Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Going to Hawaii? Think Tropical CHOCOLATE, Not Tropical Drinks

When I think of Hawaii, I think of palm trees, sunshine, flower print shirts and Tom Selleck.  I do not think about chocolate.  It just seems like a place that is too warm for such a melty treat. But that is not the case.
I also did not expect such good chocolate to be made in Hawaii either. But I was wrong about that too. My first ever shipment of Hawaiian chocolate came in last week and I was completely surprised by the taste and quality of this bean-to-bar chocolate made by Madre Chocolate on O'ahu, Hawaii. Not that I expected them to make bad chocolate, I just thought the climate would not be right for tempering and maintaining good chocolate. 

Admittedly, I expected to receive a box of wrappers with a pile of melted chocolate at the bottom of the box. But nope. Perfect condition. Not melted at all. Not even a little bit.  These guys knew how to package their chocolate to handle the high temperatures of Hawaii and its transport from their island to mine (albeit considerably colder temperatures on my Island!).

So far I have tasted all of the flavours that I bought, which were: Coconut Milk & Caramelized Ginger, Passion Fruit 70% Dark Chocolate, Pink Peppercorn & Smoked Salt (70%), and the straight up 70% Hawaiian Dark Chocolate.
My favourite - by far - was the Coconut Milk & Caramelized Ginger.  It was so smooth and creamy that it just melted in my mouth and honestly, tasted better than regular milk chocolate.  It was rich and full of flavour, so that a dark chocoholic like myself could enjoy it, but also creamy and milky with a hint of coconut flavour.  So this dairy-free chocolate is great for vegans and people who cannot have milk due to an allergy.

The caramelized ginger was different than I have tasted in the past.  The ginger was not chewy or soft, but sort of hard and had a milder flavour than most ginger.  So really there was just a hint of ginger flavour.  I could eat this chocolate bar all the time if I was just a little bit (or a lot) closer to Hawaii!

The Passion Fruit chocolate bar is Madre's most popular bar and I can see why. Normally, I do not like fruit and chocolate combinations, unless it is raspberry and chocolate or banana and chocolate, but Passion Fruit was reminiscent of the heavy tanginess and bitterness of raspberry and for me, it worked. My mouth was overloaded with fruit and chocolate flavour. It was not as smooth as the Coconut Milk & Ginger chocolate bar, and was a little sweeter tasting than the average 70% chocolate bar.  Overall, it was a great tasting experience and a great way to sample Hawaii through food.  I'd choose this over a fruity vacation drink any day!

The other chocolate bars were all equally as good.  The straight up 70% Hawaiian Dark Chocolate  bar confirmed my thoughts that Madre's Hawaiian chocolate is tangier and fruitier tasting than most other chocolate I've tasted.  Some single origin chocolates have a strong organic, earthy flavour, others, smoky and some industrial (like the smell of gasoline on a freeway), but Madre's Hawaiian chocolate encompasses the smell and flavours of tropical fruit.

As for that Pink Peppercorn & Smoked Salt chocolate bar, it was sweet and salty and slightly peppery all at the same time, with the same tangy fruitiness like the other Madre bars had.  The Peppercorns are ground up but still have a nice slight crunch.

According to, pink peppercorns are rarer and harder to find than other peppercorns.  They are also known for their fruity flavour in comparison to white peppercorns that are hotter, and have a mild citrus zest and sweet berry flavour.  I have to agree, I immediately thought of citrus and mixed berries when I tasted the chocolate, although I was expecting the flavour of black pepper for some reason.  I’ve had pink peppercorn many times, but I never thought about there being a difference in pepper flavours.  I just thought pepper was pepper.  My eyes have been opened!

The wonderful thing about eating single-origin chocolate is that you feel like you are taking a trip around the world every time you eat it.  And for a girl on a lonely Island in the North, who is not travelling as much as she used to, that is the best part about eating chocolate. And I often am surprised by the places that chocolate will take me.
If you are interested in Madre and their Hawaiian chocolate, stay tuned, one of their chocolate bars will be included in a prize basket for a contest that I am putting together in April!
Here are the package, company and website details from each chocolate bar reviewed today:
Coconut Milk & Caramelized Ginger, 70%, 1.5 oz (43g)
Madre Chocolate (Honolulu, HI)
Ingredients: Hawaiian cacao, organic sugar, organic cocoa butter, coconut, Hawaiian ginger, Mexican whole vanilla. Processed  in a facility that also processes nuts and milk.
Batch: MAR 02 2013


Passion Fruit Hawaiian Dark Chocolate, 70%, 1.5 oz (43g)
Madre Chocolate (Honolulu, HI)
Ingredients: Hawaiian cacao, organic sugar, organic cocoa butter, Hawaiian passion fruit, Mexican whole vanilla. Processed in a facility that also processes nuts and milk.
Batch: MAR 02 2013

Pink Peppercorn & Smoked Salt, 70%, 1.5 oz (43g)
Madre Chocolate (Honolulu, HI)
Ingredients: Hawaiian cacao, organic sugar, organic cocoa butter, Mexican whole vanilla, Hawaiian pink peppercorn, Hawaiian mesquite smoked salt. Processed in a facility that also processes nuts and milk.
Batch: JAN 31 2013

70% Hawaiian Dark Chocolate, 1.5 oz (43g)
Madre Chocolate (Honolulu, HI)

Batch: FEB 22 2013


  1. I love this :-) Thanks for sharing such a treat with me yesterday! I had so much fun with you. Can't wait to post our "From Bean to Bar" post.

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