Candy might not be the first thing you think of when someone mentions the Big Island of Hawaii. After all, the island is well-known for its beautiful vistas, its dramatic volcanoes, and its many white and black sand beaches. However, the Big Island is home to a diverse collection of candy emporiums, offering everything from chocolate-covered macadamia nuts to Asian-inspired plum-flavored gummy candy.
Below are a few of our favorite candy purveyors:
1. Big Island Candies
Located in Hilo, on the eastern side of the island, Big Island Candies has been selling quality chocolate confections since 1977. The company, which makes good use of local ingredients like Kona and K’au coffee as well as macadamia nuts, offers some of the most sought-after gifts from the island. The store’s wares include a variety of chocolate-covered macadamia nut confections, peppermint bark, mints, toffee, and truffles.
2. Puna Chocolate Company
Puna Chocolate Company has four locations on the Big Island, so you’re never too far away from their delicious offerings. There’s a store in Kona, Hilo, and Kealekekua. Plus, you can make a reservation to visit their chocolate farm in Holualoa. Founded in 2012, Puna Chocolate Company remains 100% family-owned and has grown to include 55 acres planted with cacao trees.
Puna Chocolate’s candy selection includes seasonal favorites like maple bacon chocolate turkeys and caramel chocolate bark as well as year-round confections like white, dark, and milk chocolate bars, caramel macadamia nut turtles, and chocolate-covered espresso beans. You can also get hot chocolate mixes and local coffee at Puna Chocolate.
You can tour the farm, take a hike among the cacao plants, and even attend one of the company’s many scheduled events, such as wine and chocolate pairings and holiday chocolate and spirits pairings.
3. Sugar Coast Candy
Based in downtown Hilo with a second location in Waikoloa, Sugar Coast Candy features both hand-crafted chocolates and old-fashioned toffee and hard candy displayed in vintage glass jars. Their stores evoke the spirit of turn-of-the-20th-century corner candy stores. Favorites here include Kona coffee mac nut brittle, English toffee, and peanut butter fudge balls. Sugar Coast Candy was founded 15 years ago and is still locally owned.
4. The Original Donkey Ball Store
Donkey Balls is located in the small community of Kainaliu, a few miles inland from Kona. Donkey balls are hand-crafted chocolate-covered macadamia nut confections. They’ve become something of a local phenomenon and their mission is to “sell high-quality chocolates made in Hawaii”. The company’s other products include monkey balls (malted milk balls), aloha brittle, and wiki wiki balls (gourmet chocolate truffles).
5. Snack Hawaii
Snack Hawaii, located in Kona, celebrates the 49th state’s Asian heritage with a collection of Asian-inspired candy. In business for more than 25 years, Snack Hawaii is locally owned and managed. Their products are sold throughout Hawaii at outlets ranging from local mom-and-pop groceries to big box stores like Walmart and Costco.
Snack Hawaii offerings include li hing mui (sweet and salty plum-flavored candy), hard candy, gummy candy, arare (bite-sized Japanese crackers often mixed with candy and nuts), dried seafood, Kona Coffee, macadamia nuts, and more. They even have vegan candy. Snack Hawaii’s mission is to “provide customers with a wide variety of great Hawaiian and Asian snacks”.
Be assured that you don’t have to leave your sweet tooth at home when you visit the Big Island of Hawaii. Whether you prefer chocolate or your taste runs more to classic hard candy, you’ll find a treat to enjoy on this Hawaiian island.