Gov. Neil Abercrombie has declared Saturday, May 3, as Big Island Chocolate Festival Day. The proclamation not only heralds Hawaii’s growing cacao industry, but also the culinarians who masterfully create foods featuring chocolate.
The three-day festival offers a full lineup of chocolate decadence from planting to plating: a Kona cacao farm tour, plus seminars, how-to culinary demonstrations, guided chocolate tastings and an indulging festival gala at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii. All activities are open to the public.
Star power celebrity chocolatiers include “Mr. Chocolate” Jacques Torres of New York City, Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard chocolate, Chef Vincent Bourdin of Valrhona Chocolate and cacao consultant Ed Seguine.
The 6-to-10 p.m. Saturday gala features the Big Isle’s own celebrated contingent of culinarians for a chocolate-inspired feast of savory and sweet treats. Returning favorites include the savory mole bar staffed by West Hawaii culinary students, a towering chocolate fountain complete with fresh fruits and macaroons, plus an array of gaily decorated bonbons.
Gala fun showcases a chocolate sculpture using 40 pounds of chocolate, chocolate body painting, fine wines, chocolate-infused beer and the debut of a tasty new Bacardi Mango Fusion cocktail. Attendees can vote for the People’s Choice Award, dance the night away with Girls Nite Out! band and bid for activities and merchandise at a silent auction.
Festival beneficiaries are the $150,000 “Equip the Kitchen” campaign for the future Hawaii Community College-Palamanui and the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School. The third annual event is presented by the Kona Cacao Association Inc.
For tickets, visit www.BigIslandChocolateFestival.com.