Big Island Candies is a locally owned Hawaii company. They are popular for signature shortbreads. We come to purchase omiyage (small gifts to friends and family). From cookies to mochi brownies, chocolates, pies, manju, and much more, here are our favorite picks ^_^
Do you know about omiyage? It’s popular in Hawaii. Omiyage is a Japanese term that means souvenir but it’s not about getting souvenirs for yourself. Omiyage is all about giving souvenirs to friends and family.
And because we really love food in Hawaii, we often seek out desserts and sweets for omiyage.
Our suitcase is packed to the brim with all sorts of omiyage when we visit friends and family on the mainland. From chocolates to coffee, tea, and cookies, it’s all about the omiyage!
Omiyage doesn’t need to be expensive, but it should be thoughtful. It’s also a real treat for those on the mainland because not everyone can make it out to Hawaii.
I’ll be doing a series of omiyage posts and we’re starting Big Island Candies! Big Island Candies is a popular omiyage spot for many locals.
The headquarters are in the Big Island, but they also have a store at Ala Moana Center (make sure to check out all the other good eats at Ala Moana when you’re at the mall).
To make things convenient, they also have an online store.
We like Big Island Candies for a few reasons:
- Most important: it’s delicious!
- Everything is packaged nice (no need to gift wrap).
- Big range of price points. From small treats to big gifts, they have a wide range in pricing.
We come most often to purchase gifts for friends and family on the mainland, but we also gift it locally to friends as sweet (literally!) thank you gifts. We get treats for ourselves as well ^_^
Here’s what we order:
Shortbread are the most popular item. It seems like 90% of the time when someone is gifting Big Island Candies, it’s the shortbread. Specifically, the chocolate dipped shortbreads. They come in many different flavors. Here’s how I split them up:
The classic, elegant rectangular shortbread with rounded edges. Dipped on the diagonal from corner to corner, that’s the signature look. If it’s your first time trying Big Island Candies, make it dipped shortbreads:
- Butter (no nuts) dipped in milk or dark chocolate.
- Macadamia nut dipped in dark chocolate or green tea or milk chocolate caramel (I’m not sure why but
- milk chocolate caramel is the only one dipped horizontally instead of diagonally).
- Coffee dipped in dark chocolate.
- Lemon dipped in white chocolate.
- Taro dipped in white chocolate (such a special flavor!)
The no dip ones are good when you want something less decadent but still tasty. I like these with a hot cup of tea:
- Macadamia Nut.
- Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut.
- Butter (no nuts).
This category is where I group seasonal and special flavors, including sugar-free options. The seasonal shortbreads are rotate throughout the year. I have more info about the Lunar New Year Almond Shortbreads at the bottom of the post.
Hooray for butter mochi! So you know all about butter mochi in Hawaii from this post, right? ^_^
Now imagine crossing that with a brownie. The result are mochi brownies that taste like butter mochi with a brownie component.
The mochi brownies come in chocolate and lilikoi (passion fruit). They have the chew of mochi with the cake-y element of a brownie. The mochi brownies come in small sheet trays that you can cut directly in. We usually cut them in 6-8 pieces and share.
We love manju in Hawaii…so much so that we have a whole post about manju!
Manju is a filled cookie-esque Japanese pastry that we’ve lovingly adopted in Hawaii. Like everything that comes to Hawaii, manju was embraced and over the years Hawaii developed a local style of manju.
Big Island Candies makes peanut butter and pineapple manju.
Pies aren’t available online. But if you’re on Oahu or the Big Island, you can buy a whole pie to take home. They come frozen so you just bake them and you get that flakey crust and fruit filling hot from the oven.
It’s always a fun hit at dinner parties and so easy for serving a nice hot pie. Don’t forget the ice cream, make it à la mode. They have two pie flavors: apple and pineapple-peach.
Harumi’s Hawaiian Salt Cookies
These are favorite product here. I remember when they first launched Harumi’s Hawaiian Salt Cookies a few years ago. It was a big deal and the cookies were often sold out. Luckily the cookies because a part of their regular offering so you can find it year round.
They’re delicate and buttery with a hint of salt. I’m also a fan of the packaging on these specific cookies…the simple but elegant blue and white combo is so pretty.
Holiday / Special Edition
The special edition treats are released throughout the year for holidays. The best way to stay on top of the holiday specials is on Instagram or visit the shop. For Lunar New Year, they made a special version of Chinese Almond Cookies. These Almond Shortbreads are combo of classic Chinese almond cookie with shortbread.
The result is an almond cookie shortbread dipped in white chocolate with a red dot in the center ^_^