Wednesday | June 29, 2016
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About Town | 03-19-13

Big Island Chocolate Festival is this week

The second Big Island Chocolate Festival will run from Thursday to Saturday with an array of activities, tastings and events scheduled at various venues in West Hawaii.

On Thursday, a prelude to the festival runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at The Shops at Mauna Lani where Guittard Pastry Chef Donald Wressell will pair chocolate with wines. The Shops at Mauna Lani restaurants will provide tasty pupu, wine tasting and live jazz.

On Friday, take part in farm and factory tours of the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory in Keauhou. The first tour is scheduled for 9 a.m. with another tour at 11 a.m., if needed.

Also Friday, seminars and demonstrations will be under way at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii’s Kilohana Room. From 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., Tom Sharkey will discuss creating a successful cacao farm. From 2 to 4 p.m., David Elliot, of Madre Chocolate, will discuss the making of chocolate from bean to bar. From 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Nat Bletter, of Madre Chocolate, will cover chocolate and whiskey pairing.

On Saturday, demonstrations continue at The Faimont Orchid Hawaii’s Kilohana Room. From 9 to 11 a.m., consultant and Chef Stanton Ho will discuss making an espresso pave, which includes sampling. From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., instructor and Chef David Brown will cover making hand-dipped tropical truffles.

Also Saturday in the Kilohana Room is a student competition. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., students with University of Hawaii colleges in Maui, West Hawaii and East Hawaii will vie in a plated chocolate dessert contest.

Later in the evening is the main event, which runs from 5:30 to 10 p.m. at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii. During the gala, 20 chefs and confectioners will serve sweet and savory chocolate creations that are judged by four invited chefs and the attendees. Hawaii Community College students will also offer a savory mole bar.

In addition, the event will feature Wressel carving a 40-pound tropical-themed chocolate statue; chocolate body painting; chocolate-infused wines, a silent auction, music and dancing by Bump City.

Off-island chefs Stanton Ho, David Brown, Rhonda Ashton-Chavez and Orly Yadao will critique culinary stations and choose the best in four categories: Savory, Sweet, Dessert, Bonbons, and Bean to Bar. Attendees vote for People’s Choice. At 8 p.m., awards will be presented.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association Inc., the Big Island Chocolate Festival benefits the $1 million “Equip the Kitchen” campaign for the future Hawaii Community College at Palamanui and efforts to build a community amphitheater at the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

For more information, visit

Cancer support group gathering Thursday

You’ll Never Walk Alone, an all-cancer support group, meets from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. March 21.

Cancer survivors and co-survivors are invited to attend the group’s free meetings held the first and third Thursdays of each month; light refreshments are served.

For more information and directions, call Michele Robinson at 333-5328.

Jabberybookys book club meets Thursday

The Jabberbookys Book Club will discuss several books with a common theme from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Island Naturals Kona. The theme for March is New York City: past and present. The books up for discussion are “The Age of Innocence,” by Edith Wharton, “The Thin Man,” by Dashiell Hammett and “Netherland,” by Joseph O’Neill.

Read one, two or all three; new members and guests are welcome to the free monthly gatherings.

For more information, contact book group facilitator Kathy Kirk at 895-4939 or