Categorized | Featured, Food

Big Island Chocolate Festival 2015 announces winners

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Alexis Gaines | Special to Hawaii 24/7

Whoops, I just ate my spoon! That’s OK, it was made of chocolate.

The stunningly beautiful and delicious creation by The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii chefs was one of several dozen culinary entries from across the state at this year’s Big Island Chocolate Festival.

The decadent dessert, along cacao-inspired tacos and a monster chocolate fountain, were among the favorite dishes sampled by more than 700 people at the gala evening that capped the three-day event.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association, the Big Island Chocolate Festival heralds Hawaii’s growing cacao industry, and also the masterful culinarians who create all kinds of foods featuring chocolate.

The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawaii by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts alike.

Events included a full lineup of chocolate fun from planting to plating: a Kona cacao farm tour, growing and processing seminars and how­ to culinary demonstrations, which of course culminated in the beautiful gala and silent auction.

Professional winners of the BICF gala were from left: Hilton Waikoloa Village Chef Dayne Tanabe, Gini Choobua of Likao Kula Farm, Nat Bletter of Madre Chocolate, Fairmont Orchid Pastry Chef Daniel Sampson and Executive Fairmont Orchid Chef Hubert Des Marais. (Photo courtesy of Shortini Photography)

Professional winners of the BICF gala were from left: Hilton Waikoloa Village Chef Dayne Tanabe, Gini Choobua of Likao Kula Farm, Nat Bletter of Madre Chocolate, Fairmont Orchid Pastry Chef Daniel Sampson and Executive Fairmont Orchid Chef Hubert Des Marais. (Photo courtesy of Shortini Photography)

Overseen by Teresa Shurilla of UH­Maui College, a team of celebrity judges critiqued chocolatiers, chefs and students on texture, taste, appearance and creativity.

Heading the team of judges were celebrity chefs Stanton Ho, Donald Wressell, Valrhona Chocolate’s Derek Poirier and Sam Choy of Keauhou’s Kai Lanai restaurant. Other team judges included Elizabeth McDonald of Maui’s B3 A Beach Bunny Bakery, Ricky DeBoer of The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui, Steven Arakaki of Kukio Golf & Beach Club, Chris Speere of UH­Maui College and Daniel Sampson of The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii.

Likao Kula Farm of Holualoa won the inaugural cacao processing category.

“The processing of the cacao bean—its fermenting and drying—is an important step in the flavor and quality of chocolate and we’re happy our local growers competed in this new competition category,” said Farsheed Bonkadar, president of the Kona Cacao Association.

“The caliber of entries continues to improve and it’s rewarding to see how both student and professional culinarians use chocolate in both sweet and savory recipes,” he said.

Event host The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii won three categories for best plated dessert, bean to bar and the People’s Choice award.

The Hilton Waikoloa Village earned best savory while Madre Chocolate took top bonbons.

UH­Maui College won the morning community college culinary competition led by Chef Instructor Teresa Shurilla (with plaque). Students from left are Devin Galloway, Noelle Bender, Yi Song, Taylor McGraw and Clarissa Logsdon. (Photo courtesy of Shiortini Photography)

UH­Maui College won the morning community college culinary competition led by Chef Instructor Teresa Shurilla (with plaque). Students from left are Devin Galloway, Noelle Bender, Yi Song, Taylor McGraw and Clarissa Logsdon. (Photo courtesy of Shiortini Photography)

Culinary students from University of Hawaii ­Maui College won the morning student competition besting second place Hawaii Community College ­Hilo and third place Hawaii Community College­ West Hawaii.

Students prepared elaborate plated desserts using chocolate.

The real winners of the fourth annual festival, of course, are the two beneficiaries: the Equip the Kitchens campaign for the future Hawaii Community College­Palamanui and Kona Pacific Public Charter School.

(Photo courtesy of Kokoleka Lani Farms)

(Photo courtesy of Kokoleka Lani Farms)

SEVEN-COURSE CHOCOLATE SOIREE MENU

Chocolate—sweet and savory, local-grown, chef-prepared—was the main attraction of a seven-course dining experience called “Chocolate Soiree” at Kokoleka Lani Farms.

The prelude to Big Island Chocolate Festival was presented by local event planning and catering company The Feeding Leaf.

Chocolate from the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory and Kokoleka Lani Farms was incorporated into dishes by top island chefs assisted by culinary students from University of Hawaii Center—West Hawaii Campus.

The lineup included:

* Appetizers, by Chef Angela Smith (Sweet Eatz)

Cocoa Nib Crusted Ahi Carpaccio with White Balsamic Ginger Sorbetto.
Napoleon of Honeyed Goat Cheese Mousse with Micro Truffles

* Soup, Chef Scott Hiraishi (The Feeding Leaf)

Creamy Coconut and Chocolate Shrimp Drop Soup

* Salad, Chef Instructor Patti Kimball and the Palamanui Culinary Team

Hawaii Island Caesar Salad with Chocolate Covered Anchovies and Chocolate Croutons

* Entrees

Chef Giovanni Saffioti (Amici Ristorante Italiano), White Chocolate Infused Seafood Pasta

Chef Clayton Arakawa (Mauna Lani Resort), Chocolate Dust and Mud Crusted Venison with Hibiscus Sauce and Purple Sweet Potato Mash

* Dessert, Chef Stanton Ho, Master Pastry Chef

Chocolate Soiree “Honu,” decadent layering of Waialua Chocolate, Big Island Macadamia Nuts and Valrhona Caramelia Mousse

* Chocolate-based cocktails, select wines provided by Keith Mallini of Ray’s on the Bay

Soiree Sangria
Cacao Rum Spritzer with Cardamom Foam
Kona Manhattan

The location for dinner, Kokoleka Lani Farms, is a working cacao farm in Keauhou, run by Greg Colden and Marty Corrigan, owner-operators of Kona Natural Soap Company.

The evening began in their retail shop, with passed hors d’oeuvres and factory tour, followed by dinner served family-style in their adjacent home.

The Feeding Leaf General Manager, Les Apoliona, said the dinner event was a fun way to teach guests about local chocolate while enjoying an exclusive dinner at the source.

— Find out more:
www.bigislandchocolatefestival…

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

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