Sunday, May 2, 2010

Taste of Hawaii 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate Whole Macadamia Nuts

13 candies in net wt. 5oz (141g)
Ingredients: Semisweet extra dark chocolate (chocolate liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla), dry roasted macadamia nuts.
10g sugar/40g serving (25% by wt.)

When I was growing up in Honolulu, I routinely walked through my local Longs drugstore without thinking twice about the entire aisle of macadamia nuts. Sometimes I needed to bring gifts to folks on the mainland, in which case I waded into the boxes and cans, identically-sized and shaped except for their contents: roasted, salted, spicy, chocolate-dipped, glazed, crushed, crunchy in toffee, chewy in caramel, folded into brittle, tossed with popcorn. Now one brand even offers a SPAM-flavored mac nut, a novelty borne of a real Hawaii obsession. In recent years I haven't been able to eat any of the macadamia candies, though, because they've all been too sweet. The product was always about gift boxes of nuts with pretty pictures of palm trees, leis, and hula girls, not high-end chocolate, which meant no single-origin, organic, or fair trade, and nothing super dark.

During my recent visit home, I had a macadamia nut breakthrough: Hawaiian Sun, maker of popular drinks and jellies as well as chocolates, now produces chocolate covered mac nuts using 70% cacao content under the Taste of Hawaii label. Seeing as how I only had one option (and trust me, I looked for others on the shelves and this was it), I bought a bulk pack at Costco. I handed out a few boxes and kept a few for myself, but they've been popular and I'm down to half a box.

So are they that good? Well no, they're not the best chocolate or macadamia nuts that I've ever had, but they are quite enjoyable. There are 13 candies to a box, each a dollop of chocolate encasing one and sometimes two whole mac nuts and molded into a cup shape by a tiny ruffled muffin tin liner. The chocolate is very mild and smooth, dark but with no sharp edges, which makes sense given the context and market. The nuts are pleasant, though I'd venture that they might benefit from a very light dusting of salt to bring out their flavor, because aside from the crunchy texture they tend to disappear under the chocolate. Incidentally, among the many of these that I've eaten I've encountered a couple nuts that tasted off, perhaps on the edge of rancid; fortunately this experience has been fairly rare.

Conclusion: If you like very dark chocolate, are visiting Hawaii, and want to take back a few souvenirs, you now have a decent option: Taste of Hawaii 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate Whole Macadamia Nuts. 

No comments:

Post a Comment