2017 “Best Hawai’i Cacao” Competition Open to Hawai’i Island Cacao Farmers


Hawai’i Island cacao farmers who want to raise the profile of their unique beans should enter our “Best Hawai’I Cacao” contest at this year’s Big Island Chocolate Festival. Beans will be judged on color, fissuring, aroma, flavor, astringency, and bitterness. Farmers must send at least one pound of un-roasted beans, along with their contact information, a brief bio, farm name and location, and a photo of the farmer standing near their cacao tree. Two categories will be judged: Criollo and Mix. The entry fee is $20 per submission.

“The Kona Cacao Association (KCA)was created to help promote Hawaii island cacao and to help educate and provide resources for cacao farmers, as well as raise awareness of our special cacao here on the island,” said Farsheed Bonakdar, owner of Cocoa Outlet and president of the Kona Cacao Association. “The Big Island Chocolate Festival is just one way that we achieve that goal. We are encouraging all local cacao farmers to compete and help us shine a light on some of the best cacao in the world.”

KCA members may enter the cacao contest for free. To become a member click here.

A separate Criollo Cacao award category and winner will be named if we receive more than three criollo entries. Entering multiple varieties, harvests, or fermentations of cacao is encouraged.

Please note: Cacao growers must pay the entrance fee first and then send or drop off the pound of beans to Farsheed Bonakdar, Cocoa Outlet, PO Box 2618, 79-7500 Mamalahoa Hwy, Kealakekua-HI, 96750 by April 25th . Click here to enter. We’ll follow up with you directly once we receive your entry fee.

A panel of expert judges will decide the winners, who will be named during the Big Island Chocolate Festival awards presentation. The event will be held Saturday April 29th, 2017 at the Hapuna Prince Beach Hotel.

Don’t have your ticket to the Big Island Chocolate Festival yet? Tickets are still ON SALE HERE. Other awards being presented that night are:

  • Best Sweet
  • Best Savory
  • Best Bonbon
  • People’s Choice Dessert
  • People’s Choice Savory
  • Best “Bean to Bar”
  • Culinary Student Competition — First, Second and Third Place Winners

The two-day Big Island Chocolate Festival includes a cacao plantation tour at the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, a college culinary competition and several public foodie and agriculture-themed seminars. Activities culminate 5-9 pm Saturday, April 29. We’ll have an indoor-outdoor festival gala featuring sweet and savory culinary stations presented by top isle chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners. Fun activities include a photo booth, chocolate body painting, live performances, dancing a lot more!