SI Chocolate Festival 2018

The third Solomon Islands Cocoa and Chocolate festival will be held in Honiara from Wed 2 May to Sat 5 May 2018.

It keeps getting bigger each year and the program of events can be found here.

After turning up uninvited to the first two chocolate weeks in 2016 and 2017, this year we have been invited to participate:) After a few discussions with organisers on our involvement, we settled with our friend and chocolate ambassador Jessica Pedemont (from Chocolate Artisan and Celebration Cooking) leading the celebrity chef session, and also had some involvement in the judging panel. One of our great friends who came with us to 2017 Chocolate Week, Charles Lemai, will also be leading some chocolate demonstration events.

We look forward to another wonderful celebration of Solomon Islands cocoa and chocolate.

We are thrilled to see the progress that is being made with the cocoa industry in the Solomons and also very proud that we are playing a key role.

Photo from Chocolate Week 2017 (from left to right): Luz Kasimwane, Brian Atkin and Agnes Pilopaso

agnes brian and lucy

Tips for first time Chocolate makers to Solomon Islands.

These are a few tips for overseas Chocolate makers visiting Honiara in the Solomon Islands.

Taxis – $10 per km, except between town and airport is $100 flat fee. Easy to catch a taxi off street by day but at night avoid catching taxis off the street by yourself, instead get the hotel to book one for you with a taxi company or call yourself – Kings Taxi 27888.

Stretch goal – catch a local bus along the main road (Mendana Ave) eg from Mendana hotel to Central Market. Only $3 SBD per trip. There are bus stops but if you tell the conductor where you want to go they will drop you at nearest stop. Traffic congestion can be very bad so sometimes faster to walk.

Phone/internet – recommend getting a local SIM and putting in a data pack for Internet. International roaming is ok, but the daily data limits for Internet can be low and you might be paying international rates to call local Solomon numbers – which are more than $2 AUD per minute.

Personal safety – avoid walking around by yourself after dark, keep close eye on personal belongings when on street or at markets, don’t leave valuables or bags in an unattended car.

Food – Avoid salads. Don’t eat uncooked food without peeling or washing well with clean water. Wash hands well before eating.

Water – don’t drink town water unless boiled first. Buy bottled water. Szeba water is best. I buy a carton of bottled water and leave in my room.

Health / malaria prevention – see a doctor (travel doctor) for medical advice before coming to Solomons. Always wear insect repellent, especially morning and dusk.

Tips – tips are not common for food service, but if you are happy with service then tell them and you are welcome to leave some small money.

Cocoa bean samples – always insist to pay for any samples of beans you take from a farmer. A good rule of thumb is $20SBD per kg but confirm with them.

Language – the locals all speak pigin. They will generally understand your English but may not be confident to talk back to you. There are lots of English speakers in Honiara.

Honiara can be a bit hectic and dusty. If you need to relax then go and get a coffee or something stronger at one of these places:

Breakwater Cafe (Next to Mendana hotel) – no alcohol

Coral Seas Resort – sea frontage

Heritage Park Hotel – sea frontage

Yacht club

Lime lounge – no alcohol