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Fun Seminars Announced for the Big Island Chocolate Festival

Taste the nuances of a variety of gourmet chocolates with one of the foremost chocolate experts in the world: Ed Seguine, a 45-year cacao veteran and consultant. Talk story with Food Network Star and New York City celeb Jacques Torres while savoring his delectable bonbons. Learn how to make a chocolate dessert sensation by Valrhona Pastry Chef Vincent Bourdin. Get the insider scoop on growing cacao—the bean needed to make chocolate.

Chef Jacques Torres

Chef Jacques Torres

All this and more— plus a festive evening gala are on tap May 1-3 for the Big Island Chocolate Festival. Tickets and details for all are available at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

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.

Here’s a quick rundown of activities:

Thursday, May 1

• 9-11 a.m.: On-site cacao farm and soap factory tour by Gary Colden to see how cacao is grown and used for chocolate. Kona Natural Soap Company uses the by-products of cacao to make soaps, $25.

All other activities at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i:

Friday, May 2

• 2:30-3:15 p.m. Ed Seguine of Seguine Cacao, Cocoa & Chocolate Advisors presents “Selecting Cacao Cultivar for Flavor.” Learn the segregation of agronomic and flavor traits in seed-grown cacao. Examples of breeding for flavor will be shown and tasting evaluated, plus techniques for small-scale micro-fermentation, $50.

• 3:30-4:30 p.m. “Mr. Chocolate” Jacques Torres offers an intimate talk story about the chocolate industry while sharing his award-winning chocolate bonbons brought in from New York City, $50.

Saturday, May 3

• 10-11 a.m. Ed Seguine of Seguine Cacao, Cocoa & Chocolate Advisors presents “How to Taste Chocolate” with a guided tasting of chocolate from Guittard, Valrhona and Waialua Estates, $30.

•11:15-12:15 p.m. Greg Colden of Kona Natural Soap Factory presents “Cacao as a Value Added Product for Business,” sharing non-chocolate uses for cacao, $30.

*12:30-1:30 p.m. President of the Asia Pacific Pastry Cup Board and Valrhona Chef Vincent Bourdin from Singapore shows how to make a standout chocolate dessert, $30.

Hands-on Culinary seminar at last year’s Big Island Chocolate Festival

Hands-on Culinary seminar at last year’s Big Island Chocolate Festival

Chocolate decadence culminates 6-10 p.m. May 3 with the festival gala in the Fairmont’s Grand Ballroom. Taste sweet and savory creations by chefs, chocolatiers, confectioners and beverage purveyors, plus vote for the People’s Choice Award. Also on tap will be fine wines and handcrafted ales, chocolate sculptures, chocolate body painting, music by Yisa Var and the Girls Nite Out band and friends, dancing and a silent auction.

Culinarians interested in participating can signup at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

Pre-sale gala 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. 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, DHX, Gourmet Foods Hawaii, Johnson Brothers of Hawaii, Ke Ola magazine, Kona Brewing Company, Kona Natural Soap Company, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory and West Hawaii Today.

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.

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