Bean to Bar
As early as the late 1800s, cacao has been grown in Hawaii, the only state in the US with climate conditions favorable to growing cacao as a crop. But it wasn’t until just a few years ago that craft or artisanal chocolate-makers really began to get a foothold in Hawaii’s culinary world. Madre Chocolate is one such company, founded on Oahu in 2010 by Nat Bletter (an ethnobotonist and tropical plant researcher in the University of Hawaii) and Dave Elliot ( chocolate-maker). Though very-much enmeshed in Hawaii’s growing cacao community, the name of their company harkens to the central american origins of chocolate.
Madre Chocolate is a bean-to-bar company. Nat and Dave purchase raw, fermented beans directly from farmers and cooperatives that are then roasted in their facility in Kailua and processed in small batches to craft chocolate bars of rich flavors. Madre Chocolate believes in practicing direct and fair trade, where they get to know every farmer they buy cacao from to ensure that each and every cacao farm they work with is treating their land, plants, animals, and people well. Their commitment to these tenants, and to hand-made chocolate as won them numerous international awards. Learn more about Madre Chocolate here or visit them in their new shop in Honolulu’s Chinatown at 8 N. Pauahi St, where regular chocolate tasting classes and workshops are offered.