Big Island Chocolate Festival supports local cacao industry with sweet events


The Big Island Chocolate Festival is a two-day event that celebrates Hawaiian cacao and chocolate.

“Cacao is Hawaii’s newest cash crop, and we do really well in Hawaii with the beans,” said Farsheed Bonakdar, who heads the festival and owns The Cocoa Outlet in Kona. “Two beans from Hawaii place in the top 18 in the world.”

The festival takes place April 27 and 28. It aims to educate the public about Hawaiian cacao and chocolate, and also support local farmers by sharing tips on growing, fermenting, and protecting crops from disease.

The festival opens with a tour of Kona’s Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, where guests can learn about the tree-to-bar process and sample dark, milk, and criollo handcrafted chocolate “plumerias.”

All other events will be held at Hapuna Beach Resort. Everything is open to the public.

Friday’s events include agricultural seminars on growing and processing cacao, and a tequila-and-chocolate pairing. Saturday’s events feature culinary demonstrations and end with a “Chocolate Around the World” fundraising gala.


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