One of the pleasures of being a travel writer/blogger is the opportunity to meet up with other travel writers/bloggers. Most recently, I found myself in Honolulu, Hawaii, at the same time as Canadian travel writer/blogger, Doreen Pendgracs.
Doreen has a delicious niche. She writes about chocolate. Her quest to inform herself about this gift from the gods has taken her around the world. When she told me she would be on Oahu doing chocolate research and speaking at Honolulu’s fourth annual Hawaii Chocolate Festival, I was determined to attend.
The Hawaii Chocolate Festival was held on February 22nd from noon to 5:00 p.m. to showcase Hawaii’s emerging cacao and chocolate industry.(Did you know Hawaii is the only state in the United States where cacao can be cultivated?)
When I arrived at the festival venue in the Honolulu Dole Cannery Shops shortly after noon, some of the approximately 1,300 chocolate loving attendees of all ages were already checking out the 36 exhibitors and vendors. The entry fee included a “Passport” entitling the bearer to choose 10 “tastings.”
I purposely skipped lunch figuring that at my Boomeresque age, if I wanted to have chocolate for lunch, I had earned that prerogative. My husband,
Mr. Dr. Excitement, was attending a concurrent international mesothelioma research conference at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, so there was no one to look on disapprovingly. Actually, the truth is that were he not so dedicated to his work, Mr. Excitement would have been first in line. He loves chocolate and would have been in chocolate heaven.
Between noon and 2:00 p.m when Doreen’s talk began, I only managed to use up six of my 10 tastings. I learned that although the samples were taste size, a little high quality chocolate can go a long way. My last two tastings definitely caused me to push the pause button. They were chocolate covered bacon from EAT Honolulu’s Cafe and Catering and a vodka and liquid chocolate libation from Twisted Shotz/Naughty Cow Chocolate Liquor.
At 2:00 p.m., after enjoying some Hawaiian dance presentations and still feeling
dizzy sated, I attended Doreen’s talk. I admit I was wondering how she could possibly talk about chocolate for an hour, but her enthusiasm for chocolate had me, and the rest of the audience, thoroughly engaged.
Most Baby Boomers remember where they were when President Kennedy was assassinated.On a happier note, Doreen also remembers where she was when blissfully consuming her favorite pieces of chocolate and is able to wax poetically about the taste and texture nuances. Fearing I could never remember all I learned, I purchased Volume One of Doreen’s book, Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate*. (I had it inscribed for my chocolate loving love and because man does not live by words alone, I also brought him home some chocolate).
By the time Doreen’s talk was over I decided I could
realistically optimistically squeeze in one more tasting. I chose one that had intrigued me all afternoon, a chocolate filled spring roll with peanut butter cream and vanilla ice cream being served by Tiki’s Bar and Grill. After consuming that amazing concoction, I reluctantly sensibly concluded that I would have to forfeit the last three of my passport tastings.
totally bummed out sad because you missed the Honolulu Hawaii Chocolate Festival, you still have a chance to experience and learn about Hawaii’s cacao and chocolate industry this year at the Big Island Chocolate Festival, being held on May 2nd and 3rd at the Fairmount Orchid Hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii.
(Many thanks to Amy Hammond of Special Events Hawaii, Inc. for making this experience possible. Opinions are my own.) *If you purchase Doreen’s book through this link, Boomeresque will receive a small affiliate’s commission without increasing your price for this book.
This post is now part of Inside Journey’s Foodie Tuesday series.