Hawai‘i Governor Neil Abercrombie has declared Saturday, May 3 as Big Island Chocolate Festival Day! The proclamation not only heralds Hawai’i’s growing cacao industry, but also the culinarians who masterfully create foods featuring chocolate.
The three-day festival offers a full lineup of chocolate decadence from planting to plating: a Kona cacao farm tour, plus seminars, how-to culinary demonstrations, guided chocolate tastings—yum!— and an indulging festival gala at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i. All activities are open to the public.
Star power celebrity chocolatiers include “Mr. Chocolate” Jacques Torres of New York City, Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard chocolate, Chef Vincent Bourdin of Valrhona Chocolate and cacao consultant Ed Seguine.
The 6-10 p.m. Saturday gala features the Big Isle’s own celebrated contingent of culinarians for a chocolate-inspired feast of savory and sweet treats. Returning favorites include the savory mole bar staffed by West Hawai‘i culinary students, a towering chocolate fountain complete with fresh fruits and macaroons, plus an array of gaily decorated bonbons.
Gala fun showcases a chocolate sculpture using 40 pounds of chocolate, chocolate body painting, fine wines, chocolate-infused beer and the debut of a tasty new Bacardi Mango Fusion cocktail. Attendees can vote for the People’s Choice Award, dance the night away with Girls Nite Out! band and bid for activities and merchandise at a silent auction.
Festival beneficiaries are the $150,000 “Equip the Kitchen” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School. The third annual event is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc.
For tickets, visit www.BigIslandChocolateFestival.com. For accommodations, book with the hotel at 808-885-2000 and mention “Big Island Chocolate Festival.”
The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. Mahalo to sponsors and community supporters: The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, Guittard, DeZaan, Valrohna, PreGel, The Wave-92.1, Big Island Honda and Tire Center, Bacardi, Dolphin Journeys, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, Cocoa Outlet, Callebaut Chocolate, Cacao Cusina, West Hawaii Today, HX, Gourmet Foods Hawaii, Johnson Brothers of Hawaii, Ke Ola magazine, Kona Brewing Company, Kona Natural Soap Company, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Adaptations and the Spoon Shop.
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.