Chocolates in Paradise--Sweet Paradise Chocolatier
Posted Mar 04 2009 12:00am
I blame this post on Kat from Our Adventures in Japan because I must blame it and the chocolate I consumed on someone. Kat always finds the most amazing chocolates and posts about them and I constantly leave her blog both drooling and green with envy about her access to the "good stuff". Although Hawaii is the only US state that can grow chocolate successfully, there is a lack of true artisan chocolatiers and chocolate stores here. When I heard that Sweet Paradise Chocolatier had opened in Kailua in November, I was excited, but it took me awhile to actually make the 30 minute drive out there to try the chocolates.
The owner and "MaitreChocolatier" Melanie Boudar, taught the class where Michelle and I made this gorgeous tart, and that was another reason I wanted to try her chocolates.
Since Melanie's background is in diamond buying and jewelry design, it is no wonder her chocolates are little works of art. Creating an upscale bed & breakfast on The Big Island, she decided to set herself apart by making chocolates for her guests, inspired by the many chocolate shops she had visited on her travels from her career in jewelry. Studying the art of chocolate in Canada and also at the CIA in New York, she perfected her chocolate art. Her chocolates feature many local ingredients such as Hawaiian fruits, nuts, and cacao nibs and they plan to come out with a sugar-free chocolate line this year .
It took me a couple of turns around the block to find the little shop, tucked away on a Kailua backstreet, but soon enough I was parked and in front of a couple of cases of beautiful little chocolates, shining like little gem stones. It was difficult to choose among the many chocolates on display, but I settled on eight, which were nicely wrapped up in a cute little striped box with ribbons. I savored these little gems over a few days and my impressions of the ones I tasted are below.
On the first level (starting at top left):
Blood Orange: a nice light orange flavor that complements the creamy dark chocolate without overpowering it. Liked the soft, candied orange peel on top.
Passion Fruit Heart: nicely fruity and sweet, I would have liked a bit more of a tang to this one as I like that sweet-tangy flavor in my passion fruit, but the overall flavor is excellent.
POG: (named after the Passion-Orange-Guava juice popular here in Hawaii), subtle fruit flavors, pleasing taste and mouth feel, with the slight crispness of the chocolate outside and creamy filling within.
Dreamy Caramel: this could be a serious addiction, as creamy and dreamy as the name says, the buttery caramel just oozes out of the chocolate.
The second level (starting at top left):
Macadamia Nut: Chocolate around the mac nut half in the center, subtle but nice.
Madagascar Vanilla: very potent, deep vanilla, almost like having a liquor, creamy texture, very rich and delicious.
Key Lime: Nice lime flavor but a bit more sweet than tart, I like more "pucker" with my key lime.
Strawberry Guava: similar to the POG, a nice light fruity flavor in creamy dark filling.