Oahu Chocolate Guide: 13 Hawaiian Chocolate Destinations

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You most likely came across this page while searching for chocolate shops in Hawaii, possibly even chocolate shops in Honolulu in particular. But you might not be aware that Hawaii is the only state in the United States where chocolate can be grown successfully.

Theobroma cacao, also known as the chocolate tree, is native to Hawaii’s tropical climate and thrives there. Cacao beans are harvested from the cacao tree. During the fall, when the cacao pods are falling off the branches, the islands are transformed into stunningly beautiful places to visit. Cacao can actually be grown as far north as you can get on the island of Oahu, which makes it one of the most remote places on earth. When you visit Oahu, you won’t have to go far to find chocolate trees, and while you’re there, you can even take a tour of a working cacao farm as well as a number of chocolate factories in the area.

Honolulu, the capital city of Oahu, is home to the majority of the island’s chocolate shops, much like their neighboring island, The Big Island. If you want to visit a cacao farm on Oahu, you’ll have to travel outside of the city to get there, but the trip will be well worth it. The North Shore is where the majority of the island’s cacao is grown. During a tour of a cacao farm, you will gain knowledge about the processes involved in making chocolate, the history of cacao in Hawaii, and how the production of chocolate in Hawaii helps to maintain the viability of the local farming community.

Check out some of my other chocolate-themed itineraries as well!

About Hawaiian Chocolate Culture

If you ask any resident of the area, they will tell you that the city of Honolulu and the island of Oahu as a whole receive a significantly higher number of tourists than the other islands. And despite the fact that I’d argue that the Big Island is a better destination for chocolate, the chocolate shops in Honolulu are easier to get to than the ones in Hilo. In terms of global standards, all of the local cacao farmers are relatively small, but the demand for chocolate that is made locally is extremely high. This presents a difficult balancing act for the chocolate industry in Hawaii.

Despite the limited supply, Hawaii is still the best location in the United States to educate oneself about chocolate. The Big Island in particular provides wonderful opportunities to engage in one-on-one conversation with cacao farmers and enlightening insights into the process of making chocolate. But for those who won’t be able to make it over to Kona, here is some background information on chocolate and cacao grown in Hawaii:

A botanist brought cacao to the islands during the time of the civil war so that he could study it and begin growing it there. There were a few attempts made over the years to grow cacao on Hawaii for commercial purposes, similar to the way sugar cane was being grown on these enormous estates, but all of these efforts were unsuccessful. That is, up until a little over a decade ago, when Dole Foods established a commercial cacao farm on the North Shore, albeit a relatively small one.

Although subsistence farmers had been producing trace amounts of cacao for several decades, the commercial success of Dole encouraged many of these farmers to significantly increase the size of their cacao plantations. After that, some of them made the decision to begin processing their cacao into chocolate on their own, thus establishing the first tree-to-bar chocolates in the United States. Some of these are still manufactured today, with the most notable example coming from Hawaiian Crown.

Honolulu Chocolate Shops

By a wide margin, the most frequented location on the island of Oahu is Honolulu, which also happens to be home to the island’s greatest number of chocolate manufacturers and retailers. However, Honolulu’s chocolate shops can be quite spread out from one another, and the city’s bus system isn’t exactly well developed, so be sure to factor in enough time for travel when planning your visits. In addition, I have not included any high-end hotel chocolate shops in this article because, in contrast to the situation in East Asia, hotel chocolate shops in the United States are typically located there for the sake of convenience rather than because they provide genuine value.

Lonohana Chocolate

Lonohana’s retail store in downtown Honolulu is one of the most recent additions to the Hawaiian chocolate scene, and it is situated in the ideal location in terms of both convenience and quality. It is also one of the few places in the world where one can purchase bars of tree-to-bar Hawaiian chocolate that has been hand-made by a real chocolate master. Seneca Klassen has been cultivating cacao on the North Shore of Oahu for more than a decade, and he has been hand-making chocolate in Honolulu for slightly more than half a decade.

Before he opened the store at the end of 2017, his bars could only be purchased through his website. However, as of right now, you have access to any and all of his bars, truffles, and drinks on a daily basis. If you can hold off on taking a sip of it for a few seconds, you should try the Chocolate Thai Iced Tea because it is divine and leaves a pleasant floral taste in your mouth.

Address: 344 Coral St Unit 104a, Honolulu, HI 96813

Hours: 11am-6pm, daily (open until 8pm Fri/Sat)

Foodland (various locations)

Foodland is a grocery shop first and foremost, but in addition to that, they carry a considerably bigger range of local Hawaiian chocolates than is typical for a grocery store, including chocolates made by Madre Chocolate. Madre is a Hawaiian chocolate business that had operated stores in Kailua and Honolulu; however, they have since closed those stores and have instead been focusing their attention on selling their wares at local farmer’s markets.

Even if you’re short on time but know that you’re in the vicinity of a Foodland, it’s still a good idea to go in there and have a look at the chocolate options they have. Be more specific and ask for “high grade” Hawaiian chocolates, maybe even mentioning “Manoa,” if they lead you to the Hawaiian Host chocolates. If they do, you may ask about them (one of the more common Hawaiian chocolates).

Address: 1450 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814, USA (only this location is marked on the map below)

Hours: 5am-11pm, daily (Ala Moana location)

Malie Kai Chocolate

The very existence of this company is a significant reflection of the Japanese influence that has been exerted upon the chocolate scene in Hawaii. Malie Kai is a Japanese chocolate manufacturer that creates their line of dark, milk, and white chocolate bars using cacao sourced from Hawaii the majority of the time. They also have a line of single origin chocolates made with cacao sourced from off the islands, but unfortunately I was unable to sample any of those varieties during my visit.

When it comes to flavor, all of their chocolate creations, including the chocolate caramels, are on the less impressive side. However, they have done an excellent job with their branding, and everything is available in Japanese. Because they have such a robust market in Japan, every member of their staff is fluent in Japanese. In addition, the majority of the other customers, should you decide to pay them a visit, are likely to be Japanese.

Address: 2201 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA

Hours: 10am-10pm, daily

Hawaiian Crown Plantation

This is the second location for the Hawaiian Crown brand, which is known for being one of the most well-known chocolate producers in Hawaii. In spite of its relatively modest size, it offers a dizzying array of goods, including anything from chocolate bars and pineapple juice to bars of soap and powdered coffee.

Tom Menezes, the company’s owner and creator, has been working with cacao for decades and is quite knowledgeable about the process of turning cacao beans into delicious chocolate. Since the chocolate-covered treats weren’t quite what I was looking for, I’m going to have to settle with the bar of coffee-flavored dark chocolate. On the Big Island, where Hawaiian Crown also operates a farm, there is a store that is located quite near to the farm. If you go on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays at 2:00 p.m., you may take a tour of the farm for $15 per person.

Address: 159 Kaʻiulani Ave #105, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA

Hours: 8am-8pm, daily

Kailua Chocolate Shops

Although there is another city with the name “Kailua” on the Big Island, this city may be reached by a speedy flight or a drive of one hour. To the best of my knowledge, there is just one chocolate store located there, and its name is Manoa Chocolate. This area is located on the eastern side of Oahu. However, there is also a cacao farm located a short distance north of the city that provides excellent insight into the process of creating chocolate and the agricultural lives prevalent on Hawaii.

Manoa Chocolate

While Dylan Butterbaugh was still in school in 2010, he launched Manoa, which is currently owned and operated by him and his wife, Tamara Butterbaugh. Manoa was first founded by Dylan. Over the course of its history, Mnoa has developed into one of the most successful small-batch chocolate manufacturers in the whole globe and, without a doubt, one of the most successful in Hawaii. Over the course of the last nine years, they have built the company into a formidable organization for promoting awareness of Hawaiian terroir.

Their bars are made with cacao sourced from a variety of origins, but they are particularly proud of the bars made with cacao sourced from local farms. Cacao sourced from local farms is a very limited resource, and the company is working very hard to increase the availability of it.

The group will be able to offer much bigger factory tours at Manoa’s store once the extension there opens in the spring of 2019. Because of this, they will be able to increase the amount of cacao that they process for local cacao farmers who want to ensure that the chocolate production stays as local as the cocoa. It is highly recommended that you try everything and bring some lavender dark milk or a ghost pepper bar home with you (in my honor; mahalo).

Address: 2nd floor, 315 Uluniu St Suite 203, Kailua, HI 96734, USA

Hours: 9am-5pm, daily (closes at 2pm on Sundays)

21 Degrees Estate

Visitors can get a glimpse into Hawaiian agriculture at 21 Degrees Estate, which is one of the few cacao farm tours available on Oahu. The estate has been doing so for years. The land on the farm, which is run by a family, is open to visitors twice a week, in addition to additional groups of visitors who have made prior arrangements.

The tours last between two and two and a half hours and include a tasting of chocolate and honey, as well as a look around their fruitful farm, an in-depth explanation of how chocolate is made from tree to bar, and more. Don’t leave without purchasing some of the Estate’s honey, which is known as “Kahalu’u Gold.”

Address: 47-546d, Mapele Pl, Kaneohe, HI 96744, USA

Hours: tours available Tuesdays & Saturdays at 1pm (or by appointment for large groups)

North Shore Chocolate

The North Shore of Oahu is home to a significant number of the most important cacao plantations in Hawaii, including the Dole Plantation. Although it has the atmosphere of a rural area, the North Shore of Oahu is only one to one and a half hours away from the center of Honolulu and provides a fantastic view of the still-prominent agricultural sector of the islands. However, during the summer months, this place is crawling with surfers; therefore, you should plan your trip accordingly.

Dole Plantation (Waialua Estate)

A post shared by @arturo_mundial on Feb 27, 2019 at 2:57pm PST

Dole? Isn’t that a company that sells fruit? Indeed, that is the case! Over the course of the past century and a half, the Dole Fruit Company has been cultivating pineapples on Hawaii. However, over the course of the last couple of decades, they have also begun cultivating cacao on the island. The decision made by Dole to cultivate these chocolate trees actually had a significant bearing on the cultivation of cacao in Hawaii. Their cacao farm, which spans a total area of 50 acres, is currently the most productive cacao farm in all of Hawaii.

Neither their cacao farm nor their chocolate factory are, sadly, open to the general public. On the other hand, if you go to the Dole Plantation, which is located on the North Shore of Oahu, you’ll get to see some cacao trees that are already fully grown on their property. In addition to some of their more well-known pineapple creations, you can purchase some of their single-estate Hawaiian chocolate when you visit their gift shop, which is called the “Farmer’s Market,” or when you shop at their online store. You can also find their chocolate, which is pretty darn good, in select shops located all over Oahu. You can get it there.

Address: 64-1550 Kamehameha Hwy, Wahiawa, HI 96786, USA (this is the address for the Dole Plantation Tourist Center/Area)

Hours & Prices: 9:30am-5:30pm, daily

Honolulu Chocolatiers

FULL DISCLOSURE: While I was on the island, I was unable to make it to any of these chocolatiers so I cannot comment on their offerings. I’ve included the following in the event that any of you are looking for chocolate-based treats other than bars, such as truffles and confections. In most cities of Honolulu’s size, there are significantly more chocolatiers than there are here; however, the heat makes it difficult to compete! The locations of chocolatiers are indicated on the map with a violet color.

Chocolate On A Mission

This chocolate store in Honolulu sells bars, barks, bonbons, and apparently anything else that can be made out of chocolate. There’s something for practically every client, with the chocolate-covered fortune cookies being a local favorite. The chocolate-covered fortune cookies are made from white, milk, and dark chocolates.

They do, however, offer an online store that you may go through in the event that you are unable to locate the physical location of the company. Chocolate On A Mission’s prices are comparable to those of other chocolatiers in Honolulu, making it an affordable option. Because a Christian organization that operates as a charity and is headquartered in the Honolulu region owns the store, all of the money made there is donated to organizations that work with disadvantaged people on the island of Oahu.

Address: 101 N Pauahi St 3rd Floor, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA

Shop Hours: 8am-5pm, weekdays

Pierre Marcolini

A post shared by Pierre Marcolini (@pierremarcolini) on Feb 28, 2019 at 2:32am PST

Even though the craft chocolate movement in the United States has gained a lot of popularity, there are still some people who believe that European chocolate is superior. In this particular instance, things are a little bit confusing because Belgian chocolate maker Pierre Marcolini has been making his own chocolate since the middle of the 2000s, and I have to say that it is pretty damn good.

The assortment of macarons, bonbons, and other traditional Belgian candies offered by Marcolini may be made with high-quality chocolate, but it is not particularly Hawaiian in flavor. The blend of flavors is somewhere between Japanese and European, and although it is decidedly on the more expensive side, it is a welcome relief from all of the tropical fruits that are typically featured. The price of a single bonbon, including tax, can range anywhere from $3 to $3.50.

Address: 1450 Ala Moana Blvd, Ala Moana Center, Level 3 Ewa Wing, Honolulu, HI 96814, USA

Shop Hours: 9:30am-9pm, Mon.-Sat.; 10am-7pm, Sun.

Padovani’s Chocolates

A post shared by Padovani’s Chocolates (@padovanihawaii) on Feb 20, 2019 at 11:56am PST

Padovani’s is a combination of the culinary prowess of France and the flavors of Hawaii. Its Honolulu storefront, which is surprisingly large for a chocolatier, reflects this combination. Philippe Padovani, who is also the shop’s owner and chocolatier, moved to Hawaii in the 1980s and worked for a number of years in various hotel kitchens across the islands before opening this particular shop in 2006. The selection of bonbons is impressively large, with several dozen flavors to choose from. However, each bonbon costs approximately $4 on average, making them quite pricey.

But with time and experience comes specialization, which in this case has resulted in a selection of French-style bonbons that can be customized to fit the needs of any occasion.

Address: Suite 280, 650 Iwilei Rd, Honolulu, HI 96817

Shop Hours: 8:30am-5pm, weekdays; 10:30am-4:30pm, Sat.

Godiva Chocolate

Every single Godiva shop in Honolulu, as well as the rest of the United States, has been forced to shut its doors for good! If you look around this website for a while, you’ll see that I have a strong aversion to the “luxury” chocolate company Godiva. When I was a young adolescent, the Belgian firm has been there for decades, and it was one of my favorite chocolate stores back then. Even though I’ve had Godiva on three different countries, the flavor is same everywhere.

I continue to believe that it is a step up from mass-produced chocolates, but if you’re willing to spend $3 per truffle (Godiva chocolates are sold by weight, so this varies), then I’d recommend you head elsewhere. If you’re willing to spend $3 per truffle, then I’d recommend you head elsewhere. If you are still set on purchasing Godiva goods, then this store has the typical assortment of roughly two dozen types of bonbons, chocolate-covered fruits, and chocolate ice creams. There are other Godiva stores throughout the city of Honolulu.

Address: 1450 Ala Moana Blvd, Ala Moana Center, Honolulu, HI 96814, USA

Shop Hours: 9:30am-9pm, Mon.-Sat.; 10am-7pm, Sun.

Big Island Candies

A post shared by Big Island Candies (@bigislandcandies) on Mar 20, 2019 at 9:30am PDT

Big Island Candies has locations in both Hilo and Honolulu, but the variety of the Hawaiian Islands is what they want to capture in their assortment of chocolates and cookies. This may seem like a Herculean undertaking, but they appear to have succeeded in accomplishing this aim. Their mac nut shortbread and other cookie-style delicacies, which are popular in gift boxes, represent a significant portion of the island’s Hawaiian and Japanese populations, respectively.

Passion fruit, Kona coffee, and salted macadamia nut are just a few of the exotic tastes that can be found in their assortment of chocolates. However, the fact that they utilize “white coating” rather of actual white chocolate causes me pause, and as a result, I wouldn’t buy a box without giving it some serious consideration first. If you purchase there in person, you’ll be happy to know that you may taste many of their chocolates and cookies right there on the premises.

Address: 1450 Ala Moana Blvd, Ala Moana Center, Honolulu, HI 96814, USA

Shop Hours: 9:30am-9pm, Mon.-Sat.; 10am-7pm, Sun.

Chocolate Le’a

A post shared by Choco le’a (@chocoleahawaii) on Apr 5, 2019 at 2:30pm PDT

Because Honolulu covers such a large area, the shop is technically located in Manoa, despite the fact that its address is still considered to be within the city limits. Having said that, the exterior of Choco Le’a makes it appear as though it should be located in a quaint part of Cape Cod, while the interior is an oasis of tropical chocolate flavors and confections. Chocolate that was made in Europe and chocolate that was sourced locally in Hawaii were both incorporated into the final product by the business’s owner and head chocolatier.

She not only makes bonbons in 18 different flavors, but she also makes fruit that has been dipped in chocolate and boxes of pave chocolate. Each bonbon is exquisitely tempered and costs just $2.50, which is within the realm of reasonable pricing. I’m not sure if it’s the advertising or the lilikoi truffles that are calling my name, but I really wish that I could have driven over here while I was in Hawaii!

Address: 2909 Lowrey Ave, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA

Shop Hours: 10am-6pm, Mon.-Sat.

See’s Candies

A post shared by See’s Candies (@seescandies) on Mar 23, 2019 at 9:07am PDT

When I was a youngster, my mom would always bring home a box of chocolate from See’s Candies whenever she returned from one of her business trips. Having my mom back home was like having whipped cream on top of a great delicacy, and I always looked forward to it. But I just tried See’s Candies for the first time in a while, and I was shocked by how excessively sugary and lacking in flavor it was.

See’s is a well-known store all over the world, and there is a location of See’s Candies in Honolulu; however, I believe it is my responsibility to direct you toward a local chocolatier or chocolate maker in Honolulu, such as Lonohana or Manoa Chocolate. See’s is one of the most well-known candy stores in the world. If, despite this, you are adamant about going to See’s, this particular establishment is a full-service one that sells their lollipops, nut clusters, and several types of truffles, including one that is part of a collection called the Hawaii Collection.

Address: 1450 Ala Moana Blvd, Ala Moana Center, Honolulu, HI 96814, USA

Shop Hours: 9:30am-9pm, Mon.-Sat.; 10am-7pm, Sun.

Oahu Chocolate Map

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Have you ever visited Honolulu, or Hawaii in general?


Who owns Manoa Chocolate?

Dylan Butterbaugh

Each bar was hand made using the best quality ingredients and cacao that was procured in an honest and responsible manner. Whether you make your purchase at one of our retail stores on Oahu, through our online shop, or in person at our Chocolate Factory, we hope that you have a wonderful time with any of these options. Dylan Butterbaugh, the owner and chocolatier, bids you a warm welcome.

Is Hawaii famous for chocolate?

Chocolate may be found in abundance in Hawaii. The following is a list of chocolates that are popular in the area. These chocolates range from boutique businesses that cultivate and create chocolate to brands that are renowned for making chocolate macadamia nuts.

What does Hawaiian chocolate taste like?

The rich, fertile, and naturally sweet soil along the Kaukonahua stream provides an exceptional “terroir” for the cultivation of Waialua Estate’s Hawaiian cacao, which is grown along the stream’s banks. You’ll initially pick up notes of bright banana and pineapple, and then you’ll transition into flavors of dark cherry, berry, and raisins.

What does Manoa mean in Hawaiian?

dense, substantial, extensive, and breadth
In Hawaiian, the word “moa” can be translated to mean “thick,” “solid,” “vast,” “depth,” or “thickness.” On the north shore of Kauai, there is an additional valley that goes by the name Mnoa.