Chocolate is one of Hawaii’s most delicious but unknown export products. It is a good souvenir to take home (chocolate covered macadamia nuts!) and a very tasty snack that goes well together with a strong cup of delicious Kona Coffee.
Thanks to the tropical climate, Hawaii is the only state where chocolate can be made with locally produced ingredients. The cacao is grown and processed on the Big Island, resulting in true, locally produced, American, chocolate! In the recent years, cacao is becoming a more and more popular crop among small farmers.
If you would like to see the ‘action’ for yourself, you can visit a chocolate orchard.The following two farms south of Kona grow cacao and offer farm tours:
- The Original Hawaiian Chocolate Farm offers tours on Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:00 a.m. Admission fee for adults is $15, children under 12 pay nothing (but do get to taste). The tour includes a one-hour walking tour of the orchard and factory full of information about every step in the chocolate making process. That the tour also includes chocolate sampling goes without saying 🙂 Reservations are required so call before you visit: (808) 322-2626.
- Kuaiwi Farm is known for their Kona Coffee farm tours, but they also grow cacao on their farm. You can join them for a chocolate candy making class, combined with a farm tour and tasting. Classes include unlimited chocolate tasting and a goodie bag. Reservations are mandatory at least three days in advance. See their website for details.
There are several companies on the Big Island that make chocolate from locally produced cacao and sell it. You can find this chocolate at local farmers markets, in any of the Island Naturals Natural food stores, in most other convenience shops and even in the local boutiques in the island resorts. You can also order it online and/or ship it home through the website of “Original Hawaiian Chocolate“. This is the only producer to grow, harvest, process and package all-Hawaiian chocolate.