While visiting the Hawaiian Islands you must go to the best Kauai chocolate farm tour at Lydgate Farms. It’ll be one of the most memorable things you do on your trip. The yummiest too!
Hawaii is the only state that grows Cacao commercially in the whole United States. Chocolate comes from cacao beans, and who doesn’t love chocolate? Nobody!
We only had four full days in Kauai and we chose to book one of our full mornings going on this yummy tour and let me tell you, we’re so glad we did!
It was definitely worth our while.
I’m not going to bore you with Lydgate Farms history, you can go to their website for more information and book your tickets.
We started off early on a Tuesday morning from our vacation rental in Kapaa. See my post Best Places To Stay In Kauai On A Budget.
(This post contains affiliate links. Please read full disclosure)
The thirty minute drive to the Lydgate Chocolate farm is so pretty.
Kauai is one of the most beautiful places I have had the privilege of visiting.
The lush dark green mountains can be a bit ominous though, as you’re expecting King Kong at any moment to step out and grab you!…LOL
This Chocolate tour is three hours long and there will be a bit of walking.
Be sure to wear flat shoes as there will be uneven ground.
There will be stopping points where you will be sitting down, so don’t worry.
Kauai Chocolate Tours
Chocolate farm Tour Kauai
Your guide will walk you down this path, stopping here and there to show you some pretty interesting facts about the farm.
They not only grow Cacao trees here but different tropical plants and even Papyrus that ancient Egyptians used for paper.
Hawaii Chocolate tour
Kauai Chocolate company
I grew up in the Philippines and Guam, and I recognized this tree (below).
I honestly think it’s a form of Betel Nut, but the guide called it something else.
I remember my mom and her friends opening the betel nuts, wrapping pieces of it in a big leaf, then chewing on it.
Their mouths would be all orange…LOL
The big flood of 2018 in Kauai washed in some lilies into the farm landscaping. They are so pretty.
Steelgrass Chocolate Farm Kauai
I’m very familiar with these fruits as we have them in the Philippines but I haven’t had them in years and years.
We tasted Mountain Apple (red), Chico (small brown), Sour Sop (thorny green), Mamey Sapote (big brown fruit) and Papaya (yellow).
I was so delighted to be able to taste them again, especially the Sour Sop, which is my favorite fruit of all time.
Sour Sop wedge. So good!
There were chickens everywhere, just waiting for scraps!
Kauai Chocolate farm Tour
Next stop is at one of their Cacao orchards.
In the video below, you’ll see what a raw chocolate pod looks like inside.
It’s a amzing!
Pretty neat, huh?
We each got to taste a little of it.
The white stuff is sweet and tastes good but crunching on the actual Cacao seed was very bitter.
By looking at this, you wouldn’t think chocolate would come from that.
The Chocolate Tasting Tent
Here is the best part of the tour.
We are given a lesson on the history of chocolate and at the same time, bowls of chocolate from different parts of the world were passed around for us to taste.
It was definitely a delicious experience. I was in heaven!
3 Interesting Things I learned About Chocolate
I always knew Dark Chocolate has a lot of anti-oxidants, but I didn’t know how much.
Per 100 grams, measured in ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) dark chocolate has 13,120!
Compare it to the following (all in 100 grams):
- Broccoli – 890
- Alfalfa Sprouts – 930
- Plums – 949
- Brussels Sprouts – 980
- Raspeberries – 1,220
- Raspberries – 1,220
- Spinach – 1,260
- Strawberries – 1,540
- Blueberries – 2,400
- Raisins – 2,830
- Acai Berries – 5,500
Now go and indulge, it’s good for you!
A Gross History Of Hersheys Kiss
In the early days of the Hersheys Kiss each piece needed to be place on a small piece of tissue, then wrapped in foil.
It was a messy affair and often the kiss candy wouldn’t stay put.
This was a problem for the ladies who worked at the Hersheys plant as they were paid by the piece.
One of them came up with a solution, which was to lick the tissue paper first before placing the candy on top.
This worked so well that when the supervisor wasn’t looking, the other ladies followed suit. Gross!
You can read about it here.
This reminds me of the Lucy and Ethel at the chocolate factory episode. So funny!
Chocolate Plantation Kauia
PGPR In Chocolate
When buying chocolate be sure to check the label for ingredients that says “PGPR”.
If you see it in there, put it back on the shelf.
PGPR is an acronym for polyglycerol polyricinoleate.
It is used by big chocolate companies like Hersheys and Nestle in their chocolate bars to save on money, as raw Cocoa Butter is expensive.
It is used to lower fat content, an emulsifier, and for longer shelf life.
This is what Wikipedia has to say about PGPA
“Use in chocolate
Because PGPR improves the flow characteristics of chocolate and compound chocolate, especially near the melting point, it can improve the efficiency of chocolate coating processes: chocolate coatings with PGPR flow better around shapes of enrobed and dipped products, and it also improves the performance of equipment used to produce solid molded products: the chocolate flows better into the mold, and surrounds inclusions and releases trapped air more easily. PGPR can also be used to reduce the quantity of cocoa butter needed in chocolate formulations: the solid particles in chocolate are suspended in the cocoa butter, and by reducing the viscosity of the chocolate, less cocoa butter is required, which saves costs, because cocoa butter is an expensive ingredient, and also leads to a lower-fat product.
The FDA has deemed PGPR to be generally recognized as safe for human consumption, and the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) has also deemed it safe. Both of these organisations set the acceptable daily intake at 7.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. In Europe, PGPR is allowed in chocolate up to a level of 0.5%.
Short-term studies on rats and chickens showed reversible liver enlargement as a result of higher doses of PGPR, which were deemed a result of increased hepatic (liver) workload alone.
In a 1998 review funded by Unilever of safety evaluations from the late 1950s and early 1960s, “PGPR was found to be 98% digested by rats and utilized as a source of energy superior to starch and nearly equivalent to peanut oil.” Additionally, no evidence was found of interference with normal fat metabolism, nor with growth, reproduction, and maintenance of tissue. Overall, it did not “constitute a human health hazard”.”
What’s the point in eating chocolate for its anti-oxidant effects if you’re putting PGPR in your system?
No, thank you!
Best Chocolate Tour In Kauai Summary
Now that you’ve gone on this tour with me, I bet you’re craving chocolate.
Yeah, there was some gross stuff that we learned but honestly, the right type of chocolate is so good for you.
Here are some really good chocolate that you know you’re getting the best.
How about some good for you Mexican Hot Chocolate?
You can also make your own. I used to make beautiful raw chocolate for my late husband while he was battling cancer.
He loved it.
You’ll be needing these:
I hope you enjoyed this tour with me.
It was defintely a great experience and I’m sure you will enjoy it as well.
One more thing, before you go to Kauai you must read my post Do Kauai – 9 Things You Need To Do Before You Go