I love Hawaii and I love Chocolate, so trying Hawaiian chocolate was a natural for me. As our most tropical state, Hawaii is the only state that can actually grow things like coffee and chocolate.
About ten years ago, I tasted my some excellent chocolate from Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate, which arrived early to the American artisanal chocolate movement. For whatever reason, while craft chocolate has exploded in the US, Hawaiian Vintage has moved toward a commercial sales model which deemphasizes retail sales. They only sell chocolate to the public through their website and have only a limited selection with no bars.
There are some other Hawaiian bars on the market and today we will sample three chocolate bars from two makers.
Malie Kai Chocolates, Single Origin Waialua Estate, 55% cacao
Dole's Malie Kai Chocolates are made from cacao grown at the Waialua Estate on the North Shore of Oahu. While the beans are grown in Hawaii, they are processed by the old Guittard chocolate company in San Francisco.
The Malie Kai had a nice chocolate scent and a good mouthfeel, but it was much too sweet, even for the relatively low 55% cacao level. I generally like Guittard and this definitely tastes like at Guittard product. I'll have to try the 70% bar.
Original Hawaiian Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, 60% cacao
Unlike Malie Kai, Original Hawaiian Chocolate both grows its cacao and makes its chocolate in Hawaii. They have single estate bars, but the bar I'm sampling is a blend. The cacao is grown on the Big Island.
The Original Hawaiian Chocolate (OHC) bar was also quite sweet and had a sort of clay-like mouth feel that I didn't care for. It also had a bit of a chemically taste. It uses both soy lecithin and vanilla powder in place of vanilla beans. Possibly the off tastes and mouthfeel I get from this bar came from those ingredients.
Malie Kai Kona Coffee Espresso
Malie Kai also makes a Kona coffee bar made with "Kona blend" beans. I enjoyed this bar which had a nice strong coffee taste. It was almost like the bar form of a chocolate covered espresso bean. As with all of these bars, though, it is on the sweet side.
I'm still waiting to try a truly remarkable Hawaiian chocolate bar. For now, these chocolates aren't yet playing in the big leagues.