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Chocolate Worth Gold at Big Island Chocolate Festival Gala

It’s a destination for delicious at the sixth annual Big Island Chocolate Festival gala 5-9 p.m. Sat., April 29 at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. Indulge in both savory and sweet temptations prepared by top chefs and chocolatiers, plus unlimited wine and beer pours, in the spacious ballroom and twinkle-lit courtyard.

More chocolatey fun includes a tasty mole and salad bar, plus chocolate body painting and a chocolate sculpture display. Magic Strings, with versatile violinist Ursula Vietze, will serenade attendees and Kona Dance and Performing Arts stages classic tap dance, jazz and musical theatre during “Le Chocolat.” Dj EzE will spin tunes for your dancing pleasure while a silent auction will offer a variety of local activities and dining options.

This year’s event theme is “Worth Its Weight in Gold: The History of Chocolate” and culinary stations will be judged on their depiction of the theme, plus a host of “best” culinary categories: savory, plated dessert, bonbon, bean-to-bar, Hawaiian cacao and People’s Choice for Best Savory and Best Sweet.

In addition to the Hapuna Beach Hotel, culinary participants to date include Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Cafe Pesto, Fish Hopper, Madre Chocolate, The Fairmont Orchid, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Hilo Sharks Chocolate, Hilton Waikoloa Village, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Sweet Eats, Guittard Chocolate Company, Prova, Valhrona USA, Huggo’s and Huggo’s on the Rocks, Padovani’s Chocolates, West Hawai’i Community College-Palamanui, Big Isle culinary high school students and the Cocoa Outlet with its signature, four-foot-tall chocolate fountain.

Numerous, off-island culinary professionals will judge the gala’s delicious offerings. Celebrity chefs coming from the Mainland are Alicia Boada of Cacao Barry, one of few individuals accredited as an executive pastry chef, culinary administrator and culinary educator by the American Culinary Federation; Stéphane Tréand, MOF of The Pastry School; author Paul Picton, owner of Maverick Chocolate; and Donald Wressell, executive pastry chef of Guittard Chocolate Company. Judges from Maui include chefs Elizabeth McDonald of B3 A Beach Bunny Bakery; Ricky DeBoer of The Fairmont, Kea Lani; and Yoshikazu Kizu of Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, while Michael Moorhouse is coming from Waikiki’s Kahala Hotel & Resort. Prizes will be awarded at the gala, plus winners will be announced for the event’s Friday college culinary competition.

General admission tickets to the gala are $79 presale, $100 at the door. Also available is the Saturday I LOVE Chocolate! all-day pass for three daytime culinary demos and the evening gala priced at $135.

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.

Find ticket info, plus details on the event’s April 28-29 agricultural activities and culinary demonstrations, at www.BigIslandChocolateFestival.com. The Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel offers festival room rates, phone 888-977-4623 and ask for BICF rate. 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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