Chocolate can either cheer you up after a bad day, or help you celebrate life’s happiest moments. Either way, I’d like to think that chocolate is an entirely necessary part of life. Luckily for us, Hawaii is the only state in America to grow cacao, and as a result, our beautiful islands are home to some of the country’s greatest chocolatiers – perhaps that’s part of the reason Hawaii is often considered one of the happiest states?
1) Manoa Chocolate Hawaii
Offering daily tours, tastings and some excellent chocolate pairings, this lovely little operation located in Kailua sources quality beans from around the world – and their own backyard. The craft chocolate is a little on the expensive side, but really, can you put a price tag on an amazing chocolate bar? Technically, yes. But you get my point.
2) Lonohana Hawaiian Estate Chocolate
Planting their first cacao trees in 2009, the chocolate company now farms 14 acres of cacao by hand on Oahu’s north shore. Due to their small size, chocolate batches are released just six times per year to members of the Lonohana Chocolate Club.
3) Madre Chocolate
Winner of six Hawaiian, United States and International chocolate awards, Madre Chocolate produces a variety of organic, fair trade chocolate bars out of a small strip mall in Kailua. Everyone raves about the Coffee & Cardamom bar, and they hold awesome weekly classes that revolve around chocolate.
4) Malie Kai Chocolates
Hawaiian-grown, single origin chocolate from Malie Kai is truly Hawaiian all around – their cacao is exclusively grown on Oahu’s North Shore and they have a lovely little shop in Waikiki’s Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. Oh, and they have some pretty cool flavors – like Kona Coffee Cappucino, and White Chocolate with Tangerine.
5) Honolulu Chocolate Co.
What began as a café in 1987 has become the largest – and perhaps finest – gourmet chocolate retailer in the state of Hawaii. The factory is located behind the Ward Centre storefront, and the company produces more than 100 items.
6) Padovani's Chocolates
A quaint café that draws you in with an aroma of chocolate, keeps you there with an impressive selection of chocolate, pastries and coffees, and leaves you wanting more after you taste their delicious made-in-Hawaii chocolate.
7) Sweet Paradise Chocolatier
With a small retail boutique in the resort community of Wailea, Maui and a chocolate café and tasting bar at the Maui Tropical Plantation, Sweet Paradise is proud to produce signature Hawaiian chocolate with a complex flavor profile.
8) Fine Ass Chocolate & Coffee
Located near the famous Crouching Lion hiking trail in Ka’a’awa, Fine Ass Chocolate & Coffee puts a fun – and perhaps inappropriate to some – spin on chocolate. They specialize in chocolate covered macadamia nuts with names like “salty balls,” and “dirty balls.” To each their own, I suppose.
9) Hawaiian Host
A list about Hawaii’s chocolatiers is not complete without a blurb on Hawaiian Host, the country’s largest exporter of chocolate covered macadamia nuts. They’re the perfect treat to bring to friends on the mainland, or your family after a trip to Hawaii.