Agriculturally, Hawaii is undoubtedly best known for its varied fruit selection and historic sugar production. But there is a group of enterprising farmers who want the state to offer so much more. A group seeking to harness their love of chocolate and share that love with others throughout the islands and beyond. A group more formally known as Lydgate Farms.
Lydgate Farms Kauai Chocolate started out as Steelgrass Farm in 2008, but the owners renamed it a couple of years later in order to honor an adventurous (and pioneering) family legacy. Lydgate Farms started small, with initially just 8 acres of land on which they started their first cocoa saplings as they simultaneously began producing vanilla beans and palm-blossom honey. This operation slowly grew and today Lydgate Farms now spans 46 acres on the eastern side of Kauai, atop rolling hills overlooking the small township of Kapa’a. Today, those first cocoa saplings have fully matured, enabling this operation to be the first to produce a chocolate bar sourced 100% from Kauai-grown beans.
While other cocoa-growing operations have begun throughout the state of Hawaii, Lydgate Farms was the pioneer in this sub-industry and Hawaii remains the only state to grow this species of trees. As such, if you are a chocolate connoisseur and want to learn more about the plant and the act of making chocolate, then there is no better place in the country to go than Lydgate Farms to book their Lydgate Farms Kauai Chocolate Farm Tour.
Lydgate Farms Kauai Chocolate
Lydgate Farms also calls this tour a “branch to bar” guided tour as guests will see those varying steps of making chocolate. This 3-hour tour thus starts out in the orchards where a guide introduces guests not only to the trees used to produce chocolate, but also other tropical trees and their fruit, including Tahitian lime, lychee, Hawaiian sugar cane, and so much more. Guests are invited to taste those fruits that are in session. This in addition, of course, to being invited to taste fresh cocoa fruit broken directly from the branch.
After the tour through the orchards, guests are invited to a more formal area where everyone can participate in an extensive dark chocolate tasting. This dark chocolate tasting is ideal for chocolate connoisseurs as guests can enjoy those chocolates produced from Lydgate Farms’s tree as well as chocolate bars sourced from other parts of the world.
For this tour, you will need to drive or otherwise arrive at Lydgate Farms directly. You will find the farm just off of Olohena Road, at the end of a residential neighborhood. When driving up to their gate, make sure to go slow and respect the neighbors. There is a drive-up gift show that is open during the mornings but, for the tours, call-in or website-made reservations are strongly encouraged.
-Appointments for the branch-to-bar chocolate tour can be made online via Lydgate Farm’s website or over the phone. Booking children, however, is weird. The group automatically allows one child per adult booking. For those parties with more children than adults, a phone call reservation is required.
-Lydgate Farms is located out in the “country” part of Kauai, which is to say there are not a lot of other amenities or attractions here. If you find yourself hungry, plan on eating before or after at a restaurant in the more tourist-friendly Wailua, which is about fifteen minutes southeast along the coast.
-The tour and the gift shop are morning operations, with both closed to the public at 12:30 pm. So make sure to wake up early if you want to add this as a stop on your Kauai travel itinerary.