Cacao Farm Tour, Chocolate Demonstrations and Seminar Schedule

jacquesTorrescacaoThe Kona Cacao Association, the non-profit organization producing the Big Island Chocolate Festival, is proud to present an in-depth array of educational opportunities led by internationally known leaders in the cacao industry. These chocolate demonstrations and seminars are designed for Hawaii cacao farmers, chocolate producers and chocolate enthusiasts. Tickets to all the events can be purchased through EventBrite. Discounts available for advance purchase. To learn more about the Kona Cacao Association, please visit,

Don’t forget, the Big Island Chocolate Festival Gala fundraising evening is Saturday May 3rd from 6-10 pm. So after your amazing days of learning about all things cacao…enjoy 25 sweet and savory tasting stations and talk to your favorite chefs!

Cacao Farm/Factory Tour

Kona Natural Soap Company Farm Tour

Thursday May 1 – 9-11 am

Tour the Kona Natural Soap Company’s five acre working cacao/coffee farm and soap making factory in Keauhou Mauka on Thursday May 1st from 9-11 am. You’ll see how cacao is grown, learn how its cultivated and then used for chocolate. The Kona Soap Company sells its cacao to the nearby Original Hawaiian Chocolate Company and then utilizes the spent roasted cacao casings from the chocolate making company to concoct its famous chocolate soap. Owner Gary Colden will lead guests on a tour of both the farm and factory and discuss how he blends business with sustainability, locally grown products, essential oils and Aloha. Watch video. 

DIRECTIONS:  Take Highway 11 south.  Approximately 3 miles past the Kamehameha III intersection, you will see a blue Water Department sign at approximately the 116 mile marker.  There will also be a large highway sign that says “Holualoa/Keauhou.”  Turn left at the intersection of Haawina Street from Highway 11.  This is a short street that connects Highway 11 with Highway 180 which is the Mamalahoa Highway.  They should turn left onto the Mamalahoa highway and go about 1000 feet.  The address is 78-6749 Mamalahoa Highway on their right side or mauka side..  Concrete driveway with a long rock wall facing the street.  The guests should drive up the concrete road and a parking area on their left.  If the guests reach the water department on the highway they have gone too far.

Cost- $25

Seminars and Demonstrations

All classes to be held at the Fairmont Orchid-Hawaii 

Friday May 2 – 2:30-4:30 pm

Located in the Lehua Theater on the Promenade Level

2:30-3:15 pm – “Selecting Cacao Cultivar for Flavor”-Ed Seguine– Owner, Seguine Cacao Cocoa & Chocolate Advisors, an international cacao consultant with 45 years in the chocolate industry.

This seminar reviews the segregation of agronomic and flavor traits in seed-grown cacao. In selecting field trees, agronomic traits are easily identified but available pods for fermentation is often a limiting factor that prevents selection based on flavor. Examples of breeding for flavor (CATIE and INIAP) will be shown and tasting evaluated. Techniques for small scale and micro fermentation will also be discussed. Financial appreciation is $50  (SPECIAL– If you bring a farmer (or want to be a farmer) with you, both of you can attend for $50!)

JacquesTorres13:30-4:30 pmChocolate Bonbon Making Demonstration – Celebrity chef/Food Network Star Jacques Torres, the first artisan chocolatier to start from cocoa beans to make his own chocolate and is now known nationally as “Mr. Chocolate.”

Jacques will be creating these amazing treats!

– Cinnamon Praline bonbons
– PB&J bonbons
– Chocolate Mousse served on Chocolate Cups

Bring your questions for Jacques, taste his famous New York City bonbons, and learn more about the chocolate industry from one of the most entertaining master pastry chefs in the world! Financial appreciation – $50

Saturday May 3- 10 am – 1:30 pm – 

Located in the Plaza II Ballroom 

10-11:00 am-  “How To Taste Chocolate”– Ed Seguine, Owner, Seguine Cacao Cocoa & Chocolate AdvisorsEd Seguine shot

Join one of the foremost chocolate/cacao experts in the world in learning how to taste a variety of nuances of gourmet chocolate from Guittard, Valrhona and Waialua Estates. Learn the components to determine whether the chocolate you’re eating deserves to be paired with a glass of fine wine or backyard BBQ beverage:

  • cacao origin and processing
  • chocolate production practices
  • non-chocolate ingredient quality
  • chocolatier’s technical expertise
  • artistry and presentation

Financial appreciation is $30

11:15 am-12:15 pm-“Cacao as a Value Added Product for Business” – Greg Colden, owner/farmer/inventor, Kona Natural Soap Factory

Greg will share how to use cacao in “value added” products for people wishing to learn about how cacao can be used beyond chocolate bars! Great opportunity for small cacao producers, people thinking about planting cacao and other businesses using cacao.


Vincent Bourdin12:30-1:30 pm – “How To Make Your Own Decadent (but Simple) Chocolate Dessert Creation” – Valrohna Chef –Vincent Bourdin

Valrhona chef and President of the Asia Pacific Pastry Cup Board, Vincent Bourdin-Chef Bourdin will be creating while teaching during a chocolate dessert cooking demonstration. Come learn how to make your own easy chocolate creation from one of the most respected pastry chefs in the nation and sample it afterwards!


Tickets for all three Saturday seminars are $75 in advance.