growing cacao in Hawaii

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

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43 Responses

  1. Cheryl
    Twitter:
    says:

    Same plant. Grown in different locations. Each with its own set of issues. Wrapped in plastic and covered in light. Who would have guessed?
    Cheryl recently posted…Black #Cohosh: Cimicifuga racemosaMy Profile

  2. Donna Janke says:

    It must have been quite interesting to see the cacao fields in Hawaii and hear about the challenges faced with growing the crop there. Chocolate lovers are often unaware of all that is involved in creating our treats. I hope things go well with the growing in Hawaii.

    • Doreen
      Twitter:
      says:

      Thx for your comment, Donna. Yes, I really find it quite fascinating to see how the cocoa grows in the different countries I have visited, and to see how chocolate makers work with the beans & prepare their chocolate in each country as well. It’s all different, and makes the end product unique from place to place. Glad to share all this info, and much more in-depth coverage will be found in Volume II of Chocolatour. Stay tuned!
      Doreen recently posted…how to deliver an award-winning speechMy Profile

  3. I’ve never seen cacao pods before. This was a really interesting article, especially the part about why chocolate and coffee go so well together! Glad to hear we’re working on growing cocoa domestically.
    Meredith Wouters recently posted…Spring Leaf PaletteMy Profile

  4. Seems like chocolate offers so many opportunities for learning about different places and cultures!
    Irene S. Levine recently posted…Silk Brasserie: Contemporary and casual dining in LyonMy Profile

    • Doreen
      Twitter:
      says:

      Indeed, Irene! I had no idea when I began researching chocolate 5 years ago that this would become my life project! But believe me … I am LOVING it! And I really enjoy sharing the info with you all. Can’t wait to do our 1st group chocolatour. I love the excitement in the room when I do a chocolate talk, but taking it on the road with a group of chocolate-loving women will be a dream-come-true!
      Doreen recently posted…growing cacao in HawaiiMy Profile

  5. Viv says:

    This is fascinating! Added to our travel list – gotta love being able to combine chocolate and Hawaii in one trip.
    Viv recently posted…Travel Hawaii: Mucking About on MolokaiMy Profile

  6. How very interesting to learn about the problems of growing these plants. I’m curious to know if these rose beetles are native or somehow were transplanted from another country.
    Neva recently posted…A Mother’s Undying Love Lives OnMy Profile

  7. I didn’t know they grew chocolate in Hawaii- coffee yes, so I guess it makes sense. Would love to visit one of the sites where it’s grown.
    santafetraveler recently posted…Mother’s Day 2014: Ode to my momMy Profile

    • Doreen
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Billie: I wish chocolate did grown on trees! Alas, there is quite a process involved in transforming the raw cacao beans into cocoa mass and cocoa butter, which then go thru even more processing to become chocolate!

      Yes, it’s really cool that coffee and cacao often grow in close proximity. You’ll find that to be the case in many regions including Peru, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Hawaii.
      Doreen recently posted…the impact of colour in our livesMy Profile

  8. noel says:

    Yes I’ve heard that coffee and cacao are nice companion plants and can grow well in rows along with shading the cacao from the hot sun
    noel recently posted…San Francisco Cherry blossom parade, Travel Photo Discovery #43My Profile

  9. Patti says:

    Growing cocoa 101 – a great little lesson! I’ve always been amazed that something so yucky inside can produce such wonderful goodness!
    Patti recently posted…When Mother’s Day Rolls Around ~My Profile

  10. Michelle says:

    I learned a lot from your post. I had no idea how cocoa was grown, but will hope and pray the beetles stay away. Not sure what I’d do without chocolate :)

  11. Your research and dedication to chocolate is our gain. Keep it up!

  12. Yum! I’m going to Kauai next week. Hope I get to taste some native chocolate!
    Carole Terwilliger Meyers recently posted…Travel Articles: Living History Museums, VirginiaMy Profile

  13. How interesting! I learned a lot from your article.

  14. alison says:

    Doreen-what a tough job you’ve got researching for your book!! We have a terrific company here in Boston -Taza- that gives tours. My daughter and I went last year and were amazed at the process. The method they use is from Mexico and it’s a very rustic stone ground chocolate. Different and delicious! Great information.
    alison recently posted…Lunedi Senza Carne- Italian StyleMy Profile

    • Doreen
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Alison: Yes, Boston is definitely on my list of places to visit during my research. I tasted Taza several years ago, but not lately, so I would like to taste it again. I am not fond of the courser Mexican-style chocolate, but every once in awhile, I find a company that blows me away with their technique. And methods and tastebuds change, so I am always willing to give it another try. Thanks for dropping in to the blog and for the recommendation.
      Doreen recently posted…how to deliver an award-winning speechMy Profile

  15. Susan Cooper
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hope they are able to continue to find solutions to overcome some of the problems that have arisen in growing the chocolate in Hawaii. Who knew growing cocoa could be so difficult?
    Susan Cooper recently posted…How I Draw On My iPad-Part 9 “Dragonflys”My Profile

  16. Where have you been all of my life! Oh my goodness I love all of this valuable info! I have only been on one Chocolate tour in Seattle at Theo Chocolate. Currently, that is my favorite tasting chocolate .Loved your post! Thank you!
    Suzanne Stavert recently posted…A Letter to My Almost Empty Nester FriendsMy Profile

    • Doreen
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Suzanne and thanks for your comment. Yes, I’ve had Theo Chocolate and it is good. Haven’t yet been to Seattle for chocolate research (it’s been a long time since I’ve visited the city!) But I hope to soon.

      Regarding my chocolate research, you may be interested in the first volume of my book, “Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate.” You’ll find out all about it at http://chocolatour.net. Thanks!
      Doreen recently posted…growing cacao in HawaiiMy Profile

  17. Tracie Howe says:

    One more reason to love Hawaii! I would love to do a chocolate tour alongside a coffee tour in HI.
    Tracie Howe recently posted…Our partner blog: Jen & Tracie Go | Always exploring, always offbeatMy Profile

  18. Chris
    Twitter:
    says:

    What an interesting travel perspective Doreen. Chocolate (used in many forms) is one of the things I’m most intrigued about when we hit Mexico in July (amongst many other hopefully delicious Mexican delights!)
    Chris recently posted…United in our destinationMy Profile

  19. Christopher James says:

    I’m yet to taste a Hawaiian chocolate. But I bet it tastes good.

  20. You’ve tapped into the heart of chocolate lovers and given them something to think about as well. Who knew that cocoa was this involved. As for me, if there are nuts in that chocolate, I don’t share. It’s all mine.

  21. I love travelling vicariously with you. Your words, your photos, and your passion for this really put me where you are, or have been.
    I’m not sure if I’d ever get to Hawaii, but thanks to you, I’d know exactly where I’d want to go.
    Thanks, and continued happy chocolotouring!

  22. Arleen
    Twitter:
    says:

    What a clever idea to wrap in plastic and use lights at night. Great way to prevent pesty bugs and not use pesticides. I love the fact we are trying to grow the coca bean in the US. I used to go to the big Island all the time and I know where the Dole plantation is.
    Arleen recently posted…How Mentally Strong People Run the WorldMy Profile

    • Doreen
      Twitter:
      says:

      Yikes, Arleen! Just to clarify, it’s cacao/cocoa that we’re talking about here. Coca is the plant used to make cocaine and is largely grown in South America. I was really pleased to see that Peru has gotten rid of all of their cocoa plants and replaced them with cacao from which fantastic Peruvian chocolate is now being made.

      Yes, Hawaiian chocolate is really awesome, too, and hopefully an increasing number of acres will continue to be planted with cacao so that the cocoa production will meet the demands of local chocolate makers.

      Thanks for stopping by the blog, and for your comment.
      Doreen recently posted…the impact of colour in our livesMy Profile

  23. Derek Lanter says:

    Hi Doreen,

    Thank you for your feature on Hawaiian Chocolate and Cacao. I think you covered the state of the industry quite well in your visit to the islands with visits to local farms, chocolate shops and research areas, your presentation at the Hawaii Chocolate Festival, and 3rd annual Hawaii Chocolate and Cacao Association conference.
    We are happy to be included in your blog and upcoming book Chocolatour 2, and it nice to see that many of your readers write in to share their thoughts and comments. Your writings help to promote awareness of the Hawaii Chocolate industry and we all appreciate that. Glad you could come and spend time getting to know the different people and personalities and we look forward to seeing you again.

    Aloha!
    Derek Lanter,
    President Hawaii Chocolate and Cacao Association,
    Sales and Operations Manager
    Waialua Estate Coffee and Chocolate.

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