Story by Diane Haynes Woodburn
“It’s soup weather,” I announce happily. My husband and I, along with friends from next door, are taking a walk through our neighborhood in the crisp, early evening air. “Yep, time to get the parkas out,” my husband smiles. Sounds crazy for Hawai‘i? At 4,000 feet, we in Kula get a real winter (at least by Hawai‘i standards) and it’s wonderful. Temperatures are downright chilly and the sky is radiant, splashed in wide brushstrokes of pink and orange as a golden sun begins her descent. I pick up a red leaf that skips across my shoe and show it off to the group, hugging my flannel shirt a little closer to brace against the sweet, cool breeze. As we approach the last stretch up our driveway, I’m already taking mental inventory of soup ingredients—and come up short. No barley, I think. Darn.
Although this is our annual Luxury Issue, I can’t help but be reminded that many folks are coming up more than a little short this season. And yet, like the gorgeous country sunset, there is something inexplicably reassuring, even hopeful, in the air. “It’s different this year,” my neighbor shares. Instead of exchanging extravagant gifts this past Christmas, each member of her extended family wrote a check to their favorite charity. “We raised about $1,000,” she boasts, “and I feel great.”
We at Maui Nō Ka ‘Oi feel pretty great, too. Perhaps the fresh, pleasing scent in the air has something to do with living in the finite space of an island, where the simple truth is—we need each other. In this Luxury Issue, we offer plenty of ways to have fun. And yes, we serve up some extravagances to indulge in—from living like royalty with a splendid escape to Lanai, to experiencing a lavish spa day of your dreams, or delighting in the precious treasure of a Ni‘ihau shell lei. If artful home design is more your style, you can take our in-book tour through one of Hawai‘i’s most gorgeous beachside residences. You might also opt to join our chocolate challenge—a delicious diversion this side of heaven.
In this issue, and perhaps sweetest of all, we delight in bringing you the story behind the confection. While manufacturing what is arguably the most indulgent ingredient on Earth, Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate offers each of us the joy of giving back to community, with every blissful bite. Theirs is an inspired business story and a thoroughly satisfying recipe for success.
From my kitchen, I see a beautiful new moon brightening the night sky. I still don’t have barley. But I do have leftover turkey, some carrots, onions, celery… “There’s kale in the garden,” my husband says. “I have mushrooms and split peas,” my neighbor adds. I’m excited now. I’m reminded of the European fable, “Stone Soup.” A hungry, disheveled traveler claims he can feed a village from just a stone and a pot of water. He immerses the stone in the big boiling pot and tastes it. “Hmm,” he says to fascinated but unbelieving villagers. “But it needs just a bit of parsnip.” “I have a parsnip,” someone volunteers; “I have a carrot,” says another. One by one the offerings of the townspeople continue. Until, indeed, there is soup enough to feed the entire village—all from one stone, and the magical ingredient of sharing.
Luxury is in the eye and heart of the beholder, and it seems to boil down to the same, simple lesson. Whether it’s a chance to stay at a luxury hotel, to savor some decadent chocolate, or the pleasure of preparing a hearty soup—it’s really about appreciating what you have, and with whom you get to share it.
Wishing you a sweet New Year, filled with friends, family, and the luxury of sharing. Soup anyone?
A hui hou,
Diane Haynes Woodburn