There’s nothing quite like chocolate. Rich in flavor, smooth in texture and irresistible to many, the cacao delicacy is one of our favorite treats. And here on Oahu, chocolate is not only a tasty treat, it’s also part of our rich history.
Cacao, the name for the seeds roasted and grounded to make chocolate, were first planted in Hawaii by a German physician in 1850. Since then, chocolate from Hawaiian cacao has proven to be a gourmet product for which buyers from all over the world pay premium prices. And since Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that grows the crop, our cacao is especially requested on the mainland.
Lucky for us, we’re able to get our hands on the mouthwatering snack by visiting local chocolate shops that give us access to Oahu-grown cacao from bean to bar.
To celebrate National Chocolate Day taking place on October 28, we’re giving you the lowdown on where you too can get your chocolate fix on Oahu.
Lonohana Hawaiian Estate Chocolate
Lonohana Hawaiian Estate is all about keeping their products as close to home as it can get. They farm the cacao used on their hand crafted chocolate bars on a 14-acre farm where they harvest, ferment and dry the beans. Every eight weeks, the factory produces small, unique batches of chocolate bars that incorporate organic Hawaii-grown ingredients. Flavors include coffee, macadamia nuts, cacao nibs, sea salt, fruit, spices and for those who like to keep it simple, pure chocolate. The bars are sold through the Lohana Chocolate Club where members receive a delivery six times per year – choosing either one, two or three bars from each of the batches. For those who are not members, you can purchase products through the online store or at the factory. Tours of the factory are available by appointment.
Inspired to give back to the cacao farmers and their communities, Madre Chocolate uses organic, fair-trade cacao beans in all its tasty snacks. They roast and process the beans in their factory and craft them into chocolate bars. Popular flavors include passionfruit, coconut milk, café con leche, hibiscus, horchata and many more. The delicious chocolate bars are available for purchase in Madre Chocolate’s retail shops on Oahu and various stores in Hawaii and worldwide. Click here to see a complete list of locations. If you’re interested in learning about the chocolate making process, Madre Chocolate also offers classes where you can visit cacao orchards and get hands on with the bean-to-bar process.
Manoa Chocolate sources quality beans from around the globe, as well as local cacao beans from the Hawaiian Islands in its delicious dark chocolate bars. In addition to the bars, you can also purchase brewing chocolate, chocolate tea, bulk nibs, cacao nibs and chocolate blocks. Visit the factory and retail store in Kailua to get your hands on the creations or the many stores throughout the islands and on the mainlands that offer Manoa Chocolate products. If you’re lucky to be in Kailua, don’t forget to take a factory tour where an experienced guide will take you through the chocolate crafting process that uses sustainable production methods.
For over a century Waialua Estate served as one of the largest sugarcane plantations in the state and was also the original location of Dole Food Company’s pineapple growing and processing operation. Now, the property’s lands overlooking North Shore are used to grow coffee and cacao. The estate’s cacao trees are a special blend of Criollo, Trinatario and Forestero varieties sourced from some of the finest cacao estates in the world. Extra dark, semi-sweet and milk chocolate bars are produced from the crops and sold in the estate’s retail store and various restaurants and stores and listed here.
How do you plan on celebrating National Chocolate Day on Oahu? Let us know in the comments below.