By Léo Azambuja
The secret to a happy life, most would say, is chocolate. Now add a Hawaiian flair to it — or better, a Kauaian flair. How luckier are we for living on this island?
“Our chocolate is the best; our chocolate is really, really good,” said Jessica Tabalan, manager at Kaua‘i Chocolate Company in ‘Ele‘ele, Kaua‘i’s Westside. “We hand-make it right here in this little shop, and it’s a very high-quality chocolate.”
Since it first opened 13 years ago, Kaua‘i Chocolate Co. has won the hearts, souls and taste buds of thousands on the island. The family-owned business provides chocolate to as string of major hotels and resorts, rum and wine shops, businesses, and is hugely popular with residents and visitors.
Kaua‘i Chocolate Co. brings their main ingredient, the chocolate, from the Mainland. Once here, the chocolate is melted and confected into candies at their store at Port Allen Marina Center. While you shop for chocolates, you can see the magic happening right before your eyes, behind the store’s counter.
“Our best seller is the chocolate opihi,” said Jessica, explaining how it is made.
The bottom layer is a mini cookie made by Kaua‘i Kookies. A macadamia nut from the Big Island is placed on top of the mini cookie, with a layer of caramel holding them together. The whole thing is covered in dark or milk chocolate. The result is a unique and delicious chocolate candy shaped like an opihi.
Check out the bag of hamajangs too — the opihis that came out a little too large to fit in the box. This is one occasion when defective means better.
But it’s not just about opihi, Kaua‘i Chocolate Co. also makes chocolate covered pretzels, toffee, truffles of many flavors, fudge, smores and more. Everything is made there, behind the counter. They also have sugar-free chocolate; just ask for it.
“We hand-make everything here, we only use that machine,” said Jessica, pointing to device turning up chocolate and layering it over anything they put under it.
As if chocolate wasn’t enough to heighten your senses, Kaua‘i Chocolate Co. also makes ice cream. And yes, it’s top-notch.
Every year, for Valentine’s Day, Kaua‘i Chocolate Co. makes 100 boxes of chocolate-covered strawberries. The boxes are ready to pick up a day before Valentine’s Day, but they have to be reserved well in advance because they sell out really fast.
In case you missed the chocolate strawberries, you can still get a box of chocolate opihis. Or truffles. Or anything you put your eyes on in the store. Your partner will not be disappointed. And it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day. Any day can be chocolate day.
“You can’t go wrong with chocolate; chocolate is so good!” said Jessica, with a smile on her face.
They say you can’t buy happiness, but you can buy chocolate, so you just proved them wrong — it’s kinda the same thing.
Kaua‘i Chocolate Co. is at Port Allen Marina Center, the mall right next to Port Allen, more precisely at 4341, Waialo Rd. Suite 1B. They can be reached at 335-0448.