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Big Island Chocolate Festival Opens Thursday

Posted April 30, 2014, 11:48 AM HST Updated June 4, 2014, 12:07 PM HST
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Big Island cacao pods, from which come chocolate, will be part of the farm tour Thursday at the 3rd annual Big Island Chocolate Festival. Photo by Hunter Bishop.

Hawai’i’s growing cacao industry and the chefs who create foods featuring chocolate will be celebrated at the three-day Big Island Chocolate Festival opening Thursday at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i.

Even Hawai‘i Gov. Neil Abercrombie has joined in, declaring Saturday, May 3, as Big Island Chocolate Festival Day, said a festival release.

The festival’s lineup of activities includes a Kona cacao farm tour, seminars, how-to culinary demonstrations, guided chocolate tastings and a festival gala, all open to the public.

Celebrity chocolatiers attending 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 6-10 p.m. Saturday gala features the Big Isle’s own contingent of chocolatiers for a feast including a bar featuring mole sauces staffed by West Hawai‘i culinary students, a towering chocolate fountain complete with fresh fruits and macaroons, and an array of decorated bonbons.

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The fun includes chocolate body-painting, fine wines, chocolate-infused beer and the debut of a new Bacardi Mango Fusion cocktail. Vote for the People’s Choice Award, dance to live music and bid for activities and merchandise at a silent auction.

Proceeds benefit the $150,000 “Equip the Kitchen” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School.

This third annual event is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. For tickets and more info, visit www.BigIslandChocolateFestival.com.

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