Manoa Chocolate Hawaii
There’s only one state in the country that can create home-grown, bean-to-bar chocolate, and that’s Hawaii. (Thanks, Eisenhower!) With Manoa Chocolate, Butterbaugh is encouraging the development of a cacao industry in Hawaii.
Why we chose these treats:
Butterbaugh sources as many cacao beans — i.e. the seeds used to make chocolate — as he can locally, and most of the farmers Butterbaugh buys from in Hawaii use organic practices. Currently there are not enough cacao producers on Hawaii to meet demand, so Butterbaugh sources supplemental beans from Fair Trade-certified producers overseas — for example, from one in Liberia that’s employing former child soldiers to rehabilitate cacao groves. In time, he sees a future where even more beans are grown locally. “We’re buying everything and farmers are planting more, but we have to wait a few years before [the new] trees are producing cacao,” he says.
Want to become an expert chocolatier? Just YouTube it!
Butterbaugh had no experience with chocolate-making before founding Manoa. “I kept learning by trial and error,” he says. “I watched a lot of YouTube videos. There’s a lot of other chocolate makers out there that have little videos posted of their processes, and machines that they designed.”