Must-Do: Hilo Cacao & Chocolate Festival


This Saturday we decided to take the family to the 2nd Annual Cacao & Chocolate Festival held at Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. This event is a prelude to the Big Island Chocolate Festival being held April 26-27 at the West Hapuna Beach Resort. Participants had an opportunity to indulge in Chocolate, Chocolate, and MORE Chocolate! We thought this would be a great opportunity to show our kids not only how chocolate is made, but also for them to try what “real” chocolate tastes like.

As soon as you arrived, you had an opportunity to either wander around for free or purchase a passport (for $30/piece).  The passport allows you to sample the chocolate from the different vendors and to me, it was a bit pricey, but keep in mind this was also a fundraiser for the East Hawaii Cacao Association.  We ended picking up one passport to see what it was all about.  There were opportunities to purchase chocolate and other items such as coffee, teas, and other items throughout.

I had no idea how time intensive this process was. Take a look at how many steps it takes to get you that little candy bar you love so much:

  • Growing of the cacao
  • Harvesting
  • Cracking and stripping
  • Fermentation
  • Drying
  • Roasting
  • Cracking and winnowing
  • Grinding
  • Tempering
  • Pouring.

As you can see, the next time you bite into a succulent piece of chocolate, remember the grueling process it took to make that piece of milky goodness!


All in all, it was a nice event. We tried some really good chocolate, sipped on some delicious coffee and had a great chance to show our girls how chocolate is made.

If you walked around for free, however, you might have been disappointed as you needed a passport to be able to sample the different chocolates. In addition, with a price of $30 per passport, it is probably not feasible for a family.  Other than the price of passports, I would highly recommend this event and will more than likely be checking out the Big Island Chocolate Festival at the end of the month!

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