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Second annual celebration set for March 23

It’s where you can feast on rich, creamy chocolate to your heart’s content! Satisfy all your chocolate cravings — and more — at the second annual Big Island Chocolate Festival March 23 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii.

The highlight of the decidedly decadent festival is the colorful and tasty 5:30-10 p.m. gala with tempting sweet and savory chocolate creations prepared by top island chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners.

Savor a friendly culinary competition where you can vote for People’s Choice in a host of categories including mouth-watering bonbons.

Also enjoy live entertainment by LT Smooth; dancing; fine wines and hand-crafted ales; plus a silent auction.

“We are delighted to be the host hotel for the second annual Big Island Chocolate Festival,” said Executive Chef Hubert Des Marais. “To be a part of such a wonderful event in partnership with the Kona Cacao Association is an honor and a privilege, not to mention the delicious culinary creations from Hawaii Island’s best chefs.”

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association Inc., BICF benefits the $1 million “Equip the Kitchens” campaign for the future Hawaii Community College-Palamanui and efforts to build a community amphitheatre at the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Other chocolatey fun includes daytime cacao farm tours and compelling educational demonstrations by chocolatiers and cacao farmers.

Learn about what it takes to grow the bean that makes chocolate — and why Hawai‘i is the only state that commercially grows cacao — plus how to turn cacao, or cocoa, into the coveted “food of the gods.”

A veritable Who’s Who in the world of chocolate — both locally and nationally — has been invited to serve as celebrity culinary judges and educational presenters. Last year’s inaugural event headlined “Mr. Chocolate” Jacques Torres of New York City as a celebrity judge.

Ticket sales for Hawaii’s premier chocolate event start Jan. 1 and early-bird gala tickets are $60 until 100 are sold. After that, presale tickets are $75, then $85 at the door.

Tickets will also be available at Kona Wine Market and Kona Pacific Public Charter School. For event details and online tickets, visit A special event rate of $309/night for Garden View accommodations including daily breakfast for two is offered at The Fairmont Orchid. Contact reservations for details at 885-2000 or 845-9905 and mention “Big Island Chocolate Festival.”

The mission of the Kona Cacao Association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. For information, visit


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