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World-Class Pastry Chefs, Cacao Experts Lead Seminars at Big Island Chocolate Festival

Get the insider scoop on growing cacao—the bean needed to make chocolate—and find out why it must be fermented properly. See how to make chocolate dessert sensations—and taste them—by the nation’s leading pastry chefs.

Chocolate Covered Bacon on a stick

All these compelling educational offerings are part of the sixth annual Big Island Chocolate Festival April 28-29. The fun demonstrations and informative seminars lead up to the festival gala 5 p.m. April 29 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assn., Kona Dance & Performing Arts, Kona Pacific Public Charter School and Waimea Country School’s Na Keiki Aloha ‘Aina.

Here’s a quick rundown of hands-on fun that can be booked at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com:

With the exception of the cacao farm tour, all activities are at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel.

Friday April 28

  • 11 a.m.-noon: Guided Plantation Tour at Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory in Keauhou. Visit the nation’s first tree-to-bar chocolate operation to see cacao growing on trees and how it’s processed into chocolate. Enjoy samples and visit the Chocolate Shoppe. Admission to the farm tour is $25.

Friday April 28-Cacao Farming Seminars, $40 for all

  • 11 a.m.-noon: “Cacao Survey Results” and an update on the “CTAHR’s Cacao Variety Development Project,” is presented by Dr. H.C. Skip Bittenbender of UH’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. An extension specialist for coffee, kava and cacao, Bittenbender has conducted field research to provide prospective growers with quality stock in an effort to bring Hawai‘i cacao to the marketplace.
  • 12:15 p.m.- 1:15 p.m.: “Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Production” by author Paul Picton. A native of Canada, Picton is president/co-owner of Maverick Chocolate, a family operated, bean-to-bar chocolate company that opened 2014 in Ohio.
  • 1:30-2:30 p.m.: “The Art and Craft of Cacao Fermentation” by Dr. Nat Bletter of O‘ahu’s Madre Chocolate. Find out why fermenting is the most important step for determining flavor in tree-to-bar chocolate making.

Saturday, April 29-Chocolate Culinary Demonstrations, $35 each or $75 for all

  • 9:30-11 a.m. Demonstration with Tasting: “Small Chocolate Bites,” by Donald Wressell, executive pastry chef at Guittard Chocolate Company. Known for his spectacular, chocolate sculptures at past BICFs, Wressell will show three-to-four different types of mini desserts like chocolate marshmallows, chocolate financier and others.
  • 11:15-12:45 p.m. Demonstration: “Chocolate Crystallization & Tempering” by Alicia Boada, who is coming on behalf of Cacao Barry.

    Chef Alicia Boada

    She is the West Coast Technical Advisor for Barry Callebaut Chocolate, whose brands include Cacao Barry, Callebaut and Mona Lisa. Boada is a highly credentialed culinarian, being certified as an executive pastry chef, culinary educator and culinary administrator by the American Culinary Federation. As a corporate pastry chef and chocolatier, Boada offers worldwide training while keeping on the edge of what’s happening in the contemporary pastry and chocolate world. She also serves as president of Women Chefs & Restaurants.

  • 1-2:30 p.m. Demonstration: “Creating a Artistic Chocolate Showpiece.”

    Chef Stephane Treand MOF

    Stéphane Tréand MOF of The Pastry School offers tips on how to add artistic flair to your chocolate creations. Tréand’s prestigious Pastry School in California instructs students of all abilities in the pastry and baking arts.

Also available is the Saturday I LOVE Chocolate! all-day pass for culinary demos and gala priced at $135.

Chocolate decadence culminates 5-9 p.m. April 29 with the festival gala at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. Taste sweet and savory creations by chefs, chocolatiers, confectioners and beverage purveyors, plus vote for the People’s Choice Awards. Also on tap will be unlimited pours of fine wines and handcrafted ales, chocolate body painting, entertainment and a silent auction.

Find ticket info at www.BigIslandChocolateFestival.com. Special room/ticket packages for two start at $385 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.” Island Air offers festival attendees a 10 percent discount for travel April 24-May 3, 2017: Code BICF10 and travel must be booked by April 29. Terms and conditions may apply.

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.

Mahalo to 2017 event sponsors:

Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, Guittard Chocolate Company, Prova, Valrohna USA, Cacao Barry, Barry Callebaut, ChoiceMART, Kona Auto Center, Dolphin Journeys, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, Amoretti, Cocoa Outlet, Kona Brewing Company, Young’s Market, Waialua Estate Coffee & Chocolate, XPress Reprographics, The Spoon Shop, Island Asphalt Maintenance, DHX, Island Air, Republica Del Cacao and The Wave@92FM.  www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com. @BIChocoFest

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