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Leave it to Four Seasons Resort Hualalai to outdo itself. Honestly, this was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life.  My family was included in  the initial test run for one of the greatest Hawaiian adventures ever!

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We were picked up at the hotel and driven to Paradise Helicopters, just a  short jaunt from the hotel. I must admit, I’ve always been a bit nervous about taking a helicopter ride, but this concern was quickly eliminated. Our pilot, Danny, was an ex Marine pilot, who also just happened to be the ultimate tour guide. As we flew over the Big Island of Hawaii, we learned that ll of the 13 world climate zones are on the Big Island. Imagine!

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We viewed the most active volcano in the world, along with endless black lava fields.

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We watched, in awe, as billowing steam rose as lava met the Pacific Ocean at 2500 degrees Fahrenheit. The Big Island  in Hawaii is the only island with active volcanoes and there are five of them. We were actually close enough to smell the sulfur.

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Next, we flew over the rainiest city in the US. The small town of Hilo averages 360 inches of rain a year. That’s 5 to 6 times the amount of rain you find in Seattle! The lush green foliage and forests attest to this, where the canopy of green tree tops are every bit as beautiful as the magnificent ocean coastline. 

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We dipped into valleys studded with spectacular waterfalls. Countless Macadamian farms, as well as fields of Kona coffee bean were scattered throughout the island.

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Danny also made sure we saw green as well as black beaches. We swooped through magnificent valleys and flew past seemingly endless banks of waterfalls. What a ride!

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Our destination was a privately owned farm, where our hosts graciously invited us for lunch. As we stepped out of the helicopter, we knew we were in for a treat when we were greeted with cocktails served by the Four Seasons Hualalai’s award winning Executive Sous Chef Nick Mastrascusa and Tehani, who assisted Chef  on our culinary adventure. Every detail was exquisite. Who could resist? 

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Our hosts, June and Mike, gave us a guided tour that started with viewing rows and rows of fresh pineapples. Above, you see Chef Nick and Tehani picking pineapples to garnish the top of Chef Nick’s fabulous creme brûlée. Then we walked by rows and rows of fresh lemons, limes, grapefruits, sugar cane and just about every fruit  and herb you could imagine.

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After touring the gardens, we strolled into a beautiful, grassy oasis for a sit down lunch. Our hostess had picked flowers from the garden for the centerpiece. The Four Seasons thought of everything else.  I mean this quite literally.

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Chef Nick and Tehani brought every last piece of the table setting, including the table itself, chairs, plates, flatware and wine glasses. I must share that  this part of the island is a  1 1/2 hour drive each way from the resort. So, bringing EVERYTHING, from food to table, was no mean feat. Above, you see the portable kitchen that was transported from the hotel. Location movie sets have nothing on the Four Seasons. This was an elaborate production!

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Our first course began with a delicious salad, served on a fresh hearts of palm base. Chef Nick utilized fresh herbs and ingredients from the nearby garden. Champagne with the salad, anyone?

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Next course was spaghetti with a fresh tomato and basil pasta. With a flair for the dramatic, Chef Nick made sure this was not just a normal spaghetti dish. He pulled a hand made pasta press from nearby bushes and before we knew it, one of our group was cranking out home made spaghetti from pasta dough made minutes earlier.

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Of course, an ordinary plate is never dramatic enough for Chef Nick, who always adds his special flair to every part of a meal. The pasta itself was presented in an individual bowl made from homemade pizza dough baked in the Four Season’s wood burning pizza oven earlier that morning.

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OK, surely this wonderful meal is over. No? Another course? And we smell it before we see the grass fed beef grown on the island searing on a hot grill. Wandering over to see what could possibly still be cooking, we see Chef Nick slicing and placing delicious slices of beef on individual, locally made wooden platters. He covered the steaks with sauteed local mushrooms and fresh herbs picked just steps away. Anyone want a glass of cabernet?

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As we all look around in hopes of finding a hammock, so we don’t ever have to move again, we see yet another culinary masterpiece. Yes, that’s Chef Nick flaming the creme brulee AND doing the same on the fresh pineapple that we picked upon arrival. Beautifully presented, we decide that we might never eat again! 

Time for Danny to fly us back to the luxury of the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. We take one last look at the Hawaiian coastline and know that our afternoon is about to end. This was an experience of a lifetime and one that every guest should try on their next visit to the Four Seasons.

Be brave. Leave fear behind and have an unforgettable day. This extraordinary outing belongs on everyone’s ultimate bucket list!

NOTE 

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Many thanks to Damon Stirling, Guest Experience Manager,  who created this experience and whose imagination knows no limits, Chef Nick, whose creative culinary inspiration is endless, and Tehani, who represents the very best of the Four Seasons. Wendle and James, we got some great photos, didn’t we? Thank you all for making this an unforgettable day. Our entire group had an incredible day!

(Photo from right to left, Wendle Lesher (General Manager of Hualalai’s U’LU restaurant), Danny Sarner (our pilot from Paradise Helicopters), Damon Stirling (Guest Experience Manager) and James, who trains all the wonderful staff at Four Seasons Hualalai).

  

 

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