Beneficiaries named for chocolate gala

KOHALA COAST — With the theme, “Black &White,” the eighth annual Big Island Chocolate Festival is April 26-27, with events headquartered at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort.

The festival gala — featuring food booths, unlimited wine and beer pours, silent auction, dancing, chocolate body painting, chocolate fountain and more — is 5-9 p.m. April 27.


Culinary booths will be judged on their depiction of the 2019 theme.

Attendees are encouraged to dress up in swanky black and white attire — tuxes, plus gold and silver bling, are encouraged. Gray is a mix of both colors and works for themed attire, too.

Likewise, all the flavors of chocolate will tempt partygoers in their dark, milk and white forms.

“This year’s Black &White theme brings a sophisticated and luxurious element to the festival,” says Kona Cacao Association President Farsheed Bonakdar. “The monochromatic colors will complement the decadent chocolate cuisine.”

Presented by the cacao association, festival proceeds annually benefit a variety of local nonprofits.

Last year’s festival awarded $27,000 to five community educational organizations. The 2019 beneficiaries include the culinary programs at Hawaii Community College Palamanui, Kealakehe High School, Hawaii Island high schools and Maui Community College, plus Hawaii Institute of Pacific Agriculture, Waimea Country School, Kona Pacific Public Charter School’s West Hawaii Summer Lunch Program and Kona Dance &Performing Arts.

More than 600 guests attended the two-day festival in 2018, and 2019 is expected to be another sellout affair. A limited amount of VIP ($129) gala tickets are on sale now; general admission is $89.


The mission and goal of Kona Cacao Association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island by presenting the chocolate festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts.

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