Beneficiaries Receive $18K From Big Island Chocolate Festival

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Big Island Chocolate Festival beneficiary ceremony, 2019: (L–R) Patti Kimball and Chef Fernand Guiot of culinary arts programs at Hawai‘i Island high schools and UH-Palamanui; Dana Mattos and Jeff Branham of Kona Dance and Performing Arts; Ali Shedden, Meg Sunshine Roberts and Celia Hale of Hawaii Institute of Pacific Agriculture; Amy Salling of Waimea Country School, Karen Sheff of Kealakehe High School and Kona Cacao Association President Farsheed Bonakdar holds the check for absent UH Maui Collegeʻs culinary arts program. Courtesy photo

Proceeds totaling $18,000 from the 2019 Big Island Chocolate Festival (BICF) were awarded to multiple educational organizations at the event’s recent volunteer appreciation celebration at Island Lava Java, according to a June 10, 2019, press release.

Beneficiaries include the culinary programs at Hawai‘i Community College Palamanui, Kealakehe High School, four Hawai‘i Island high schools and Maui Community College, plus Hawaii Institute of Pacific Agriculture, Waimea Country School and Kona Dance & Performing Arts.

Beneficiaries will use their funds for a variety of projects to benefit students: pastry class scholarships, the Healthy Eating Living Pono project, participation in culinary competitions, enhancing a school gardening program, increasing agriculture and nutrition experiences, plus expansion of dance performance space.


Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), the BICF is an annual, two-day event offering agricultural and culinary learning experiences and competitions, plus a gala celebration of chocolate.

The mission of KCA is to promote the local cacao industry by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. KCA membership is open to anyone wanting to help create a recognizable brand for Hawai‘i Island chocolate.

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Event sponsors included: Cacao Berry, Callebaut, The Coconut Wireless Weekly, Cocoa Outlet & The Chocolate Guy Hawaii, DHX, Guittard Chocolate Company, Hawaii Coffee Connection, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, Kona Business Center, Kona Brewing Company, Mehana Brewing Company, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Primavera Farm, Purely Artisan Foods, Restaurantware, Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits, Tattoo Tequila, Valhrona Chocolate, Waialua Estate Coffee & Chocolate, The Wave@92FM and Westin Hapuna Beach Resort.

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