Chocolate Tour at Kokoleka Lani Cacao Farm in Kona

cacao farm in kona

We missed the tour of the cacao farm in Kona last week because I used the wrong GPS and was halfway the wrong way when I figured it out. But the owners were nice enough to reschedule us for the following week. The cacao farm in Kona was fascinating and inspiring. Above is a photo of me holding a pod I just cracked in one blow with the raw seeds inside.

Of course, I immediately shot a photo of a cacao pod and sent it to my husband, asking if he knew what it was. That’s because he is in California while I am in Hawaii. Although, we did tour the Vanillerie together not too long ago, and I imagine he would really enjoy this particular tour as well.

cacao tour in kona

His reply to me was “deformed papaya?” Followed by “hand grenade in disguise.” Then he wanted to know if I had found this pod on our property, as there is an entire area down the hill that I have not yet explored due to improper shoes at my disposal. 

Greg Colton, co-owner of the Kokoleka Lani Cacao Farm, planted more than 2,000 cacao trees. They have many locations, and the chocolate they make is different depending on where it was grown. Each microclimate on Big Island is unique, and we have 8 basic climate zones.

cacao farm tour in kona

After the tour, we cracked open our cacao pods, which we cut off ourselves from the tree. Inside are raw cacao nuts. At the moment, I have a plate of them on my kitchen counter, covered with wet paper towels, waiting to sprout. They need a canopy, like a madre de cacao, to provide filtered light, and we have perfect conditions on the lower side of our home in Kona.

Don’t plant one of everything, is sound advice for gardeners in Hawaii. It’s just so danged hard to choose.

At the end of the cacao tour in Kona, we sampled a wide variety of freshly made chocolate. Which a visitor can also buy in the gift shop. Each variety was slightly different. Our guide asked for a show of hands regarding favorites and hands shot up at random, making it very clear that tastes are personal.

You can find chocolate tours in Kona that cost more than a Ben Franklin, or you can sign up at Event Brite for $25. See the Puna Chocolate Company for more information on its Cacao Farm Tour in Kona. They are located just past the Central Bark Dog Park in Kona, by the Water Plant off the highway.

Elizabeth Weintraub
Elizabeth Weintraub

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