Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lonohana - Coconut Milk 65% Dark bar - Mar. 23, 2016

Chocolate of the Day: 

Lonohana Estate Chocolate
Coconut Milk 65% Dark bar
Weight: .766 oz. (21.6 g.) / 2.3 oz. (65 g.) in total bar
Calories: 120 calories (estimate) in 1/3 bar
Cost: $12.00 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Aloha, and welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Coconut Theme Week.

Lonohana Estate Chocolate is based in Hawai'i (Oahu), where chocolate maker Seneca Klassen produces unique batches of limited edition bars from Hawaiian-grown ingredients, like those found in today's Coconut Milk 65% Dark chocolate bar.

Today's Coconut Milk small batch bar was created from 100% Hawaiian cacao (Big Island Cacao, from the Hawaiian Crown farm in Hilo, HI); Maui cane sugar; roasted coconut; and organic cocoa butter.

The bar had a rich chocolate and coconut aroma. Added cocoa butter and the presence of coconut oil/fat gave this bar a creamy mouth feel and melt. And what a difference fresh, authentic coconut made. A lilting fresh three-dimensional coconut flavor unfolded with each bite.

This Batch #1 August 2015 bar was unique and won't be repeated. Although you can visit the Lonohana website for news of other upcoming bars. (Most bars are available to members of the company's club, that is similar to a CSA.*) The Chocolate Garage (Palo Alto, CA), where I purchased this bar, carries a small number of Lonohana bars.

Hats off to Seneca Klassen, who is a "vertically integrated" chocolate maker—growing cacao and making chocolate himself (from tree-to-bar).

However, having control of more of the process doesn't always equate with certainty or ease of success. Klassen also sources ingredients from other farms, and has to work with the ups and downs of seasonal weather and the business cycles of others.

For example, in early 2016, Alexander and Baldwin Inc.'s Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Co. announced they were winding down operations, marking the end of the last sugar plantation in the state of Hawaii. Having met Seneca Klassen, he's probably already working with other quality suppliers, but this kind of local news has to be a little disappointing.

*CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, a model that allows customers to buy produce/locally grown products directly from farmers.

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