Curators: David Elliott, ORCD and Eli Isele, CTAHR Extension
Taste the full range of cacao flavor, from freshly harvested fruit to meticulously-crafted dark chocolate. Dave and Eli share a flight of cacao fruit to taste in their fresh state - a unique experience that is utterly distinct from the flavor of chocolate. As a tasting counterpoint, a few of Hawaii's standout chocolate makers will highlight the terroir of Hawaii-grown cacao in a pure, final form as a high-percentage dark chocolates.
Hawaii-grown cacao and chocolate has received a spate of international awards and d recognition in recent years for outstanding fine flavor. Unlike most commodities or specialty fruits (e.g. Hayden mango or Fuji apple), cacao in Hawaii and in most origins is produced in genetically- diverse orchards, planted with open-pollinated seedlings from selections made by farmers & other ag professionals. Hawaii-grown cacao consistently demonstrates a diverse blend of genetic material from distinct populations of cacao spread across the species' place of origin in the Amazon region of South America. Eli will share information on his research to trial 10 genotypes of cacao in a replicated trial, with the final aim of finding high yielding, disease resistant genotypes that meet Hawaii's high bar for fine flavor. Seven of the genotypes are local Hawaiian derived selections - with their own interesting histories.