If you know beans about chili, you know that chili has no beans.
That's why Ulupalakua Ranch will be simmering with everything but beans at its second annual CASI Hawai'i State Chili Championship Cookoff from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The cookoff, sanctioned by the nonprofit Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI), debuted last year at the Ulupalakua Ranch Store.
Ulupalakua Ranch Store’s Jeremy Johnson (from left) with wife Anita (behind pinata) at last year’s event with cosponsor Christine Vestfals of Shaka Pops Maui and Michael Azevedo.
AUBREY HORD photo
It spiced things up so successfully that its organizers decided to expand on this year's event and make it part of the Ulupalakua Sunday Drive series, with proceeds again set to benefit members of Maui 4-H Livestock Association.
The sponsors are once again Ulupalakua Ranch Store & Grill, Maui's Winery and Shaka Pops Maui.
"As anyone knows who's 'come on up' for a Sunday Drive, the day is all about fantastic live music!" says Diana Azevedo, the store's manager. "Country Knights will be performing good-time island favorites on the beautiful grounds of Maui's Winery from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m."
What: Second annual CASI Hawai'i State Chili Championship benefitting Maui 4-H Livestock Association.
Where: On the grounds of Maui's Winery, Ulupalakua Ranch and its famous store.
When: From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Highlights: Chili sampling for $5, People's Choice Awards, chile pepper inspired lunch specials, wine tastings and live entertainment.
What's more: Bring a lawn chair. But keep pets, alcohol and coolers at home.
For more details: Call Ulupalakua Ranch at 878-6058 or visit the event website at www.shakapopsmaui/chili.
Also during that time frame at the ranch store, Bradda Francis will entertain as the Hawaiian Elvis.
"Just as hot as the music that's playing at the ranch store is the lunch that's cooking on the grill," continues Azevedo. "Executive Chef Will Munder has created a spicy new menu that's all about chiles in all shapes and sizes."
Savor Anaheim chile enchiladas topped with queso fresco; steak tacos with pasilla pepper salsa; Caesar salads with Hawaiian chile pepper croutons; spicy bacon-wrapped jalapenos; and elk burgers with red or green ranchero sauce. Do save room for dessert: the ancho-chile pepper and double-chocolate tarte with cinnamon whipped cream. "Ay, caramba," says Azevedo.
But if bowls of chili are what you crave, then pay $5 for a tasting kit to sample all of the entries from 12:15 to 2 p.m., and then vote in the People's Choice Awards.
Makawao's own Don Miller will return to defend his 2013 title. The top three Hawaii resident winners will be sent to the Terlingua International Chili Championship in Texas in November. But do take note, two previous winners from Texas will be competing at Ulupalakua this year.
The chili cookoff was brought to Maui by husband and wife chili enthusiasts Larry Lutz and Christine Vestfals-the makers of Shaka Pops Maui. Cool down or heat it up with flavors such as Spicy Mayan Chocolate Pop; and even enter the Shaka Pop Eating Competition.
Bring a shopping bag to take home the ranch store's new Pulehu BBQ Sauce and the No Bull Hot Sauce.
Walk across the street to Maui's Winery and enter the King's Cottage Tasting Room, where staff will offer tips on "pairing with heat" as well as give low celebratory pricing on bottles of wine that day.
"We are so proud to welcome the state chili championship here once again," adds Azevedo, "It's a wonderful and fun way to bring the community together."