2017 Seminar Schedule

Seminar Schedule for 2018 will be finalized by February 2018.

Don’t Miss our Cacao Seminars and Culinary Demos!
Learn Cacao Farming Techniques, How to Create Chocolate Confections, and Enjoy a Unique Cacao Farm Walking Tour

Cacao Plantation Tour

Friday, Apr 28th at 11:00 am – 12 pm
Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory tour will be held at the plantation located approximately five miles south of Kailua Kona. The tour is from 11 am-12 pm.

Would you believe that chocolate grows on trees? Enjoy a cacao farm tour at the nation’s first tree-to-bar chocolate plantation. The Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory was the first company to grow, hand-pick, sun-dry and process only Hawaii-grown cocoa beans into chocolate. It’s a beautifully scenic one-hour easy walking tour of the orchard and factory. Sample OHCF’s own dark, milk and criollo handcrafted chocolate “plumerias.” Learn about every step in the chocolate making process, from growing the trees to molding each handmade, delicious bar. Afterwards, visit the Chocolate Shoppe to see the range of final products.

Learn more. Investment is $25 per person with ALL proceeds benefiting the charities of the Festival.

All farm and chocolate demonstration classes will be held at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel in the break out rooms near the ballroom.

Cacao Farm Seminars
Friday, April 28th 11 am – 2 pm
  • 11 a.m.-noon: “Cacao Survey Results” and an update on the “CTAHR’s Cacao Variety Development Project,” is presented by Dr. H.C. Skip Bittenbender of UH’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. An extension specialist for coffee, kava and cacao, Bittenbender has conducted field research to provide prospective growers with quality stock in an effort to bring Hawai‘i cacao to the marketplace.
  • 12:15 p.m.- 1:15 p.m.: “Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Production” by author Paul Picton. A native of Canada, Picton is president/co-owner of Maverick Chocolate, a family operated, bean-to-bar chocolate company that opened 2014 in Ohio.
  • 1:30-2:30 p.m.: “The Art and Craft of Cacao Fermentation” by Dr. Nat Bletter of O‘ahu’s Madre Chocolate. Find out why fermenting is the most important step for determining flavor in tree-to-bar chocolate making.

Tickets for ALL seminars are $40 in advance or $30 each seminar at the door (save $50 by buying ahead).

Chocolate Culinary Demonstrations
Saturday, April 29th 9:30 am – 2 pm
  • 9:30-11 a.m. Demonstration with Tasting: “Small Chocolate Bites,” by Donald Wressell, executive pastry chef at Guittard Chocolate Company. Known for his spectacular, chocolate sculptures at past BICFs, Wressell will show three-to-four different types of mini chocolate desserts like chocolate marshmallows, chocolate financier and others.
  • 11:15-12:45 p.m. Demonstration: “Chocolate Crystallization & Tempering” by Alicia Boada, West Coast Technical Advisor for Barry Callebaut Chocolate, whose brands include Cacao Barry, Callebaut and Mona Lisa. Boada is a highly credentialed culinarian, being certified as an executive pastry chef, culinary educator and culinary administrator by the American Culinary Federation. As a corporate pastry chef and chocolatier, Boada offers worldwide training while keeping on the edge of what’s happening in the contemporary pastry and chocolate world.
  • 1-2:30 p.m. Demonstration: “Creating a Artistic Chocolate Showpiece” by Stéphane Tréand MOF. Stéphane Tréand MOF of The Pastry School offers tips on how to add artistic flair to your chocolate creations. Tréand’s prestigious Pastry School in California instructs students of all abilities in the pastry and baking arts.
  • Tickets for ALL three Saturday seminars are $75 in advance.  $35 for each at the door. Or purchase an “I LOVE CHOCOLATE!” All Day Pass”  which includes all three demonstrations AND a ticket to the gala: $135  (save almost $50!).

    We invite you to book your room at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel for both Friday and Saturday and mention the Big Island Chocolate Festival for room rates of only $229 inclusive!


Stéphane Tréand MOF, and owner of The Pastry Shop, is a 40+ year veteran of the food industry, Stéphane Tréand’s pastry journey began in Northern France when his father sent him to work at the local bakery. Stéphane held a variety of positions at several bakeries and pastry shops in the Paris area where he learned all of the fundamental basics of French pastry and bakery. In 1989, Stéphane opened his own patisserie tearoom “Pâtisserie Tréand”, located in Brignoles in Provence, South of France. Already a food lover, he focused on the quality products

In 2001 Stéphane sold his patisserie in order to devote more time to teaching and to pursue his lifetime dream of achieving the title of M.O.F., (Meilleur Ouvrier de France) “Best Craftman in France” which he achieved in 2004. The title of M.O.F. is the highest honor given by the President of France to a professional in an individual trade. Stéphane is currently the owner of The Pastry School in Costa Mesa, California where he teaches the art of pastry, confection and more.

Alicia Boada, West Coast Technical Advisor for Barry Callebaut Chocolate, brings passion for chocolate, from the contemporary entremet to cakes and chocolate showpieces, this wide-ranging knowledge of pastry has led her to her most recent role as Barry Callebaut’s West Coast Technical Consultant for the Chocolate Academy USA. Boada’s formal training began in 1992 in Chicago, where she attended the Culinary School of Kendall College. Since then, Boada has moved worldwide apprenticing under Master Pastry Chefs and Master Confectioners. After honing her skills, she returned to settle in the US working in NY, LA and Chicago.

Chef Alicia Boada

Donald Wressell, Executive pastry chef at Guittard Chocolate Company. Prior to his joining Guittard Chocolate as the in-house pastry chef, Donald Wressell spent 19 years at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills where he was named the 2005 Pastry Chef of the Year, won Silver and Gold medals in the Grand Salon Culinaire and placed second at the Les Masters du Chocolat competition. Chef Donald also represented the USA four times in Le Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie and recently captained the winning team at the 2011 National Pastry Team Championship.

Dr. Nat Bletter, co founder and flavormeister of Madre Chocolate, has 15 years of experience in botany, documenting exotic fruits and vegetables, gathering food in the wild, herbal and traditional medicine, and exploring Asia, South America, Central America, and Africa. He has a Ph.D. in Ethnobotany from the CiNatBletterty University of New York and New York Botanical Garden, where he researched medicinal plants of Peru, Mali, and the Guatemalan Mayans, ethnobotany, taste-modifying plants, and stimulant plants such as cacao, which has spurred him to start a traditional-ingredient, high-antioxidant, artisinal chocolate company Madre Chocolate. He will co-lead a culinary, medicinal plant, and music tour in Bali where he has spent many months exploring the landscape, music, fruits, food and medicine since 1994. He now works at University of Hawai’i Manoa researching plants and migration in Thailand and Laos, and making chocolate from scratch.

Paul Picton, of Maverick Chocolate, traveled around the world as an engineer for many years; always returning home to his wife, Marlene with new and interesting chocolate. The more chocolate they tried, the more interested they became in how chocolate was grown and made.

According to Paul, “When my travel stopped early 2013, Marlene and I soon finished our supply of chocolate. We were sitting at the kitchen island when the idea struck–let’s make our own world-class chocolate right here in Cincinnati.  After transforming our kitchen into a chocolate factory, we invited our friends over for a number of chocolate tastings. Everyone was impressed and the demand for our chocolate grew.  Now we are the proud owners of Maverick Chocolate Company. Our shop at Findlay Market in Cincinnati, Ohio is a complete chocolate factory. Using only ethically sourced cacao beans, we hand craft our chocolate in small batches from bean to the finished bar. Customers are encouraged to watch and smell the chocolate being made and to taste the final products.”