Big Island Chocolate Festival Debuts at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Think BIG at the inaugural Big Island Chocolate Festival, Friday, June 8 at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. Executive Chef James Babian and Pastry Chef Linda Rodriguez of Four Seasons are leading a selection of hand-picked pastry chefs, confectioners and chocolatiers to offer an evening of chocolate decadence and savory bites.

Also on tap are celebrity chef demonstrations and an educational cacao presentation from 10 a.m-3 p.m. above the resort’s Pahu i’a oceanfront restaurant. Tours of cacao farms will be available that day in Keauhou to showcase how cacao is grown, processed and made into chocolate.

The evening gala will be held from 6 p.m-10 p.m.  Enjoy a silent auction, gourmet savory and sweet appetizers, Kona Brewery beer, sparkling wine, music by Cyril Pahanui and Salsa Latinos, plus dancing.

The gala includes a fun competition for Best Savory and Best Sweet culinary stations, which will be determined by a team of local and celebrity chefs. Attendees will vote for The People’s Choice Award. Culinarians wishing to participate can download entry guidelines and an application on the Big Island Chocolate Festival website after March 21 or contact Farsheed Bonakdar at 808-937-4736.

Attendance to the delectable gala is limited to 400 and ticket prices are $75 per person.

Tickets go on sale April 15 online through EventBrite, and are available at the Kona Public Pacific Charter School and Kona Wine Market.  Symposium tickets and chocolate tours are separate ticketed events from the gala and can be purchased at after April 15.

Another opportunity to enjoy even more gourmet chocolate is with the prix fixe chocolate-themed dinner prior to the gala that Chef Jim Babian will create at Pahu i‘a. More information about reservations for this specialty dinner can be found on the event website.

(I am one of the key organizers on this event this year, so I had a chance to work with the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai to make it happen – that’s me at the resort lagoon!) Kona Pacific Public Charter School and the “Equip the Kitchen” campaign, (Culinary Arts Program benefit of the soon-to-be-built Palamanui Community College) are both running the silent auction to benefit both organizations)

Big Island Chocolate Festival: The 2012 Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the newly formed Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of this association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawaii by presenting the BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts.

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Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Julie Ziemelis is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, blogger and vlogger in Kailua Kona. She created and moderates the “365 Things to Do in Kona” page and the Kona Newbies group on Facebook. She blogs at and and vlogs with her husband, Eric, at “365Hawaii” on YouTube. Julie also authored the books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”. You will most likely find Julie in Kona hiking, running, biking, taking photos and sharing Aloha.

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