By Kristin Hashimoto
It’s tucked away in the industrial area of Lahaina. It’s a little bitty space, inside of another store. You might think that you have the wrong place, until you spy the chocolate confections that tantalize, surprise and delight all the senses. Mouthfuls of smooth chocolate wink and beckon you to come closer to the clear display case. These are artisan chocolates; Godiva, Hershey, and Nestle have no place here.
There’s a myriad of shapes, flavors, colors, and textures. Sea salt caramel chocolate, hot peppery chocolate, lilikoi, guava, passion fruit hearts, blood orange, champagne truffles with a naughty edge, chocolate raspberry, Kona coffee, coconut, banana rum, tiramisu, lavender, ginger, and mango mojito are just a few of the flavors one can expect to find at this sweetshop.
The hot pepper chocolate was a tongue tingling experience, as a single bite will induce a slow heat to travel from tongue to throat. Definite repeat experience. The lilikoi was very fruity and infused with flavor, and the sea salt caramel chocolate is just plain good. The crunch of sea salt perfectly complements the sweet chocolate and smooth caramel.
If you’ve been in Whole Foods in Kahului, you’ve probably passed by, or stopped to gawk and ultimately purchase a few lip smacking pieces of gourmet chocolate from Sweet Paradise.
These chocolates are crafted on Maui, with cocoa farmed in Hawaii. Master Chocolatier Melanie Boudar is a graduate of Ecole Chocolat in Vancouver, Canada and the Artisan and Confection Program at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), in New York.
Her craftsmanship and dedication is evident in every piece of chocolate. Surprising flavor combinations vie for supremacy with these self- contained works of art. Ultimately, aesthetic appreciation gives way to raw avarice, as a bite, and then another swallows up the sweet. All that’s left is a fleeting wisp of a happy chocolate hazed memory, and the desire to do it again. Six to twenty-four pieces of chocolate range in price from approximately $16 to $65, respectively.
Happily, one does not need to travel to the Lahaina Design Center locale to obtain these yummy treats. Boudar has a few lines of chocolate at Whole Foods, and has opened up another shop in the Wailea Gateway Center. The Wailea Gateway Center chocolate boutique is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily. There are also chocolates sold on Oahu, the Big Island and Kauai. Visit http://sweetparadisechocolate.com, for more information, or call, 808-557-5358 (Lahaina), or 808-344-1040 (Wailea).