Center with category sponsors Cal-Kona Produce (Salad Category) and Hilo Coffee Mill (Coffee Cupping Category and co-sponsors) Meadow Gold Dairies, Suisan Company, Hilo Fish Company, THY & Associates, Rainbow Inventory Service, Aloha Security, Paradise Beverage, Better Brands, Pepsi-Cola, WH Shipman, KWXX-B97; O’Keefe’s Bakery, and Asia Trans.

Information and entry forms are available at Puna Fresh Foods at the Keaau Shopping Center or on the internet at www.suresave.com.  Recipes must contain ingredients grown or produced in Puna. For further information call Margaret Strubel at 640- 3561, Co-chairperson and contestants coordinator for the event. For information on the shopping center’s events call Valarie Ferrari at 935-4646.