So I found myself in Honolulu a few weeks ago. I had to go to Hawaii for a conference, something I’ve been orchestrating for some time now, and while my thoughts weren’t really on chocolate as I walked along Waikiki Beach, I still found some.
Most of the stores I went into were jam-packed with the typical tourist fodder, I finally found a shop that wasn’t an ABC Store (anybody who’s been to Hawaii will know what I mean) and hidden on a shelf were some nicely packaged small bars that stated quite proudly on the box that the beans were grown right on Oahu not too far from where I was staying.
A glance at the back checked most of the right boxes, with mentions of single-origin chocolate and an alleged unique Hawaiian taste. And even though part of me suspected it was all for the benefit of the tourists, I still picked up a bar of Malie Kai chocolate.
The one I ended up with was a limited edition of their dark chocolate, with added cocoa nibs – no percentage is offered, but I’d guess at about 60%. Malie Kai say this is the rarest chocolate on Earth due to the fact that they only produce about 15,000 pounds of cacao a year, and it is the only American-grown single-estate chocolate. And while rare doesn’t necessarily translate into tasty, it actually does this time.
The chocolate is really good – a lovely smooth taste that is packed to the gills with fruitiness. Once that big berry punch subsides, there’s some lingering vanilla hints, admittedly from vanilla beans, that are a good way to finish. There aren’t too many nibs mixed in, but the ones that are there are in nice large pieces and add both texture and some bitterness that helps cut through the sweeter flavours of the chocolate.
The one downside is that the bar is a meagre 1.5 oz, or 43 g, making it a pricey little box. But after all, they don’t make a whole lot of it in a year. Definitely worth looking for if you happen to find yourself in the 50th State and a welcome change from the typical chocolate covered macadamia nuts.