Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Things I Am Loving This Week: Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate! & The Hawai'i Chocolate Festival

This "Things I Am Loving This Week" post is dedicated to my one true love... CHOCOLATE. And this past Saturday afternoon where I spent time indulging in all things cacao with my good friends Corinne and Julie at the Hawai'i Chocolate Festival.

Due to it's temperate climate, Hawaii is the only state that is able to grow cacao and February was declared by the governor as "Hawaii Grown Cacao Month." Supporting the emerging cacao industry, the Hawai'i Chocolate Festival celebrated all things chocolate with local chocolatiers, chocolate makers and chocolate products to sample and buy all in one place. The $20 advance tickets got us into the festival and 10 chocolate tasting samples of our choice. We did a quick scoping to see what was available and then started tasting.

A few quick photos from the show and some of what I bought and brought home--I'll apologize in advance for the pictures--I didn't take a lot to begin with and some were from my iPhone. It seems when you get me around good friends and good chocolate I get distracted and my priorities shift to just enjoying the day--but you'll get the idea of all the chocolate goodness we enjoyed. ;-)

My sample truffles Lilikoi & Butterscotch Liqueur from Choco le'a--a new favorite find (that's their table above which had the longest lines all afternoon for good reason). Mainly a catering and chocolate event company (favors, all you can eat chocolate bars at weddings and events, etc.), their truffles and gift boxes were amazing. You'll see more of them in my purchases below. (BTW: Choco le'a stands for "Chocolate Pleasures" and Collins Kawai--owner and artisan chocolatier certainly provided us with a lot of pleasure!) ;-)

One of two kinda "creepy" chocolate dancer/models, moving through the show and offering their chocolate-covered marshmallows from their hats. A little nerve-racking to find one creeping up behind you but they were more interested in the men. ;-)

Pretty chocolates from Sweet Paradise Chocolates in (from top left), Lilikoi Cream, Mango Mojito and Red Velvet. Good but replaced in my heart by Chocole'a's flavors which stand out more.

Sweet Paradise's booth, they had hot chocolate "shots" and assorted chocolate-dipped strawberries to purchase, along with some of their gift boxes.

In addition to the chocolate, chocolate desserts and even chocolate beer and vodka to taste, there were chocolate things to buy like chocolate pearls, chocolate-mint soap and lip balm, and even plants like chocolate mint and this beautiful chocolate orchid with it's brown flowers that have a faint chocolate smell.

This was a Chocolate-Dipped Cheesecake Bonbon from Tiki's Restaurant, one of the several chocolate desserts we sampled --along with chocolate mousse, chocolate pots de creme, Chocolate-Haupia Ono Pops, and Raw Chocolate Tart.

I didn't take pictures of that many of the different booths but my friends from Madre Chocolate and Ono Pops were there and a bunch of chocolatiers and other vendors both familiar and new. It is great to see so many local island businesses growing with chocolate and chocolate products. We had a blast trying all we could.

Of course I had to take some bars home--two new Madre Chocolate bars--a Hawaiian Dark Chocolate and a Pink Peppercorn & Smoked Salt Hawaiian Dark Chocolate. A new company Manoa Chocolates had a Dark Chocolate Bar with Dried Pineapple that we tried there and liked so I brought one of them home. Finally Waialua Estate had a new special Single Origin Extra Dark Chocolate bar that seemed like a must-try. I have not opened these yet, (willpower and rationing) so I'll have to report back later about them.

Finally I had to buy two sampler boxes from Choco le'a--the boxes themselves are adorable. One had two chocolate-dipped Oreos and two truffles--melon mochi and lychee (with an actual piece of lychee in the truffle). For the second box I succumbed to peer pressure and bought a box of assorted (strawberry, lemon, blueberry and plain) mochi truffles because Julie and Corrine did. ;-) These little gems with the chewy mochi inside of the dark chocolate are the stuff addictions are made of. Delicious! (The website for Choco le'a is coming soon.)

We left a bit "chocolated out" (yes it's true!) and were resorting to licking the salt off of the Frito's one group had to dip in the chocolate fountain on their table.

I'd love to tell you I went home and ate carrots but we had to come down from the chocolate high quickly and needed real food so we headed to nearby and recently opened La Tour Cafe, where I indulged in the very tasty La Tour Burger--Wagyu beef, pesto, roasted onions and tomatoes and Havarti cheese and served with crispy pommes frites with garlic aioli. It was an afternoon very full of good fun and delicious indulgences.

So that is a lot of chocolate to love this week! What things are you enjoying?


  1. I almost had to stop reading after the first paragraph for fear my jealousy would get out of control. :) What an amazing event! I love sea salt chocolate and now I must find some with smoked salt.
    And Wagyu!? What a day!

  2. I have to laugh at your creepy chocolate dancer models comment, because they do look a bit like clowns with all of that make up. Ahhhh!!! I was chastised by the doctor for gaining too much weight recently, and was asked to curb my sugar consumption. This post is only making me want chocolate. I would love to try lilikoi and butterscotch chocolate, it sounds so good and exotic! btw, I'm sending the kale waldorf salad your way for Souper Sunday.

  3. OMG all that chocolate looks amazing! Wish I could have been there...Thanks for sharing!

  4. Sounds like a great event. What's not to like about sampling chocolate, especially if it is from Hawaii :)

  5. che delizia...adoro il cioccolato!

  6. This does sound like an awesome event Deb. I couldn't be more jealous. Seriously. MOCHI truffles. I mean...I adore mochi to no end to begin with...and then to cover it in chocolate...amazing.

  7. The burger looks amazing! But passionfruit and butterscotch sounds like the most gorgeous chocolate combination!

  8. O.K. Now you are just bragging. There should be some kind of rule that if you live in a place as beautiful as Hawaii, you must give something up... like chocolate or something :)

    If you are ever near the Halekulani Resort, stop in and eat a piece of coconut cake at sunset on their patio for me.



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