Manoa Chocolate is a bean-to-bar chocolate maker on Oahu, Hawaii. This artisan producer is a part of a "new wave of single-origin chocolate makers based in the Islands.", according to a recent article in Honolulu Magazine. Hawaii recently began producing cacao (the only state in the U.S. that can grow the fruit), and local chocolate makers are excitedly jumping at the chance to produce a truly local product.
Last week I tasted two Manoa Chocolate bars. Here is my review of each:
72% Hawai'i Chocolate by Manoa
Manoa's 72% Hawai'i single origin bar is made with only three ingredients: cacao nibs, cane sugar and cocoa butter. But upon first taste, it hit me with a punch of flavour that was reminiscent of tropical fruit juice. To me, it was a bright combination of pineapples, grapefruit, tangerine, berry and some lemon-lime style acidity, with a nice chocolate after-taste. And all of that comes from the naturally fruity flavour of Hawaiian cacao.
I tasted this deliciously smooth and lightly creamy single origin Hawaii bar up against a 70% Peruvian chocolate (by a different chocolate maker). Interestingly, Manoa's 72% tasted sweeter, which may be due to the fruity flavour. It also made it clear that the tropical fruit flavour was not all in my head; the Peruvian chocolate had no fruit flavours and a straight up bitter cocoa taste.
I also found this strong fruity flavour in the single-origin 70% Hawaiian chocolate made by Madre, another bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Hawaii, showing that Hawaiian cacao is as tropical-tasting as the location where it is grown.
GOAT MILK 69% Chocolate by Manoa
Manoa's 69% Goat Milk chocolate bar was a very interesting chocolate. It was creamy and smooth, and definitely all natural with only four ingredients: cacao nibs, cane sugar, goat milk powder and cocoa butter. The colour was also gorgeously dark and rich.
Personally, I am not sure I liked the taste because it truly tasted like goat's cheese. And yet, I ate the entire thing because I was so fascinated by it. I have had one other chocolate bar made with goat's milk before, which was made by Missouri chocolate maker Askinosie, and it was goat's milk in white chocolate with nibs. Although sweeter, I was fairly sure then that goat's milk chocolate was not for me.
This chocolate is certainly worth a try for anyone who cannot have cow's milk, or if you truly love the taste of goat's milk. It is also an excellent chocolate to buy for the curiously brave chocolate lover.
Want to learn more about Manoa Chocolate's other products? Read my review on their crunchy Breakfast Bar here. Or visit Manoa's website for details: http://manoachocolate.com/.
If you want to taste other Hawaiian origin chocolate, Madre is another bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Hawaii who makes an excellent 70% Hawaiian Dark Chocolate bar. Madre also has a shop in Kailua, so if you are touring there for vacation, you can hit up both Manoa and Madre and try as much Hawaiian chocolate as possible! Click here for the details on Madre.