Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate Hosts ‘Farm to Bar’ Maui Chocolate Tour
Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate is now welcoming visitors to its Lahaina farm. As of Dec. 21, Maui Chocolate Tour offers a first-hand look at how cacao is grown and harvested on Maui, and then wraps up with a nine-piece tasting among the trees.
Maui Chocolate Tour is a 90-minute guided walking experience, offered Monday through Friday, at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Participants meet at the Ku‘ia Factory located in Lahaina mauka (mountain side) at 78 Ulupono Street, Suite 1, in the Lahaina Business Park and enjoy a 10-minute ride to the farm.
The cost is $75 for adults (13+) and $55 for children (3-12); due to regulations, children under 3 years are not permitted. All participants must sign a waiver and wear a mask and closed-toed shoes. Group size is limited to seven. Social distancing is required in the shuttle, during the walking tour and the tastings.
Kamaʻāina receive a 20% discount (“kam”). As part of the opening promotion, all receive a 10% discount (“aloha10”).
Cacao thrives in tropical climates, making Hawai‘i the only US state where the fruit can be grown outside of a greenhouse. MKEC’s visionary owner Dr. Gunars Valkirs planted his first trees on 50 acres in Lahaina in 2015, and now crafts the cacao into fine chocolate.
Ku‘ia is Hawai‘i’s largest chocolate factory, where the company creates both Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate (from cacao grown on its 50-acre farm), and Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate (from cacao sourced from a single-origin family farm in Ecuador and in the rainforests of Amazonian Brazil).
“We are so thrilled to open the farm to the public,” said Dr. Valkirs. “Growing cacao is an incredible labor of love, and 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 Maui community by donating all net profits to Maui nonprofit organizations.
Maui Chocolate Tour also offers chocolate tastings at the factory at 2 p.m. Monday to Friday, Adults: $35 and Children: $25.
“This is an amazing insider’s look at some of the world’s best chocolate, from farm to bar,” says Mary Britton, owner of Maui Chocolate Tour. Dr. Valkirs leads chocolate tastings at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturdays. The proceeds from the tours on Saturday are donated to Maui Food Bank. Adults: $35.