HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Prepare to indulge. The Big Island Chocolate Festival is happening April 26th and 27th. Farsheed Bonakdar is here to tell us more -- and he brought samples. He told us about all of the events happening later this month:
The Big Island Chocolate Festival is April 26-27. After opening with a tour at Kona's Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, the festival continues for two days at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort. Agricultural seminars on growing and processing cacao, a college culinary competition and a Tequila & Chocolate Pairing are Friday. Saturday begins with culinary demonstrations by off-island chefs on how to use chocolate. The Saturday night fundraising gala has the theme "Black and White." Everything is open to the public.
Over 25 chefs and chocolatiers tempt attendees with chocolate creations while vying for the best in a host of categories: savory, plated dessert, bon bon, bean-to-bar, Hawaiian cacao, People's Choice and decorated culinary booth. Activities include music and dancing, silent auction, wine and cocktails.
The BICF brings in experts from around the country to provide education and acquaint Mainland chocolate makers with Hawaiian cacao and chocolate. There are around 50 known Big Island farmers and the festival's goal is to continue to share tips on growing and processing so they each can be successful. We have been offering ag seminars every year and try to encourage growers to success. We teach best practices for fermenting cacao as properly processing and fermenting cacao is key to the flavor of chocolate.
We bring in off-island chefs to present three culinary demos for the public and food service personnel. These fun, interactive sessions show guests how to best use chocolate in innovative ways.
Our annual college culinary competition encourages our future chefs to experiment with chocolate and ultimately use more of it. This is our third year with high school culinary students participating in the gala by offering savory and sweet creations. This year, we have students coming from 5 high schools. The students are not only critiqued as part of the DOE's culinary standard-based assessments, but they also compete against each other for a People's Choice Award. The students get to interface with our guests and other chefs, just like the pros.
The creations of professional chefs and confectioners at our gala are judged as well by celebrity chefs and attendees through People's Choice Awards. And then we have the contest for the Best Cacao Bean, which helps raise the bar on cacao bean quality.
Tickets are still available