Maui Ku‘ia Offers Suggestions to Shop Local This Holiday Season
Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate is encouraging customers and the public to support island businesses this season and give back back to the Maui community by shopping local.
The company, located in West Maui, is Maui’s largest farm-to-bar chocolate company, which offers an elegant selection of fine chocolate both online and at their Lahaina factory.
- New this season is the Maui Tropical Trio Gift Box, which includes a limited assortment of 65% dark chocolate infused with locally grown mango, guava and calamansi. The 27-piece gift box costs $35 and is available online or in the retail store.
- The business also offers unique experiences for purchase, including tours of their working cacao farm. The new Maui Chocolate Tour, which launches Dec. 21 walks guests through the growing and harvesting process, and then wraps up with a nine-piece tasting among the trees. The Maui Chocolate Tour costs $75 for adults (13+); $55 for children (3-12). Kama‘āina receive a 20% discount. All receive a 10% opening promotional discount at the Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate website.
“Growing cacao is an incredible labor of love,” said MKEC founder and CEO Dr. Gunars Valkirs. “The more we can share the process with our community, the more we fulfill our Chocolate Kuleana.” MKEC’s founding mission is to give back to the community by donating all net profits to local nonprofit organizations.
The company also offers pairing suggestions at other island business, for those trying to complete their holiday shopping.
Rise above it all with a beautiful drive up the slopes of Haleakalā to MauiWine, Maui’s only winery. There customers can pick up a bottle of Hula O Maui Sparkling Pineapple Wine ($24), made from fresh-from-the-field Maui Gold Pineapples; or an Estate-grown wine like the ʻUlupalakua Vineyards Syrah; or shop branded items from bottle-stoppers to dish towels in the charming winery boutique. History abounds in this special Maui spot where King Kalākaua and Queen Kapi‘olani used to visit. Visitors are reminded to call ahead of time, as reservations for wine tastings and estate tours are strongly encouraged.
Locally made beverages from Maui Brewing Company are another gift idea. Aside from brews, like Sunshine Girl Golden Ale and Imperial Coconut Porter the business also offers hats and T-shirts with the distinctive MBC logo online. With restaurant locations in Kahana and Kīhei, as well as two locations on O‘ahu, MBC is Hawai‘i’s largest craft brewery.
Keeping Maui green is a primary goal of Maui Cattle Company, a locally owned cooperative of six ranches which average 90 years in the islands and span more than 60,000 acres of prime grazing land on Maui. The company was formed in 2002 when Maui ranchers came together to deliver a premium local product and promote a sustainable ranching industry in the islands. Customers can select “Born & Grazed in Hawaiʻi” ground beef and select cuts at retail outlets throughout Maui. The vacuum-sealed package makes keeps up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Another gift suggestion offered is pineapple. Maui Gold® Pineapple is a large, extra sweet, low-acidity variety of pineapple grown on the sunny slopes of Haleakalā. Once the second-largest industry on Maui after sugarcane, pineapple almost disappeared from the island agricultural scene after Maui Pineapple Company shut down operations in 2009. But in 2010, a group of dedicated and knowledgeable agricultural experts launched Maui Gold Pineapple Company to save the tradition of pineapple production on Maui. Customers can pick up Maui Gold® at most retail outlets, or order gift pineapples for shipping online in 1-, 2- or 7-pack boxes ($39.95-$79.95).
For a first-hand look at how a pineapple plantation works, tours are also offered. Maui Pineapple Tours takes guests around the Hāli‘imaile farm to learn about the growing cycle and cultivation techniques—plus everyone gets a free pineapple. Tickets are $65 for adults; $55 for children (2-12). Kamaʻāina discounts are available.
For coffee lovers, MauiGrown™ Coffee Company offers a Maui Holiday Coffee Gift Box—featuring Jingle Beans, Yule Fuel and Maui Christmas–100% Maui grown, picked, dried, roasted, bagged and brewed ($50). The store is located next to the historic Lahaina Smokestack. “Our coffee is quality from seed to cup,” said owner Kimo Falconer, a fifth-generation Lahaina resident and former director of agriculture research for Pioneer Mill. “The coffee industry understands coffee in much the same way as the wine industry understands its product: varieties vs. origins. MauiGrown Coffee is selling origin—the magic that is Maui.”
Other West side suggestions include Lahaina Mauka, a new destination of shops and restaurants that’s accessible off the bypass. Venues include Tamura’s Fine Wine & Liquors; Maui Prime Fine Foods; Island Grocery Depot; and Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate for sweet treats and gifts.
For family fun, there’s the new Adventure Park Maui, an aerial ropes course set in a giant structure called The Hexapod. More than 50 different high and low climbing elements provide options for climbers that range from very easy to moderately challenging.
Some museums and historic sites are open with limited hours. An extra special way to experience the Baldwin Home Museum in the heart of Lahaina is through the Candle Lit Tour, when the 19th century dwelling is illuminated by dozens of candles. Twenty-minute tours are offered on Friday evenings from 5 to 8 p.m.; tickets are $5 for adults; 12 and under free. For a current listing of what’s open and hours of operation, check out Lahaina Restoration Foundation’s web page.
“It’s never been more important to support our local businesses—and shopping locally for everyone on your holiday list is the perfect way to do it,” Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate suggests.