Big Island Chocolate Festival

May 13, 2022

The Bittersweet of Big Island

While Coffee Trees has taken center stage in our agricultural popularity, Cocoa trees are another commodity that thrives on our tropical climate and well-drained soil.

Hawaii is the only U.S. state that grows cacao commercially. Trees are grown, harvested, and processed on each of the major four islands, including Big Island.

“According to the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture, cacao was first introduced into the Hawaiian Islands by Dr. William Hillebrand in 1850. However, it is also believed that the crop grew in King David Kalakaua’s personal gardens as early as the 1830s. The German physician and botanist worked for the Hawaiian monarchy and grew cacao trees in a Honolulu area now known as Foster Botanical Gardens. Cacao orchards began popping up throughout the islands since then, with the industry growing and falling sporadically, disrupted by events such as World War I, until the 1990s. In 1996, the Dole Food Company planted 20 acres of cacao on Oahu’s North Shore and, in 1997, what is considered the state’s first chocolate processing plant opened in Keauhou, here on Big Island.”

– Excerpt from “Explore the History of Chocolate in Hawaii,”

Welcome to the Dark Side!

Dark chocolate is not only delicious but “can” also be nutritious! Of course, the darker the chocolate the better, but any 70 percent dark chocolate or higher contains health-boosting compounds and micronutrients that potentially can increase heart health, balance immune system, combat diabetes, improve brain function, boost athletic performance, and reduce stress.

As exciting as this might sound, keep in mind “Overindulging doesn’t do your heart any favors,” Dr. Poulina Uddin says. “Excess weight makes your heart work much harder just to do its job and increases the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.” For maximum benefit, combine your taste for dark chocolate with a healthy lifestyle.

Sweet Community

The Club Kona is proud to be a part of a beautiful community that makes us feel as though we are part of something greater than ourselves. It is our kuleana to positively impact our community and provide a place to better overall health, wellness, and recovery from adverse events, such as COVID. Which is why, The Club Kona was delighted to be able to support the Big Island Chocolate Festival by donating Club Memberships to the silent auction.

So, take a journey through the cocoa chain and experience The Big Island Chocolate Festival! This sweet event incorporates a farm tour, farm and culinary demos and a VIP gala with a four-course dinner, live music, dancing, drinks, and silent auction.

Learn more and buy your tickets at

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