We found that an extra tour had been arranged for a Friday at 11 am, and made our reservation. Although the tour was not cheap, it proved to be worthwhile. It was out-of-doors in the cacao grove, and smoothly narrated by the owner/operator/amateur-philosopher Mr Cooper, formerly of the Carolinas, who started out by noting that he and his wife had moved to Hawaii because, if you're going to have the stresses of modern life, you might as well have them in Hawaii.
On this profound note, Mr Cooper instructed us all about cacao and its processing, while walking through the grove. The weather was perfect, the group was perhaps 25 people, and the talk was highly informative, with questions solicited and answered. These people like their jobs. The fee included a small tasting, which included a little bit of the Criollo chocolate, made from the minority Criollo bean and tasting more earthy than the regular Forestere-bean chocolate. Afterwards, one of us bought a whole 1-pound bar of Criollo and, a month later, ordered several more directly by phone from the mainland.
In fact, after tasting the Criollo bar at home, we threw out all our Lindt and Ghirardelli chcocolate bars, which now tasted like State-fair cotton-candy by comparison. (Only the Ritter brand from Germany now seems tolerable.) Be warned: a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The Coopers make real chocolate, and after having it, you may find (as we did) that standard American-made chocolate (from foreign beans, of course) is garbage by comparison. The Coopers only use chocolate grown in Hawaii - the only chocolate groves in the USA - and what a difference a small-crop grower makes. Really.
Our only hope now is to beg for discounts on future purchases. Like we said: a little knowledge ....
To get there, follow the instructions on their website. You'll find the place. And no, we have no relation to the Cooper family.
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