1. Manoa Chocolate Factory
Offering daily tours, tastings and some excellent chocolate pairings in their factory tasting room and retail shop, this lovely little operation located in Kailua sources quality beans from around the world – and their own backyard. After all, Hawaii is the only state in America that can produce cacao, and it’d be silly to take advantage of that fact if you actually made chocolate in Hawaii. The bean-to-bar craft chocolate is made using sustainable methods, and is a little on the expensive side, but really, can you put a price tag on an amazing chocolate bar? Technically, yes - but I think you get my point.
2. Big Island Candies
It’s no surprise that the Hawaiian Islands are known for their chocolates and macadamia nuts - and Big Island Candies combines them both. Established in 1977, Big Island Candies offers handmade treats you’ll only find in Hawaii. Stop by the flagship store in Hilo to stock up on all your favorite goodies, and a self-guided factory tour where you’ll learn all about what it takes to craft these signature candies. You can even watch island flavors be hand-mixed through large windows.
3. Kamaka Ukulele
Offering skillfully-crafted and unique ukuleles, this family owned and operated business has been in operation for more than 100 years. These world-class instruments begin as rough Hawaiian koa lumber and are meticulously handbuilt into exquisite ukuleles enjoyed by musicians and audiences across the world. Free guided tours of the Honolulu factory are offered Tuesday through Friday at 10:30 a.m. The tour usually lasts 45 to 60 minutes and will give guests the opportunity to learn about what exactly it takes to craft these beautiful instruments.
4. Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory
I challenge you to find someone who has never heard of - or even tasted - a Mauna Loa macadamia nut. But fewer have actually experienced the process it takes to make your favorite tasty Hawaiian treat. As you make your way to the Visitor Center, you will drive through three miles of macadamia nut orchards. Once there, you can view the macadamia nut and chocolate processing plant. Don’t forget to check out the gift shop for macadamia nuts, chocolates, and other goodies.
5. Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation
Only grown in a small section of fertile volcanic soil on Hawaii Island’s Kona coast, Kona coffee is definitely a cut above any coffee you can find, well, pretty much anywhere. One of the most prestigious Kona coffee farms, Mountain Thunder Plantation is the place to visit if you want to learn all about the coffee making process. Offering guided tours every hour, you will learn about everything about coffee - from harvesting the coffee beans to roasting and packaging them, and everything in between.
6. Madre Chocolate
Madre Chocolate is an Oahu chocolate company that is involved in every step of the chocolate-making process – from bean to bar. Tours begin at a local and organic farm, where you will see how the beautiful cacao tree produces its pods, and learn about how to tell when the cacao is ripe, taste fresh cacao pulp, help harvest cacao, and witness the fermentation and drying process. Then, after an hour long break for lunch, you’ll meet back at Madre’s Kailua location for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the chocolate-making process: from roasting, cracking, and winnowing your own cacao to learning how to grind and temper chocolate into bars.
7. Big Wind Kite Factory
This small factory, located on the second smallest of Hawaii’s six main islands, is truly one of a kind, and an excellent stop to make while on your Molokai getaway. To learn all about how kites are made and discover the best spots to fly a kite on the island, stop by their factory for a free tour. You can even participate in a free kite flying lesson next door at the Aeronautical Testing Facility.
8. Kona Brewing Company
What began as a father and son brewing operation in the 1990s has now become a massive brewing and packaging operation. Their fresh, local island brews are created in a facility with a mash tun, brew kettle, whirlpool, 10 fermenters, five conditioning tanks, and two grain silos. Their staff pumps more than 310,000 gallons of beer each year - filling more than 4,000 kegs kept in circulation throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Tours are available seven days a week at 10:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
9. North Shore Soap Factory
Located at the historic Waialua Sugar Mill, the North Shore Soap Factory is a must visit on Oahu’s north shore. Crafted with 100 percent natural ingredients and plenty of Aloha, this all natural skincare line is paraben, phthalate and SLS free in an attempt to bring you the bliss of a tropical Hawaiian island with every use. Schedule a behind-the-scenes tour to learn all about how these bath and body products are created.
10. The Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory
For 100 percent Hawaiian chocolate, head to this Kona factory and orchard - the only place you’ll find such chocolate in the world. With more than 1,300 cacao trees on the property, this magnificent chocolate is truly world-class. Their micro-processing factory is the only one in the state, and assures total quality control during every step of the process - from the fields to the final chocolate bars. Tours are $10, offered Wednesday and Friday mornings at 9:30 a.m., and include an hour long walking tour of the orchards and factory, as well as a chocolate tasting.
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