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.