Show 570, March 23, 2024: Big Island Chocolate Festival, Hawaii with Farsheed Bonakdar Part One

Farsheed Bonakdar of Cocoa Outlet and Andy Harris

“Indulge in a world of tempting sweetness at the 11th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival (BICF) in Hawaii presented by the Kona Cacao Association, taking place on April 26-27, 2024, at the beautiful beach-front Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on the Big Island of Hawaii.”

“The BICF promises unforgettable experience filled with chocolate cooking demonstrations, cacao growing presentations, and the most festive gala of all galas! This year the theme is ‘Mystical Chocolate Masquerade’ and guests are encouraged to dress up, wear masks and get creative to win tickets to 2025 event. Picture a venue adorned with rich colors, luxurious velvet, and opulent gold accents, creating the perfect backdrop for an evening of sweet enchantment.”

“The Festival encores their beloved gala setup with even more tantalizing food booths outside and inside this stunning venue. The 2024 Gala evening event, on Saturday, April 27, 2024, promises unlimited tastings at 15 to 18 chef created food stations featuring delectable sweet and savory offerings, along with unlimited beer and wine pours from the Festival’s generous sponsors. Awards are given to the participating chefs as judged in various categories so this is a friendly, but highly competitive, competition!”

“Enjoy the rhythmic beats of a lively DJ or live music, explore a fabulous silent auction, and immerse yourself in all-around extravagant chocolate-themed fun. Don’t miss the chance to make your life even decadently sweeter by joining The 11th Big Island Chocolate Festival at the most savored Hawaii-based event of the year!”

“The mission at the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. (the Presenters of The Big Island Chocolate Festival) is to cultivate the Big Island’s cacao industry, making the festival an educational beacon for cacao farmers, the hospitality sector, and chocolate enthusiasts alike.”

Farsheed Bonakdar, President of the organizing Kona Cacao Association joins us with a ripe cacao pod in hand.

Show 570, March 23, 2024: Big Island Chocolate Festival, Hawaii with Farsheed Bonakdar Part Two

Farsheed Bonakdar of the Kona Cacao Association

“Indulge in a world of tempting sweetness at the 11th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival (BICF) in Hawaii presented by the Kona Cacao Association, taking place on April 26-27, 2024, at the beautiful beach-front Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on the Big Island of Hawaii.”

“The BICF promises unforgettable experience filled with chocolate cooking demonstrations, cacao growing presentations, and the most festive gala of all galas! This year the theme is ‘Mystical Chocolate Masquerade’ and guests are encouraged to dress up, wear masks and get creative to win tickets to 2025 event. Picture a venue adorned with rich colors, luxurious velvet, and opulent gold accents, creating the perfect backdrop for an evening of sweet enchantment.”

“The Festival encores their beloved gala setup with even more tantalizing food booths outside and inside this stunning venue. The 2024 Gala evening event, on Saturday, April 27, 2024, promises unlimited tastings at 15 to 18 chef created food stations featuring delectable sweet and savory offerings, along with unlimited beer and wine pours from the Festival’s generous sponsors. Awards are given to the participating chefs as judged in various categories so this is a friendly, but highly competitive, competition!”

“Enjoy the rhythmic beats of a lively DJ or live music, explore a fabulous silent auction, and immerse yourself in all-around extravagant chocolate-themed fun. Don’t miss the chance to make your life even decadently sweeter by joining The 11th Big Island Chocolate Festival at the most savored Hawaii-based event of the year!”

“The mission at the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. (the Presenters of The Big Island Chocolate Festival) is to cultivate the Big Island’s cacao industry, making the festival an educational beacon for cacao farmers, the hospitality sector, and chocolate enthusiasts alike.”

Farsheed Bonakdar, President of the organizing Kona Cacao Association continues with a ripe cacao pod in hand.

Show 524, May 6, 2023: Honoka’a Chocolate Co., Hawaii, with Founder Mike Pollard

Mike Pollard of the Honokoa Chocolate Company

Mike and Rhonda Pollard’s Honoka’a Chocolate Co. is located on the Hamakua coast of the Big Island of Hawai’i at Kahi Ola Mau Farm. Their farm has a rich history in Hamakua district town of Honoka’a. Located mauka (towards Mauna Kea) from Honoka’a in an area known as Ahualoa, the 5 acres the Pollards call home was first purchased by the sugar plantation doctor sometime in the 1920s. They are the fourth resident and keeper of this beautiful property and have transformed it into a working farm.” Two and one-half acres are planted in cacao.

“Starting in January 2018, Honoka’a Chocolate Co. began offering farm tours and tastings of their artisan chocolates that are made right there on the farm. In February of this year most of the production shifted to their new state of the art production facility and retail store on Mamane Street in the heart of Historic Honokaa Town. Honoka’a Chocolate Co has received a total of 29 international awards for their premium chocolates over the last two years.”

“Their current tastings on the farm include five of their signature products, including chocolates from Hawaii as well as other regions from around the world.  Guests will experience how a particular region’s climate, soils and terrain affect the taste of the chocolate, “the terroir” as winemakers have so famously coined the term. The state of Hawai’i is the only place in the US where cacao grows fruitfully, some calling it the “North Pole” of the cacao growing region.” The farm tour at Kahi Ola Mau Farm concludes with a visit to their nearby, new production facility located on the main street of historic Honokaa Town.

Mike Pollard is our guide to some of the best chocolate in the World.

Show 523, April 29, 2023: Farsheed Bonakdar, Founder, Kona Cacao Association – Producer of the Big Island Chocolate Festival

Farsheed Bonakdar of the Kona Cacao Association

Kona Cacao Association is the creator of The Big Island Chocolate Festival. “The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Island of Hawai‘i by presenting the Big Island Chocolate Festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts.”

“This year’s beneficiaries of The Big Island Chocolate Festival include Hawaii college culinary programs, Hawaii Institute of Pacific Agriculture, Kona Dance & Performing Arts and Keahole Center for Sustainability.”

“In-person activities at The Chocolate Festival include culinary demonstrations for the home cook, cacao growing and processing seminars by industry experts, a new VIP-PLUS pre-gala Sunset & Pupu Pairing and a festive evening gala with culinary booths serving sweet and savory chocolate creations, chocolate fountain, entertainment, dancing, a silent auction and some surprises! Guests can enjoy unlimited wine, beer and a custom spritzer by Ola Brew, iced tea and coffee.”

The Founder of the Kona Cacao AssociationFarsheed Bonakdar, is our guest.

Show 516, March 11, 2023: Big Island Chocolate Festival Preview with Stephanie Beeby, Event Chair

Stephanie Beeby of the Big Island Chocolate Festival

“The delicious flavors and aromas of chocolate will “Indulge the Senses” at the Big Island Chocolate Festival April 28-29 at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. The “Indulge the Senses with Chocolate” theme marks the festival’s 10th anniversary.”

“In-person activities include culinary demonstrations for the home cook, cacao growing and processing seminars by industry experts, a new VIP-PLUS pre-gala Sunset & Pupu Pairing and a festive evening gala with culinary booths, chocolate fountain, entertainment, dancing, a silent auction and some surprises! Guests can enjoy unlimited wine, beer and a custom spritzer by Ola Brew, iced tea and coffee.”

“We are returning to our original gala format with chefs staffing sweet and savory culinary booths,” says Stephanie Beeby, event chairperson. “This year we are debuting a VIP-PLUS package (very limited availability) with entry Saturday night to both a Sunset & Pupu Pairing plus VIP gala section with table seating and exclusive wine and beer bar.”

In its 10th year, the celebration of chocolate is presented by the non-profit Kona Cacao Association (KCA).

A general admission gala ticket is $99 while a VIP-PLUS ticket is $189. Also available are specially priced event room packages at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort. Educational activities and prices are detailed on the website. All event tickets are sold online and include additional tax and ticketing fees apply.

Event Chair Stephanie Beeby joins us with all the indulgent details.

Show 371, May 2, 2020: Tom Cross, Hotel Manager, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

Tom Cross of the Westin Hapuna Beach ResortThis is the Weekend we were scheduled to again be broadcasting live from the 9th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort on Hawaii Island’s Kohala Coast. It’s a celebration with local farmers of the base of premium chocolate, cacao, being able to be grown on select Islands of Hawaii, including The Big Island itself. Cacao is an important new cash crop for the economy of Hawaii. With the current health crisis still ongoing the Festival hopes to be rescheduled for August 14th & 15th if it’s safe to do so.

Tom Cross is the welcoming Hotel Manager at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort and joins us with the good news that the property will again be welcoming guests as the Hawaii Governor allows with all safety precautions in place for the visitors.

The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort completed an ambitious $50 million renovation last year. It’s part of the renown Mauna Kea Resort on the Island of Hawaii.

Show 223, May 13, 2017: Pam Cooper, Co-Founder, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Hawaii

Pam CooperThe Big Island of Hawaii’s first tree-to-bar chocolate producer is The Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory established in 1999. In Kailua-Kona they grow cacao on their own plantation, ferment it, dry and process the beans and then create premium, single origin chocolate of the highest quality in a multi-step process.

“Welcome to Kona on the Island of Hawaii, home of Original Hawaiian Chocolate – the only chocolate of its kind in the world!”

“Beginning in 1997 we have dedicated ourselves to creating the most delicious and unique of chocolates – 100% Hawaiian made and grown. There is something about our volcanic soil, Island showers and tropical Hawaiian sun that blesses the cacao trees with a unique flavor that is world renowned.”

“We are the first producers to grow and process 100% Hawaiian cacao chocolate anywhere on earth. We process only Big Island grown cocoa beans. Our processing factory is completely self-contained, assuring total quality control from the fields to the final chocolate bars.”

“We invite you to experience our exceptionally unique chocolate, grown, harvested, processed and packaged in Hawaii – America’s own. And remember, Chocolate is Aloha!

Plantation tours (highly recommended) are available Wednesday and Friday mornings. The on-site Chocolate Shoppe (with unique specialty items) hours are 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tuesday through Fridays. Most of their artisan, single origin chocolate products (Individual Bars, One Pound Bars, Large & Small Plumerias and Roasted Cacao Nibs) are also available via their Website and shipped FedEx.

Founder Pam Cooper joins us.

Show 64, March 8, 2014: Farsheed Bonakdar, President, Kona Cacao Association

BIg Island Chocolate FestivalThe alluring, rich taste of chocolate, in both its sweet and savory forms, is showcased at the 3rd Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival, May 2 to 3 at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii. Headlining the event is “Mr. Chocolate,” Jacques Torres, Food Network celebrity and acclaimed pastry chef from New York. Also appearing is Donald Wressell of Guittard and Derek Poirier of Valrhona USA.

“The Big Island Chocolate Festival is a fantasyland of chocolate.” Says Kona Cacao Association President Farsheed Bonakdar (Bone-ak-dar.) “It inspires our chefs, encourages our island farmers to grow cacao and shows our chocolatiers that chocolate can be a viable business.” Farsheed Bonakdar of KCA is our guest.

Hawaii is the only state in the USA where cacao grows.