Hawaiians are nuts about chocolate. And they love to celebrate. So when an event like the annual Kona Chocolate Festival comes around, everyone gets involved. One of my favorite restaurants on the Big Island, Huggo's even created a special chocolate menu to serve the week of the festival. And it was so popular, it sold out before 8:30 pm on the Tuesday night before the festival. The only reason I got to even taste it is they knew I was coming so they saved one for me because they knew I was a judge for the Kona Chocolate Festival.
I did not even realize how lucky I was.
As you entered Huggo's you were greeted by Miss Chocolate Hawaii and Miss Chocolate Hawaii runner-up. It was off to a beautiful start. But looking at those gorgeous girls, I do not really believe they eat much chocolate. Perhaps I should be named Ms Hawaiian Chocolate Eater. I am certainly getting more than my share this week.
The Chocolate Festival Menu started with cacao nib and guajllo chili crusted seared yellow fin tuna.
Next came the 6 0z. Filet Mignon with crispy polenta, Hawaiian Chocolate Cake, toasted meringue and Kula Strawberry compote.
I knew the dessert would be wonderful because the last time I judged the Kona Chocolate Festival Huggo's won first place for their dessert. Conrad, the new chef, seems ready for the challenge.
Madelyn Miller is a travel and food writer who adores chocolate. She has judged many festivals: chocolate, coffee, chili and cookies and others. (I may need to move on from C soon, anyone know of festivals that start with D?)
She enjoyed Big Island Candies oatmeal cranberry Macadamia nuts while writing this article. (she is doing a NO CHOCOLATE FAST to prepare for the Kona Chocolate Festival) http://www.konachocolatefestival.com/