Chocolate and wine flowed freely under a gloamy light at the Big Island Chocolate Festival's kickoff event hosted by The Shops at Mauna Lani.
|Chef Wressell explaining chocolate and wine pairings|
The tasting reception included chocolate and wine pairings by chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company, known for his 2011 win at the National Pastry Team Championship. Wressell emphasized the similarities in both wine and chocolate tasting, in that terroir (where the grapes/beans are grown) plays an essential role in the overall flavor.
|Ruth's Chris chocolate samplings|
Several restaurants offered sweet and savory samplings. Monstera created a spicy ahi roll with tuna, pineapple and chocolate sauce. Ruth's Chris Steakhouse served chocolates with mango, raspberry, and chocolate mousse as well as a lava cake. Just Tacos provided churros with white and dark chocolate drizzles. And the evening's standout, Tommy Bahama Tropical Cafe, presented pulled pork sliders with a chocolate hoisin sauce and last year's winning dessert, a malted chocolate pie which didn't disappoint.
Westside Wines and Johnson Bros. of Hawaii both supplied the revelers with wines meant to pair well with chocolate.
Proceeds from the reception support the new Hawai'i Community College-Palamanui kitchen and Kona Pacific Charter school. The prelude reception was part of a series of events in the Big Island Chocolate Festival going on now through March 23, 2013. For a full list of event details visit http://bigislandchocolatefestival.com/ .