cacoa pods and drying cocoa beans

Cacoa pods and drying cocoa beans. photo courtesy of Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory

When you come to Hawaii, go beyond the mai tais and and enjoy some divine, locally grown chocolate!

The Hawaiian Islands have many chocolate producing companies, and most are bean-to-bar businesses. Hawaii is the only US state which grows cacao, processes and makes it into bars and other cocoa products. I have done my share of eating chocolates on the different islands, and I find the chocolate confections not overly sweet and with a deep chocolate and satisfying taste.  In checking the labels, there’s usually no additives like lecithin or a vanilla by-product. Hawaiian chocolate companies focus on supporting local farmers and using locally grown products such as honey, lavender, and salt to create unique varieties. The products give assurances about knowing the source and the working conditions of the farms.

When you’re on the Big Island, near Kona visit the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, a cacao farm and producer of fine chocolates. To witness how chocolate is made, take a tour and see how the pods are processed into beans and finally into many chocolate products. The company has won awards for their chocolate and it is used in gourmet restaurants.  A must is to browse in their shop and buy items from milk chocolate to high end dark chocolate. The packaging and bars have an aloha spirit with plumerias and colorful packaging making for great gifts and take-home remembrances of Hawaii.   Information about The Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory can be found at

Original Hawaiian chocolate bars for sale

Original Hawaiian Chocolate for sale

Cocao farms have increased in popularity and the Kona Cacao Association promotes local cacao farms, education and programs to support the businesses. Check the website  to learn more about this growing Hawaiian commodity. The association also promotes the annual Big Island Chocolate Festival which is a fundraiser for community non-profits. Annual beneficiaries are listed on the website and also contains event information.

Chef Treand and blogger M’Liss HInshaw with chef’s showpiece

No matter which island you visit, make sure to buy chocolate bars with packaging that states Made in Hawaii.  Then snap a piece of chocolate and taste the difference!


Disclaimer-I attended the Big Island Chocolate Festival courtesy of the Kona Cacoa Association.