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3rd annual event boasts Mainland headliners

Kohala Coast, Hawai‘i Island
The alluring, rich taste of chocolate, in both its sweet and savory forms, is showcased at the third annual Big Island Chocolate Festival (BICF) May 2-3 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i. Headlining the event is “Mr. Chocolate” Jacques Torres, Food Network celebrity from New York City, plus Derek Poirier of Valrhona USA, Donald Wressell of Guittard and Stanton Ho for Amoretti.

Big Island Chocolate Festival

The two-day chocolate decadence opens with a student competition on Friday, followed by public culinary and agriculture-themed, hands-on seminars and demonstrations on Saturday. Fun culminates 6-10 p.m. May 3 with the festival gala in the Grand Ballroom—indulge at a host of sweet and savory culinary stations presented by top isle chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners.

Culinary stations will be vying for awards in a variety of categories judged by a panel of celebrity chefs led by Torres. Attendees can get in on the friendly voting by casting a ballot for the People’s Choice Award.

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.

“The Big Island Chocolate Festival is a fantasyland of chocolate,” says KCA President Farsheed Bonakdar. “It inspires our chefs, encourages our island farmers to grow cacao and shows our chocolatiers that chocolate can be a viable business.”

Early bird tickets for Hawai‘i’s premiere chocolate gala are $65 until sold out or through Feb. 28. 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 Questions? Phone 808-324-6400.

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 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.




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