2015 – Cacao and Chocolate Seminars

Schedule of seminars/demonstrations and farm tour

All classes to be held at the Fairmont Orchid-Hawai'i on Friday May 8 and Farm Tour at Kokoleka Lani Farm to be held on Saturday May 9

Friday May 8 –12-5 pm - Located in the Plaza II Ballroom 

12:00-12:45 -Cacao Fermentation-

Presenter: Dr. Nat Bletter-Founder of Madre Chocolate 

NatBletterThe week-long process of fermenting cacao is generally unrecognized but is actually THE most important step in determining chocolate’s flavor in tree-to-bar chocolate making. Some say it gives 3/4 of the final flavor notes in finished chocolate bars thus giving more flavor than any of the aging, roasting, conching, and tempering that the chocolate maker does. Since Hawai’i is the North Pole of Cacao, the coldest place on earth where cacao is grown, it can be hard to ferment cacao here, with bitter, mushroomy molds and spore-forming fungi invading instead of the beautiful floral, fruity, and umami-filled microbes we desire, but Dr. Nat Bletter, who has studied the process of cacao fermentation for 6 years now, will teach you the easy steps of the Hawaii 5-I (idling, inoculation, insulation, incubation, & increased volume) that keeps fermentation going on the right track and leads to successful ferments with delicious aromatic cacao, still each with its own terroir.

1:00 -1:50 pm-  "Hawai'i Cacao Farming - Tree to Bar"

Tom Menezes

Presenters: Tom Menezes -Owner, Alae Estate – Hawaiian Crown Hilo, Hawai'i and Una Greenaway, Owner, Kuaiwi Farms

—Best varieties of cacao to grow and why
—Where to get cacao starts
—Best way to plant the trees
—Best climate and elevation levels
—What are the trends/business opportunities right now for Hawaiian cacao
--Cacao from pod to nib-See and taste the cacao in its various stages
—Talk story and Q & A

Presenter information

Tom Menezes, a cacao pioneer in Hawaii, has degrees in Tropical Agriculture and Plant Pathology from the University of Hawaii. With more than 30 years of experience in production, breeding, research, and farm management of tropical crops in Hawaii, Tom's extensive expertise includes collecting and breeding pineapples (and ornamental bromeliads), taro & cacao. Tom's company, Hawaiian Crown, offers gourmet "tree-to-bar" purely Hawaiian chocolate with all the cacao grown locally on the Big Island and made in house at the shop in Hilo.

Una Greenaway is owner, farmer, chocolate maker of Kuaiwi Farms in South Kona. She offers tours and chocolate making classes at her certified organic farm. The five acre farm has been and is currently being worked organically, completely herbicide and pesticide-free. Una and her husband are one of the few "bean to UnaGreenway2bar" chocolate makers on the Big Island and personally oversee every aspect of the process from growth to processing.

Tom and Una will be covering the above topics in this discussion and will be doing an open Q & A with the audience.

2:00-3:30 pm-   "How To Make Your Own Decadent (but Simple) Chocolate Dessert Creation" - Chef Derek Poirier, Valrhona Chocolate

3:30-5:00 pm- "How To Make Your Own Decadent (but Simple) Chocolate Dessert Creation" - Chef Stanton Ho, Amoretti 

Presenters: Chef Derek Poirier and Chef Stanton Ho

Learn how to create a decadent, but simple dessert from both chef Derek Poirier of Valrhona Chocolate, USA and Chef Stanton Ho, each of whom will be presenting a chocolate dessert demonstration.

Presenter information

Chef Derek PoiriDerek Poirierer was named as one of the top ten pastry chefs in the country in 2014. Chef Poirier, Ecole Valrhona Pastry Chef Western USA , brings his experience and skills honed in the top hotels of the US and Canada in his work with the French chocolate maker. He teaches and conducts demonstrations in restaurants, hotels and culinary schools throughout the US and Canada.
He also develops recipes and teaches master classes attended by an international array of pastry chefs who travel to Valrhona’s famed L’Ecole du Grand Chocolat located in Tain l’Hermitage in the wine region of France’s Rhone Valley. He has represented the US and Canada in world pastry competitions.

Stanton Ho Judge for Competition
Chef Stanton Ho

Chef Stanton Ho returns to the Big Island Chocolate Festival, where he served as a judge for the Culinary Student Competition in 2013 and as a celebrity judge for the professional entries at the Festival gala.

A native of Hawaii, Chef Stanton Ho began his studies at the University of Hawaii, Kapi'olani Community College Culinary and Food Service Program, and continued his education in baking, pastries, and confections at L'Ecole Le Notre, in Plasir, France. After working in prestigious hotel and resort properties in Hawaii, Stanton became Executive Pastry Chef for the Las Vegas Hilton, where his responsibilities included overseeing the production of thousands of desserts for this 3,200 room property with convention facilities and over 12 restaurants.

In addition to his gold-medal success as chairman of the U.S. World Cup Pastry Team, Stanton won the Silver Medal in International Chocolate at the Jean-Marie Sibenaler Trophy Competition in Paris, France in 1990. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus at the University of Hawaii; "Top Ten Pastry Chef in America" in both 1994 and 1995 by Pastry Arts & Design; Pastry Chef of the Millennium by Paris Gourmet in 2000; and Distinguished Visiting Chef at Providence, Rhode Island in 2002.

Check back soon for more details!

Tickets for all four Friday seminars are $75 in advance.  $30 for each at the door.

GregColdenwithCacaoCacao Farm/Factory Tour

Kona Natural Soap Company Farm Tour

Saturday May 9 - 9 - 11 am

Cost- $25: 100% of all proceeds from the tour go to support the charities of the Big Island Chocolate Festival.

Tour Kokoleka Lani and the Kona Natural Soap Company's five acre working cacao/coffee farm and soap making factory in Keauhou Mauka on Saturday May 9th from 9-11 am. You’ll see how cacao is grown, learn how its cultivated and then used for chocolate. Owner Greg Colden shows guests how cacao is cut from the tree and he will cut open a cacao pod to show guests how the true essence of chocolate is contained inside a pod. The Kona Soap Company sells its cacao to the nearby Original Hawaiian Chocolate Company and then utilizes the spent roasted cacao casings from the chocolate making company to concoct its famous chocolate soap. Owner Greg Colden will lead guests on a tour of both the farm and factory and discuss how he blends business with sustainability, locally grown products, essential oils and Aloha. Watch video.