Day 21 – our last day in Hawaii. What better way to end it than going on a tour of a cacao farm and a chocolate tasting event!
We arrived at Garden Island Chocolate just as the rain had ended (for the moment). After signing a waiver we headed over to the first tent where Brittany, our hostess for the morning, had a display of their locally grown tropical fruits.
Gracing the side of the tent was a great spiderweb.
Koa, the owner, explained how the cacao husks grow and contain the beans.
He then demonstrated how they open the husk with a machete and extract the beans. We however were given hammers to whack them to crack them open.
We sampled the beans – they did not taste like chocolate, that comes later.
We left for a tour of the farm where we examined some various different cacao’s growing.
They come in all colors.
Cross pollination is a big deal – ‘pure’ beans are much harder to come by and therefore more expensive.
That waiver we signed – mostly for the risk of getting bonked in the head with falling coconuts.
Not sure what this is – but who cares – chocolate is coming soon.
There was also a nursery on the grounds with some great flowers.
What does a Coke bottle have to do with this? Urban legend says it is shaped after the cacao, but many dispute this.
After we tasted about 20 different chocolates (and had a great chocolate high going) Brittany made us some hot chocolate for that cold Hawaii morning (it was about 78 and humid).
The entire event was great fun, with many others in the group feisty and sarcastic. We learned something, had some great chocolate and stayed mostly dry.
Thanks to Brittany for being such a great hostess.
After a long traffic jam we made it to the Lihue Airport to be greeted by Santa.
After our short flight to Honolulu where, thanks to American Airlines being totally without any sort of customer service as they moved us from our original flights for no apparent reason (despite the fact I booked the flights and secured seats 8 months earlier).
When I protested their continued response was always ‘no idea why, too bad, nothing we will do for you’. Way to go American Airlines, you suck.
Now with 6 hours to kill we hung out in the Honolulu Airport, where they at least have some nice art.
And amazingly, inside of security, a Chinese and Japanese Gardens.
Eventually our flight left and after 2500 miles of open water – the California coast!
After another 4 hour layover in Phoenix, we finally made it to Ohio in the late afternoon. While the travel home was a bit of a let down, the trip itself was an amazing success.
We had numerous other flights, hotels, rental cars, restaurants, parks, cruise ship and many many more things that all went off without a hitch (even with a bump in the rental car).
The people of Hawaii were pleasant to us at all times, anxious to share their culture and ways, and generally understanding of the thousands of tourists who clog their islands on a regular basis.
If you haven’t been to Hawaii – I highly recommend it, but get off the main tourist spots – there is so much more.