When you think of chocolate you might think happy thoughts… Joy from the silky sweetness that covers your tongue, excitement from the flavors that dance on your tastebuds or perhaps you are just a chocoholic at heart. What’s really invigorating about the Maui Ku’ia Estate Chocolate factory in Lahaina, isn’t just the fact that they craft ultra premium chocolates on Maui, have planted thousands of cacao plants on 20 acres of nearby farmland, are completely sustainable and environmentally friendly harnessing the sun and utilizing Tesla batteries to power their factory.. But it’s their passion for the community and making this world a better place one chocolate at a time.
A few months ago, I toured the state-of-the-art chocolate factory, which is right across the street from Star Noodle. It was in it’s infancy and isn’t open to the public just yet… But they are creating some of the world’s best chocolates right here in Hawaii. At the moment the cacao is coming from places like Ecuador, but that will soon change once the eventual 60 acres of local farmland are flourishing and fruiting locally grown cacao. At the brand new factory there is no impact to the environment as it’s 100% powered by solar panels and energy stored in Tesla batterie. It is a sight to see and will also eventually broadcast a live stream video online as well.
The chocolate flavors are diverse as the islands of aloha, with ten flavors to start including: Dark, Dark Maui Coffee, Dark Peppermint, Dark Blood Orange, Dark Lemongrass, Dark Milk, Dark Milk Maui Coffee, Dark Milk Peppermint, Dark Milk Blood Orange and Dark Milk Lemongrass. My favorites include Dark, Blood Orange and Dark Milk Maui Coffee. The Dark is very approachable, not too bitter and has a buttery feel to it… If you are a chocolate connoisseur you’ll delight trying all the flavors and if you’re not too adventurous simply taste the Dark Milk. The chocolates are made using cacao nibs, cocoa butter, sugar and roller dried milk power.
Founded by Gunars Valkirs, Maui Ku’ia Estate Chocolates are meant to be fine Made in Maui chocolates, but it is refreshing to also hear that 100% of the net profits will benefit Maui charities and local non-profit organizations. It is important to the team to focus on the community, share their aloha with non-profits and give back as they have done in year’s past via the Makana Aloha Foundation.
Sales of the chocolates are now available online. The factory will open sometime in early 2020 and also feature refreshments, retail products for purchase and a casual pavilion to relax, enjoy or hold special events with panoramic views of Lahaina. Get ready for freshly made cocoa, chocolate blended drinks and to watch the factory in action. What’s more fun than visiting an actual chocolate factory?!