Choc Star

Lei Chic Candy hearts with corny sayings. Heart shaped lollipops. Pink frosted everything.

Thinking back on the high fructose corn syrup-laced Valentine’s Days of your youth actually makes your teeth hurt.

Thankfully (for you and your dentist) your tastes have matured. You’ve finally swapped boys for men, and you no longer want just any candy on Cupid’s big day. In fact, you’d prefer something organic, and full of antioxidants.

This year, what you’d really like is one of the gourmet bars from new local chocolate company, Madre Chocolate.
The company, which manufactures all of their products in Honolulu, is a collaboration between Nat Bletter, an ethnobotanist at UH Manoa, and David Elliott, an expert in rural development and environmental justice issues. The socially conscious Madre Chocolate (literally, “mother chocolate”) makes artisanal chocolates in small batches, from organic bean growers in Mexico and Hawaii who pay fair wages to growers – part of their aim to have a positive impact on cacao-growing communities.

Madre processes their cacao beans lightly, to keep the antioxidant levels high (and puts their chocolate solidly in the “good for you” category). Plus, their exotic flavors stay true to chocolate’s original roots. Using ancient spices traditional to the Aztec, Maya, Olmec and Barra tribes of Central America, the confections come in lust-inducing flavors like Xocoxochitl, which marries chocolate with smoky-spicy chipotles and earthy allspice, or Candied Hibiscus and Pink Peppercorn and Sea Salt.

Perfect for your bolder, more grown-up palate.
And you’re just old enough to get into this (chocolate) bar.

Madre Chocolate is available at Mercado de la Raza, 1315 Beretania St. Honolulu, Kokua Market, 2648 S. King St. Honolulu; and Sweet Paradise Chocolatier, 20-A Kainehe St., Kailua. For more info, visit their website .