The organizers of the Big Island Chocolate Festival are looking for culinary participants to share sweet and savory tastes at the event’s gala on Saturday, May 3 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i from 5:30-8:30 pm. Last year’s event sold out and 500-plus attendees are expected this year.
Participating Big Island chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners can also enter the free culinary competition, vying in a variety of judged categories, plus people’s choice. “Mr. Chocolate” Jacques Torrres, Food Network celebrity from New York City, will lead the team of celebrity judges. Other celebrity chocolatiers participating in the festival include Vincent Bourdin of Valrhona Chocolates Asia-Pacific and Donald Wressell of Guittard.
The two-day chocolate decadence opens Friday, May 2 with farm/factory tours at the Kona Soap Company in Keauhou and a culinary competition between students from Hawai’i, Maui and O’ahu. Public culinary and agriculture-themed, hands-on seminars and demonstrations are Saturday at The Fairmont Orchid. Fun culminates 6-10 p.m. May 3 with the festival gala in the Fairmont’s Grand Ballroom.
Also on tap will be fine wines and handcrafted ales, chocolate sculptures, live entertainment, dancing and a silent auction. Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the $150,000 “Equip the Kitchens” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and efforts to build a community amphitheatre at the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.
Pre-sale tickets are $75 and will be $100 at the door. New this year is the VIP Fast Wine Pass with early event admission and personalized wine service. Buy tickets and find event details online at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com. Questions? Phone 808-324-6100.
Also available is an inclusive Chocolate Lovers package that includes a two-night’s stay at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, plus all festival activities at the ocean-side Four Diamond resort; contact info@BigIslandChocolateFestival.com. Attendees who want to stay at the resort during the festival can get a discounted room rate of $269 per night including daily breakfast for two and can book direct with the hotel at 808-885-2000 or 800-845-9905 and mention “Big Island Chocolate Festival.”
The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.