Chocolate is such a delight, I have always been a fan. I didn't think my love for chocolate could be any more intense, but I was wrong. My second day in Hawaii, after an amazing breakfast at Cinnamon's in Kailua, my sister, husband, and I stumbled upon "The Chocolate Factory" upstairs from Cinnamon's, so we decided to see what that was about. It is called Manoa Chocolates. We were greated by an eager and friendly lady who told us how chocolate was made, with pictures and tasting of Cacao nibs and we watched the roasting and grinding process in the back of the factory through the glass. Then the tasting began. I couldn't believe this was free. I glanced at the prices of the bars we would be tasting: $9 each. Eeek, I hoped these tasted good because after all this pleasantry, I knew we would have to buy something! They were so good! What a fun experience, we all agreed, and each bought a bar or two.
On the flight from Honolulu to Kauai'i (all of 30 minutes) I decided to check out Hawaiian airlines in-flight magazine to see if it had anything we must do on Kauai'i. A Chocolate Farm tour filled with tastings of locally made and harvested chocolate? Ummmm, yes please! When I looked it up online as soon as we landed and saw the price tag of $65 a person, I was thinking maybe we would skip it. But Danny insisted! He said that we had to, that I would really enjoy it, and that 3 hours and "extensive tasting" was worth it. So I called Koa and booked us for our last day on Kauai'i. They only offer the tours on Mondays and Thursdays, so I got lucky.
When we arrived we were greeted by Angela and Koa and with a plate of espresso truffles and pineapple. It was really good, but I only wanted to eat one because I knew we were in for an "extensive tasting" as they say on their website. We began the tour walking through this beautiful show farm and Koa stopped to tell us about the lime tree in front of us, then cut up limes straight from the tree for all of us to taste. This continued on with banana, lychee, lemon, and something called a "mountain apple." Oh, and some kind of a mountain grape, which was very good, but the skin was super bitter and sour.
Then there was the cacao. What an awesome fruit! We all got to taste it, and it was really good actually! Danny and I thought it tasted like a sweet fruit with a doughy texture. There is a big seed inside each piece of fruit, this is where the chocolate comes from, not the fruit itself. You can eat the seed, but it is pretty bitter. I ate mine, it was fine.
|This is the Cacao Fruit|
|A Cacao Tree|
|Cacao grows on the trunks. So weird.|
|Angela and Koa, tasting time!|
This was a magical experience that no chocolate lover who visits the Garden Island should ever miss!