Story by Shannon Wianecki
Attention, Hawai‘i locavores: Add chocolate to the list of gourmet goodies grown within a 100-mile radius of your home.
When globe-trotting pastry chef Stanton Ho arrived to prepare Maui Culinary Academy students for the Fairmont Kea Lani’s annual Noble Grape benefit, he brought a bevy of chocolates with him—including a rare recruit from O‘ahu. Of the forty-three irresistible confections the students produced for the event, many were made with 70 percent dark Waialua chocolate (including the chocolate and butterscotch praline dessert pictured above).
Waialua chocolate is the newest harvest from Dole Company. The single-estate chocolate is quickly attaining cult status amongst culinarians. It’s sustainably grown and top-quality. After harvesting, the cocoa beans are sent to San Francisco to be roasted by Guittard’s expert chocolatiers. According to Chef Ho, the finished product compares favorably to industry heavy hitters such as Valrhona. “Growing on land where sugar cane, pineapple and coffee has been farmed gives it a nice acidity,” says Ho. You can purchase Waialua chocolate bars and Ho’s specialty truffles at www.dole-plantation.com.