Big Island Chocolate Festival

April 28-29, 2017

With the theme, “Worth Its Weight in Gold: The History of Chocolate,” the sixth annual Big Island Chocolate Festival is April 28-29 with events headquartered from the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. Indulge in the alluring, rich taste of chocolate—in both its sweet and savory forms—while participating in delicious, fun and informative chocolate-themed activities. 

The “must-attend” festival gala—featuring food booths, unlimited wine and beer pours, silent auction, dancing and more—is 5-9 p.m. Saturday, April 29. Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds annually benefit a variety of local non-profits yet to be selected for 2017. 

“Chocolate has an amazing history and it will be fun to share it at this year’s Big Island Chocolate Festival,” says KCA President Farsheed Bonakdar. 

The two-day chocolate extravaganza includes a cacao plantation tour at Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, a college culinary competition and several public foodie and agriculture-themed seminars. Activities culminate 5-9 p.m. Saturday, April 29 with the indoor-outdoor festival gala—enjoy a host of sweet and savory culinary stations presented by top isle chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners. Fun chocolate activities include a live chocolate sculpture and chocolate body painting.   

Culinary participants will depict this year’s historical theme at their booths and be judged on originality. Chocolate hails from Meso-America where cacao beans were brewed to make a drink or fermented into an alcoholic beverage. Highly valued, the bean was used as currency. The Mayans and Aztecs believed cacao was divine, including it in rituals. Once fashioned into a bar, chocolate became valued in America and during wartime was included in soldiers’ rations and went to the moon with the Apollo astronauts. 

Culinary stations will also be vying for awards in a variety of categories judged by a panel of celebrity chefs: “best” bonbon, savory, bean-to-bar, plated dessert and Hawaiian cacao. Attendees can get in on the friendly voting by casting a ballot for two People’s Choice Awards: Best Savory and Best Sweet. 

General admission tickets to the gala are $79 presale and $100 at the door.   

Find ticket info at www.BigIslandChocolateFestival.com. Special room/ticket packages for two start at $375 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and can be conveniently booked at http://www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com/buy-tickets/ and through the Festival website under “Tickets.” 

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. @BIChocoFest

Photo by Kirk Shorte

Additional Dates:

  • Apr 2017: 28, 29

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