Dessert Lovers Paradise – 17th Annual Quisine of Hearts

Coconut Divine Truffles. Lilikoi Mac Nut Cheesecake. White Chocolate-Dipped Double Fudge Brownie Pops. Cherry Supreme Ice Cream.

Calories don’t count at the 17th annual ‘Q’uisine of Hearts, a spectacular brunch that benefits several community nutrition awareness programs. Presented by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Kona Kohala Chefs Assn., the fundraiser is 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 12 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Come hungry!

While innovative and mouth-watering desserts are definitely the draw at ‘Q’uisine, the culinary repast whets the sweet tooth with a sprawling bruschetta buffet stocked with breads, meats, cheeses and carefully crafted condiments arranged by West Hawaii community college culinary students. Also on tap are omelet and eggs benedict stations, wine, champagne and ales, plus piping hot coffee and tropical teas.

“Conceived to showcase the isle’s hard-working pastry chefs, bakers and confectioners—the event takes pride in delivering awe-inspiring delicacies that are infused with local products,” details Patti Kimball, event co-chair. “The undisputed high caliber of sweets is recognized through an annual critique performed by a trio of judges.”

Voted Best Dessert last year was the Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Waimea Strawberry Salad and Mai Tai Sauce by then Mauna Kea Beach Resort Pastry Chef Ross Alaimo. The mascarpone cheese and gelatin delicacy was delectable topped with fresh island fruit and an indulgent tropical sauce that hinted of pineapple and rum.

Up to 15 culinary stations annually vie for Best Dessert bragging rights to the delight of enthusiastic tasters. This year, Kailua Candy Company will be offering its scrumptious Kona Coffee Chocolate Dream, which earned third place in the professional division at the 2011 Kona Coffee Festival Recipe Contest.

Serenading the scrumptious “eats” will be romantic piano music by Loren Wilken, including some of your favorite love songs. During the silent auction, attendees can vote for their favorite “sweetheart” floral arrangement and bid to take it home. Other auction items include private catered dinners by top island chefs, take-home Valentine-themed desserts by student chefs and out-of-the-ordinary gifts and furnishings.

‘Q’uisine of Hearts annually benefits 2000 Kona-Kohala keiki through ACF Chef and Child Foundation (CCF) nutrition awareness programs. Activities include visiting 40 classes of second graders each year from January through May to lead keiki in creating nutritious Fabulous Fruit Kabobs and Smart Sandwiches.

“The CCF initiative also reaches youth through hands-on fun at the annual Waimea Healthy Keiki Fest and workshops at Kona’s annual Girls Exploring Math & Science (GEMS),” adds Carol Whitaker, event co-chair.

Additionally, ‘Q’uisine supports Green Tables, a farm and garden philanthropic initiative for children by Les Dames d’Escoffier Hawaii in Waimea. Through Green Tables, CCF supports students who are planting a school garden. It also provides funds for Choose My Plate brochures geared for teens and seniors.

Tickets, priced at $45 for adults and $20 for children aged 5-10 are for sale at Gourmet Chef’s Supply, Kailua Candy Company and Kona Wine Market in Kona or at Tropical Dreams Ice Cream in Waimea. Charge by phone at 808-329-2522.

For information, contact 808-333-5442.

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