In February, 2010, Erin and I decided to celebrate Chinese New Year by setting out on our honeymoon. We got married just two days before I moved to Taiwan, so we never really had time to go on a proper honeymoon beforehand. Erin did some research, and found the perfect cruise on the M/S Paul Gauguin that happened to coincide almost perfectly with the Chinese New Year holidays in Taiwan. The itinerary is their Cook Islands & Society Islands 11- night cruise, which we loved most of all because it was to include two different countries! Unfortunately, due to some unforseen weather (the first powerful cyclones to hit Tahiti since 1982!) our itinerary was forced to be changed to forgo the Cook Islands and make stops in the Tuamotu Atolls instead. While this definitely was a disappointment, we were determined to make the most of this cruise, which turned out to be amazing!
One aspect of this cruise, which was my first, and left me a little spoiled for all future cruises, was that this was all-inclusive. All meals were included — main dining room and premium dining room — as were all drinks (except premium wines). Our veranda stateroom came with a stocked minibar, filled with soft drinks and beer. But to my horror, here we were in Tahiti, and the beer in the fridge was all Heineken and Budweiser! I almost left the ship right there! But before panicking, I took a moment to compose myself. We had arrived in Tahiti a few days early and enjoyed three nights at the Sofitel Tahiti Maeva Beach Resort, where we spent countless hours sitting by the pool, knocking back Polynesian cocktails, and the local beer, Hinano. Having had a taste of Hinano already, I was able to quickly call our cabin steward and plead with her to remove the nasty swill populating our minibar and replace it with a fridge full of Hinano. She was happy to oblige – Heaven!
Hinano is the Beer of Tahiti. It has been brewed on the island since 1955. This beer is recognizable from the start with their “vahine” logo, which has remained pretty much unchanged since their inception. This beer is a must for anyone who wants to try a beer that will forever remind them of paradise. It’s a typical lager beer, crisp and smooth drinking. It’s not going to knock your socks off, but when put in the proper perspective — sitting on the beach of your private motu, watching the sunset before enjoying the most delicious pig roast — it’s hard to beat.
If you can’t make it to Tahiti, you can also try Hinano in England, France, Japan, New Caledonia, Wallis-et-Futuna, Hawaii and California.
Related Posts: Tahitian Cuisine – Recipe for Poisson Cru