Wednesday | December 13, 2017
About Us | Contact | Subscribe

Let’s Talk Food: Big Island Chocolate Festival coming

The sixth annual Big Island Chocolate Festival is slated next weekend, April 28-29, at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. The festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, with the proceeds benefitting the American Culinary Federation’s Kona-Kohala Chefs Association, Kona Dance and Performing Arts, Kona Pacific Public Charter School and Waimea Country School’s La Keiki Aloha ‘Aina.

On 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.

• 11 a.m.–noon: “Cacao Survey Results,” is an update of the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Cacao Variety Development Project presented by CTAHR’s H.C. Skip Bittenbender. 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 Hawaii cacao to the marketplace.

• 12:15-1:15 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 in 2014 in Ohio.

• 1:30-2:30 p.m.: “The Art and Craft of Cacao Fermentation” by Nat Bletter of Oahu’s Madre Chocolate. Find out why fermenting is the most important step for determining flavor in tree-to-bar chocolate making.

On Saturday, April 29:

($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, Wressel will show three to four different types of mini desserts such as chocolate marshmallow, chocolate financier and others.

• 11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m.: Demonstration of “Chocolate Crystallization and Tempering” by Alicia Boada, who is coming on behalf of Cacao Barry. 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 of 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 of “Creating an Artistic Chocolate Showpiece” by Stephane Treand, MOF of The Pastry School.

She will offer tips on how to add artistic flair to your chocolate creations. Treand’s prestigious pastry school in California instructs students of all abilities in the pastry and baking arts.

Also available is the Saturday, April 29, “I LOVE Chocolate” all-day pass for culinary demonstrations and gala priced at $135.

Chocolate decadence culminates from 5-9 p.m. April 29 with the festival gala at 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.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.bigisland

Special room and ticket packages for two start at $385 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and can be conveniently booked at and through the festival website under “Tickets.”

Island Air is offering festival attendees a 10 percent discount for travel April 24-May 3: Code BICF10; travel must be booked by April 29.

Terms and conditions may apply.

Foodie bites

Located in front of Alii Ice Company at 21 Banyan Drive is Pandamonia’s Paleta Palace with more than 42 flavors of paleta, or ice pop. Recipes are created by owner Jon Bockrath, who also owns Alii Ice Company. The fruits come from his farm in Moutain View and he has had 98 percent success with the combinations he created. The failures include sashimi and char siu tofu.

Jon has fun with his flavors. During the holidays, he created Goblin Delight made from carrots that tasted like carrot cake; eggnog and cranberry paletas.

I tried the mango colada, Dean had the kabocha and Quentin had the sugar-free watermelon. All were delicious and interesting. Quentin would not share his watermelon ice pop and after eating the whole thing, asked for another. Other flavors included chili mango, Hawaiian orange, Okinawan purple sweet potato, lemon cream, reach-pineapple, jaboticaba-beet, avocado-pineapple. Banana-cherry, mocha coffee, lemon-lime-papaya, orange cream, acorn squash, strawberry cream, pineapple (also sugar-free), lychee cream, tangerine-lilikoi and mango cream, just to name a few.

At $1.50 per ice pop, it is a refreshing and pretty healthy snack.

We walked into the area Jon has been renovating for several years. He obtained the counters and fountain equipment from Elsie’s Fountain and completely restored them. Soon (no date set yet), he will be able to make old-fashioned fountain drinks with syrups and carbonated water.

Talk about a blast from the past!

Pandamonia’s Paleta Palace will be a new vendor at The Rotary Club of South Hilo’s Hilo Huli at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, May 7, at Coconut Island (Mokuola). Members Dean Barnhart, Justin Barrios, Larry Black, Peter Boucher, Arabel Camblor, Cindy Drummond, Emily Emmons, Tom English, John FitzGerald, Paul Feng, Rick Fuller, Kevin Fung, Gene Hennen, David Hurd, Brenda Ho, Charlene Iboshi, Tracy Kim, Randy Kurohara, Lisa Kwee, Rosemary Linden, Keith Marrack, Benson Medina and Jim Nakagawa would love to sell you tickets.

Hawaii Community College Culinary Program’s Bamboo Hale is serving the European standard menu and featuring the foods of Germany. Call for reservations at 934-2571 for 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Email Audrey Wilson at


Rules for posting comments