While in Hawaii last week, I hoped to locate and eat some cacao fruit, and try new chocolates with local Hawaiian flavors. Fortunately, both goals were realized.
We made the beautiful 3-4 hour drive (including stops for pictures and lunch) to Hana on a Friday afternoon; all was good. At our lunch roadstand stop, we found some handmade coconut candy, and a Wow-Wee Maui dark chocolate bar, with Hawaiian coconut. (See last week's (May 2011) Chocolate and Coconut Theme Week posts.)
We made the beautiful 3-4 hour drive (including stops for pictures and lunch) to Hana on a Friday afternoon; all was good. We stopped at one roadstand and found some handmade coconut candy, and another Wow-Wee Maui chocolate bar (written about a few days ago during Chocolate and Coconut Theme Week).
However, once in Hana, we found that many places we were hoping to tour were closed over the weekend. So, sadly, we missed going to Ono Farms, where I'd heard they have cacao trees, and I did speak to one of the owners who is making chocolate. Hope to connect next time we're in Hawaii.
Happily, we did stop in Kipahulu on our drive past Hana, and there were a few cacao trees near the Laulima Farm roadside stand. Even better, there was one cacao fruit left for sale inside. I took the fruit back to our hotel room; the next day I opened the pod with a plastic fork, and enjoyed the white pulpy fruit with a light citrus flavor surrounding the large almond-sized cacao seeds. There were 43 seeds packed in this one cacao fruit/pod -- more seeds than fruit. But, that's fine, because while the white fruit is used in the initial fermentation process, it is the cacao seeds that are processed into chocolate.
The fresh, unroasted seeds were a beige color on the outside; and, if you broke one apart you would see a deep purple inside.
Lahaina Day Trip
The last full day of our vacation in Maui, I drove to Lahaina, in search of chocolate covered Spam at the Banyan Tree Deli and Bakery. Sweet Paradise Chocolatier was closed. So, I poked around the Front Street area for other chocolates, and possibly some Shave Ice.
It was a very hot day, and on my way to the 600 block of Front Street, I first stopped at Paradise Found, a family owned shop offering crepes and gelato, to sample their chocolate and banana gelato flavors.