Wednesday, April 28, 2010
The North Shore
The North Shore of O'ahu is famous for surfing. (Blue Crush anyone?) I tried to sneak a peak at the Pipeline, but we were driving by a little fast and I think I might have been stuffing some chocolate haupia cream pie (or regular chocolate cream or pumpkin haupia - depending on who's slice I was sampling at the time) in my mouth. (Haupia is a traditional coconut milk based dessert not unlike flan.) Plus I think the wave size gets smaller as the year goes by (winter is where it's at!) so the ginormous waves might have been harder to spot between the Tacomas and Jeeps.
Ted's Bakery in Sunset Beach was the post lunch destination after our roadside shrimp extravaganza at Romy's. It's known for the pies, specifically the chocolate haupia cream pie. (This guy got a good photo of it. I was too busy eating mine to remember to take a photo.) Locals stop in for breakfast sandwiches and plate lunches as well.
Since we were on a tight schedule, there was no time to linger at Ted's. We had coffee to drink and more chocolate to eat! (The North Shore has a lot more going on than just big waves.) Waialua Estate Coffee and Cacao is located just down the road in Waialua on what was formerly one of the largest sugarcane plantations in Hawaii (and operated by Dole). After the plantation's closure in 1996, Dole sought to diversify their agriculture so coffee and cacao trees were a few of the new modern, healthful crops that were planted. I tasted the end results and I say, good on you, Dole. The coffee and chocolate rocks!
Sample cacao tree (not in the orchard).
Harvested cacao pods.
Splitting open the cacao pods to get at the seeds, which are actually quite fruity (and a little slimey - I tasted it!) in their raw state.
Fermenting the cacao seeds - this takes about a week. I had no idea that there was a fermentation process!
Fully fermented and almost fully dried cacao beans.
Somehow all of those dried beans turn into this. Waialua Estate dark chocolate.
Sample chocolate bar on a pile of cacao beans.
Wailua Estate milk chocolate.
Coffee berries on tree (delicious beans hidden inside).
50 pound bags of Waialua Estate (green) coffee beans.
The Wai'anae Range is the backdrop for Twin Bridge Farms.
Our final destination, quite literally down the road, was Twin Bridge Farms (also located on former sugarcane land) and is the only company in Hawaii that commercially grows asparagus (though they grow other things too). I tasted it fresh from the ground and then prepared on my dinner plate later that night. How many times can you say that you've done that?