Hawaii is rich with chocolate. From boutique brands that grow and make chocolate, to brands famous for chocolate macadamia nuts, these are the chocolates that locals love.
Hawaii is popular for growing pineapple and coffee, but did you know that Hawaii is one of the only places in the US that can also grow cacao and tea? Even as a born and raised local, Hawaii never ceases to amaze!
Below are popular local chocolates brands. I divided them in two sections:
First Section: Chocolate Bars
Boutique and specialty chocolate brands. These brands focus on Hawaii-grown cacao and chocolate bars.
Second Section: Chocolate Confections
Larger and mainstream brands. These brands focus on chocolate confections (like chocolate macadamia nuts and chocolate shortbreads).
There's a Hawaii chocolate for every taste ^_^
Meet the boutique chocolate brands of Hawaii! These brands specialize in chocolate bars which are all made in-house. Some of them also grow their own cacao while others buy cacao from local farmers.
To purchase chocolate from any of the below brands, you can buy direct from their online shop, or visit their retail shops in person.
To find multiple brands at once, visit Whole Foods Hawaii (they offer an impressive section of local Hawaii chocolates).
1. Manoa Chocolate
Manoa Chocolate is the most popular of the boutique chocolates. Though it's called Manoa Chocolate, they are based in Kailua neighborhood (you can visit the factory and tasting room).
My favorite Manoa bars are ones that incorporate other Hawaii ingredients:
- Lavender Bar - Made with lavender from Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm (our visit to the Maui farm here).
- Hawaiian Sea Salt Bar - 72% chocolate with Hawaiian sea salt.
- Kohana Rum Bar - Made with rum from Oahu-based Kohana Rum.
If you're purchasing for a gift, consider the giant 1 pound chocolate block. It's playful and you can choose among multiple flavors including the "Breakfast Bar" with cacao nibs and Kona coffee.
2. Lonohana Estate Chocolate
Lonohana Estate Chocolate has a retail shop and tasting bar in Kaka'ako (it's located in the SALT at Kaka'ako complex with other good food and shopping).
You can find Lonohana's full collection of chocolate at the retail space, along with chocolate drinks. These drinks are really good (I like the iced Koko-Colada, with coconut water, coconut-based chocolate, and Big Island vanilla).
Favorite chocolate bar flavors from Lonohana include:
- Coffee Crunch - featuring coffee from Ka'u on the Big Island.
- Jasmine Tea - because tea and chocolate go together beautifully.
- Salted Dark - a 70% dark bar with Hawaiian sea salt.
P.S. They also make vegan chocolate bars.
3. Maui Ku'ia Estate Chocolate
Maui Ku'ia Estate Chocolate is Maui-based and owned by Gunars Valkirs. Valkirs started growing cacao in 2013 and made his first harvest in 2018.
Like Lonohana and Waialua, Maui Ku'ia Estate grows the cacao and makes the chocolates. The 25 gram chocolate bars are popular, and I love the individual 5 gram squares.
If it's your first time tasting Maui Ku'ia Estate, consider one of the below sets:
- Bar Gift Box - Six chocolate bars with flavors like Maui Mokka and Peppermint.
- Sampler box - Also features cacao from Brazil and Ecuador.
- Grown & Made in Maui Dark Chocolate - Exclusively features chocolate that is grown and made in Maui
All these sets make great omiyage (vacation gifts to bring back for family and friends).
P.S. Maui Ku'ia Estate is based in Lahaina, be sure to visit Valley Isle Kombucha while you're in the area.
4. Waialua Chocolate
Waialua Chocolate is on the North Shore of Oahu. It's owned by Dole Food Co. (you might recognize the Dole name from pineapples). Their cacao is grown on former sugarcane plantation lands.
Waialua keeps it simple with three chocolate bars:
Chocolate Confections (Macadamia Nuts and Shortbread)
Fyi, I’ve included affiliate links below. I may earn a small commission (at no cost to you), if you purchase through the links.
Below are mainstream Hawaii brands that are popular for gifting. You can find some of these chocolates on Amazon.
If you're in Hawaii, you can also find them at stores including Costco Hawaii (they have a big selection) and Longs Drugs. Note: Bring your Costco membership card when visiting Hawaii, it often comes in handy.
These below brands focus on chocolate confections like chocolate-covered macadamia nuts and shortbread cookies.
5. Hawaiian Host
Hawaiian Host is the "big brand" that you see in all the stores. People love buying (and receiving) Hawaiian Host chocolate macadamia nuts as vacation gifts/omiyage.
Popular Hawaiian Host items include:
- AlohaMacs Milk - the classic, chocolate-covered macadamia nuts.
- AlohaMacs Dark - the dark chocolate version of the classic.
- Maui Caramacs - the classic, but with a layer of caramel between the macadamia nut and the chocolate shell.
6. Mauna Loa
Manua Loa is a brand all locals recognize. Their speciality is macadamia nuts, made in both sweet and savory offerings. The chocolates ones include:
- Milk Chocolate Mac Nuts - This is a gift set of six boxes. Each box is individually wrapped so you can gift these for six friends. It's a sweet and thoughtful gift. These chocolate are so popular you can even find them at Hawaii airports.
- Milk Chocolate Mac Nuts (individual box) - Same as above, but you can purchase them as individual boxes.
P.S. If you have a savory tooth, try sea salt roasted macadamia nuts. My grandpa and I use to snack on these all the time ^_^
7. Island Princess
Island Princess makes many fun products with chocolate. They're super good for sharing and very snackable:
- Choco Mochi - Chocolate-covered arare/mochi crunch (Japanese rice crackers).
- Mele Macs - Roasted macadamia nuts dipped in a layer of toffee and then chocolate. Rolled in powdered sugar.
- Royal Crunch - A big tub that mixes caramel popcorn, chocolate-covered caramel popcorn, and roasted macadamia nuts.
8. Big Island Candies
Big Island Candies is famous for shortbread cookies. Those in the know are also fans of their chocolates. Big Island Candies is based in Hilo but they also have a retail store at Ala Moana Center. In addition to the shortbreads, I like the following chocolates:
- Chocolate Macadamia Nut Rocky Road - Big squares with marshmallows and macadamia nuts.
- Dark Chocolate Kona Coffee Beans - Very ideal road trip snack.
- Mika Mints - Like little peppermint patties.
Enjoy, enjoy ^_^