2020 Honolulu Holiday Gift Guide for Food Lovers
9 ways to bring cheer to family and friends.
Hala Tree Coffee
Coffee aficionados know that not all coffees are created equal—within Kona alone, quality fluctuates wildly. Relative newcomer Hala Tree, which began in 2012, and had its farm certified organic a few years later, quickly rose to the top tier. Owners Jean and Danielle Orlowski are meticulous and innovative as they oversee the entire coffee production, from growing to roasting. They’re not afraid to experiment with different processing methods (even anaerobic fermentation) and coffee varietals, such as the SL28, not so sexily named, perhaps, but which yields notes of bergamot. Gift coffees include the Black and Tan, a blend of medium and dark roast beans, or the washed red bourbon—fruity, chocolatey and one of the most aromatic Hawai‘i coffees I’ve tasted.
Sampler sets start at $25 and 1 pound coffee at $48, halatreecoffee.com
One of Honolulu’s longest-running chocolate truffle makers, Padovani’s still delivers exquisite chocolates. The “Hawai‘i’s Exotic Flavors” gift box assortments include truffles with pirie mango ganache, calamansi caramel and liliko‘i caramel.
$37.50 for a 10-piece gift box, padovanichocolates.com
Limu from Nā Mea Hawai‘i
Delve into Limu: An Ethnobotanical Study of Some Hawaiian Seaweeds by Isabella Aiona Abbott, aka the First Lady of limu, the first Native Hawaiian to earn a PhD in science and Stanford’s first female biology professor. Learn about some of Hawai‘i’s edible seaweed through this slim volume, first published in 1974. To stay on the makai theme, pair it with an ‘opihi bottle opener. For a bit of mauka and makai, Nā Mea also carries an ‘ulu kitchen towel and Shaka Tea’s mamaki blends.
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Holly Oyadomari’s delightful ceramics, from rainbow-dotted bowls to anthurium-shaped dishes, bring cheer to the table. Her platters painted with mangoes will tide us over until mango season begins again, and here’s hoping she brings back her papaya-shaped bowls!
Starting at $37, madeinhawaiifestival.com
Mānoa Chocolate’s Hawai‘i Chocolate Treasure Box offers five bars made with cacao from five Hawai‘i farms. Each bar has the same 70% cacao formulation, allowing you to taste the terroir of cacao from five different regions: Kealakekua and Kona on Hawai‘i Island; Mililani, Ko‘olaupoko and Waiāhole on O‘ahu. Tasting notes range from juicy and cherry-like to nutty and fudgy.
This new online tea shop offers Hawai‘i-grown teas, including an “Enchanted Forest” white tea grown alongside native plants in Volcano, Hawai‘i Island, as well as a darker “Mauka” oolong, also from Volcano. For those just learning about Hawai‘i-grown teas, there’s also a sampler set of five different teas.
Teas starting at $15, thetreehouseteahouse.com
Sweet Land Farm Caramel
Lush, sticky and sweet: Sweet Land Farm’s caramel is made by slowly reducing milk from its Waialua-raised goats with cane sugar until it’s thick and gooey. Stir it into your coffee, sandwich it into cookies and drizzle it over everything: sliced green mango, ice cream, pancakes and all those cakes you’ll be eating this holiday season. It also pairs well with Sweet Land Farm’s nutty tomme and creamy and soft chevre.
Stollen from Kahala Resort
The Kahala Resort’s stollen is a Christmas tradition only offered in December. It begins with raisins and candied citrus peels soaked in rum for a few days, which are then folded into a dough spiced with cinnamon, clove, ginger, black pepper, nutmeg—and my favorite part—pockets of sweet marzipan.
For those whose giving this holiday season means giving back, consider donations to Chef Hui and Hawai‘i Foodbank, organizations that have stepped up to feed Hawai‘i.