Let’s Talk Food: Festivals canceled this year

Ka‘u Coffee Festival

The 12th annual Ka‘u Coffee Festival was canceled this year, but I found this winning recipe in the Food Network magazine.


The 2012 grand prize winner, Chelsea-Lynn Rosario, doesn’t even drink coffee because, “I get anxiety attacks if I have too much” she said. That’s OK, her biscotti would be perfect with Ka‘u coffee anyway!

Coffee-Macadamia Nut Biscotti

Makes: 30-35 biscotti

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup ground Ka‘u coffee

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup local honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs

3/4 cup local macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

1 (12 ounce) bag whte chocolate chips

2 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk flour, coffee, cocoa powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Combine the sugar, butter, honey, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed. Reduce mixer speed to low; beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the nuts with a wooden spoon.

Form the dough into two 3-by-8-inch logs on the prepared baking sheet, about 3 inches apart. Bake until browned, 25 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 1/2-inch thick slices using a serrated knife.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Arrange the slices cut side down on the baking sheet, return to the oven and bake 20 more minutes, flipping the cookies halfway through. Let cool 10 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Melt white chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water), stirring until smooth. Dip the biscotti partway into the melted chocolate, then roll in the coconut. Place on a baking sheet lined with fresh parchment; refrigerate until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.


Kona Coffee Cultural Festival

This year’s 50th Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, originally set for early November, was postponed.

“Our board of directors determined that a scaled back version of the festival that complied with social distancing guidelines would not be able to celebrate the 50 years of culture behind Kona’s famous coffee festival,” said Valerie Corcoran, festival president, in a message on the festival’s website at konacoffeefest.com. “We look forward to welcoming festival goers to the 50th Kona Coffee Cultural Festival in 2021.”



The popular Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, was canceled this year, which is the first time since just after World War II. However, you can mark your calendar for next year, Sept. 17-Oct. 3, 2021.

But like Kona residents, who leave town the week of the Ironman competition, our son, Neil, who lives in Augsburg, Germany, often leaves town that week as Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival. In the past, 6 million people from around the world attended the event.

Oktoberfest is very important to the Bavarian people, so it must have been very disappointing to have it canceled this year. The first one was conducted in 1810.

Unable to even have friends over for an Oktoberfest party this year, you can cook some German-style food for the family and have your own celebration.

You have to bake some pretzel rolls as pretzels are served in Germany.

Pretzel Rolls

Makes: 8 rolls

1 cup milk

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (one 1/4 ounce package)

1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Cooking spray

1/2 cup baking soda

1/4 cup coarse sea salt, plus more for sprinkling

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Warm the milk in a small saucepan until a thermometer registers 110 degrees. Pour into medium bowl; sprinkle with the yeast and let soften, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the sugar and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Combine the flour and set in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the yeast mixture and butter and mix until the dough is slightly smooth and soft but still sticky, about 2 minutes. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray, add the dough, cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Generously coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Stretch into a 16-inch log, about 2 inches wide; cut into 8 even pieces. Roll and stretch each piece into 6-inch ropes, then wind into a coil, tuck the end underneath. Transfer the rolls to the baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes, then refrigerate until slightly puffed, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Fill a large pot or deep skillet with 3 inches of water. Add the baking soda and 1/4 cup of coarse sea salt and bring to a boil. Add half of the rolls and cook until slightly puffed, about one minute, flipping halfway through with a slotted spoon. Recoat the baking sheet with cooking spray and return the rolls to the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining rolls. Brush the rolls lightly with the beaten egg, then sprinkle with coarse salt.

Transfer to the oven and bake until the rolls are deep golden brown, 18-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through.


Transfer to a rack and let cool 10 minutes on the pan, then remove the rolls to the rack to cool completely.

Email Audrey Wilson at audreywilson808@gmail.com.

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