With the theme, “Lavalicious – A Chocolate Salute to the 100th Birthday of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park,” the fifth annual Big Island Chocolate Festival is May 13-14 with events headquartered from the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. Indulge in the alluring, rich taste of chocolate—in both its sweet and savory forms—while participating in a host of delicious, fun and informative chocolate-themed activities.
The two-day chocolate extravaganza includes a cacao plantation tour at Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, a college culinary competition and several public foodie and agriculture-themed seminars. Activities culminate 5:30-9 p.m. Saturday, May 14 with the indoor-outdoor festival gala—enjoy a host of sweet and savory culinary stations presented by top isle chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners.
General admission tickets to the gala are $75 and VIP tickets are $100 and include early event access at 5 p.m., table seating and specialty wines.
This year’s event celebrates the 100th birthday of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and culinary booths will be judged on how they best depict the event theme that could include Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, Hawaiian culture and the park’s native plants and animals. Biology, geology and culture define the 333,086-acre national park, which was established August 1, 1916.
Culinary stations will also be vying for awards in a variety of categories judged by a panel of celebrity chefs: “best” bonbon, savory, bean-to-bar, plated dessert and Hawaiian cacao. Attendees can get in on the friendly voting by casting a ballot for two People’s Choice Awards: Best Savory and Best Sweet.
Festivities will include fine wines and handcrafted ales, chocolate sculptures—including one of the largest volcanoes ever created using fine chocolate, chocolate body painting, live entertainment, dancing and a silent auction.
Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assn./University of Hawai‘i endowment fund for the culinary program at Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and programs at Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.
“We are happy to commemorate the centennial of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park at the Big Island Chocolate Festival,” says KCA President Farsheed Bonakdar. “We look forward to the new booth decorating contest and how our theme will inspire participants.”
Find ticket info at www.BigIslandChocolateFestival.com. Special room/ticket packages for two start at $396.20 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and can be conveniently booked through the Festival website under “Tickets.” Special room rates can be reserved directly at the hotel at www.HapunaBeachPrinceHotel.com/events or calling 1-888-977-4622 and mentioning “Big Island Chocolate Festival Group Rate.”
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. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.
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