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Published: Sunday, 4/23/2000

Food lures summer travelers

Wherever I journey, my nose follows food. I can't help but explore restaurants, specialty food stores, and food events. Even in airport gift shops, I look at food items to take home.

No matter where you travel today food experiences abound, from the smallest towns to major cities, from isolated locations to an island paradise or a historic site.

Sometimes it's a food festival or a culinary happening that prompts a vacation destination. If serendipity leads to a food event, it's a happening to take advantage of. Culinary discoveries will give a taste, and understanding, of the region.

Among the upcoming events for travelers are these:

The 19th annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival June 30-July 3 in Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii.

This year's event celebrates "Culinary Crossroads," a showcase of Hawaii's diverse culinary background and the wine industry. The events include the Grand Tasting with 100 international wines paired with the flavors of Hawaii; the Kapalua Chefs Festival; winemakers at five of Kapalua's finest restaurants; and a schedule of food and wine tastings and cooking demonstrations. For information, reservations, and prices, call 808-669-0244.

The Gilroy Garlic Festival, July 28-30 in Gilroy, Calif.

General admission is $10. Described as a gigantic outdoor kitchen which is home to the "Pyro Chefs" who cook up garlic-laced calamari and scampi in huge iron skillets over blazing fire pits, the food booths even sell garlic ice cream. The annual recipe contest will have eight finalists in a cook-off for a $1,000 cash prize. Contest rules are available at www.gilroygarlicfestival.com or by writing Gilroy Garlic Festival Association, P.O. Box 2311, Gilroy, CA 95021-2311. The deadline for entries is May 1. For information, call 408-842-1625.

The Ninth Annual New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, July 12-16 in New Orleans.

Vintners Dinners will offer 33 prix fixe fine dining opportunities on July 12 at $75 each. Royal Street Experience, a definitive French Quarter evening event, will be July 13. The Masters Roundtable Seminar at $125 per person will feature a two-day seminar with 17 American Masters of Wine. Grand Tastings on Friday and Saturday and a Bubbles & Brunch event on Sunday promise a memorable weekend. For more information, call 504-529-9463.

Closer to home, Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Mich. will feature three food events throughout the summer line-up of special programs.

It's the Berries! Historic Food Weekend, June 24-25;

Our Daily Bread Historic Food Weekend, July 8-9;

Amazing Maize Historic Food Weekend, Aug. 19-20.

Each will have food demonstrations. Some of the foods featured will be prepared in the Taste of History restaurant in Greenfield Village for guests to purchase. Admission to the historic exhibit is $13.50 for adults; $12.50 for senior citizens, and $8.50 for children ages 5-12. For more information, call 313-271-1620.

Happy trails!

Kathie Smith is The Blade's food editor.

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