We’ve never heard of calamansi fruit before this trip.
It’s a hybrid between citrus (most likely, mandarin orange) and kumquat and it goes by many wild names. There’s calamandarin, kalamunding, Philippine lime, Panama orange, Chinese orange, musk orange, acid orange and our personal favorite title — the golden lime.
Confusing in both name and nature and widely cultivated in places like the Philippines, Indonesia, and southern China, this sweet and sour tangerine colored cross also grows prolifically on the Hawaiian Island of Maui.
We’re staying at the Four Seasons Resort Maui along the golden sands and blue-green waters of Wailea Beach. There’s a sweet warmth to the wind that carries the scent of plumerias into the open air dining space where we stand with Chef Bruce Trouyet.
“Calamansi is growing everywhere — in every garden on the island,” he tells us, accent thick and pleasant.
Currently the Executive Pastry Chef at the resort, Bruce is originally from Nice near the south of France.
With a natural mix of precision and dreamlike whimsy that we assume can only be performed by the best pastry chefs, we watch as he incorporates both the peel and the calamansi juice into the cheesecake he’s preparing in front of us.
When we take a bite, the calamansi is sweet with a subtle tang that cuts through the creaminess of the tropical cheesecake. Bruce adds lilikoi (or yellow passionfruit) sorbet and caramelized calamansi peel for texture.
This, we discover — this beautiful, bountiful, nearly indescribable citrus meets kumquat creation — is Maui’s golden lime.
We were in Hawaii to document the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival, a program of the non-profit, Hawaii Ag and Culinary Alliance. The annual event takes place across three islands and proceeds serve to support the farmers, ranchers, and fishermen of Hawaii, as well local culinary colleges and agricultural education for children. To learn more about the upcoming festival, visit hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com.