Updated: Sep 2, 2020
Whenever people think of Hawaii, the beautiful beaches and scenery of each island often come to mind. However, the state is making headlines for its agriculture - not just for its renown Kona coffee, but its cacao and chocolate. Lydgate Farms is a clear example of this and here’s proof:
Lydgate Farms cacao beans have been recognized to be among the best in the world at the Cocoa of Excellence awards in Paris in 2017. Lydgate Farms
Let me put that into context - 40 countries participated; 166 samples of cocoa beans were received. That is a lot of cocoa beans from around the world to be selected from!
Since I am from Hawaii, I could not help but be drawn to learning more about what Lydgate Farms is creating, which is a lot more than just chocolate. In fact, they are producing Palm Blossom honey, coffee (grown next to their cacao trees - what their website states is “a match made in heaven"), cacao nectar jelly, and vanilla beans from their botanical gardens.
I was blessed to connect with Will Lydgate to experience a taste of Hawaii from their farms on the island of Kaua’i. This resulted in trying their 70% Dark and 70% Dark Palm Blossom Honey bars.
Packaging is not something they took lightly. In fact, theirs is very well thought out for many reasons. First, let’s focus on its appearance. When I used to write a lot of handwritten letters (also known as the lost art of pen palling - does anyone do that anymore these days?) I used to visit stationary stores. I enjoyed perusing the isles as I admired the stationary designs, textures, and paper thickness. The Lydgate Farms chocolate bar packaging whisked me back to those days. Their understated yet polished packaging looked and felt like well-designed fancy stationary.
Secondly, they obviously gave a lot of thought to the shape of the packaging. It is not just a wrapper, but rather a slim wallet sized box that you can slide your bar back in. It provides more protection so you can safely put it in your bag without the bar breaking or leaving behind a trail of chocolate shavings. The packaging also housed a card providing information on the company’s history. What a nice personalized touch!
Lastly, the packaging is also environmentally friendly as it’s made of recycled papers and wrapped in a biodegradable plant-based fiber. Did I not say that a lot of thought went into the design of the packaging?
That same level of thoughtfulness is also reflected in the bars themselves. The 70% Dark and 70% Dark Palm Blossom Honey bars weigh 2.2 ounces and are scored into 5 strips with the company’s name on each piece.
First, the Lydgate Farms 70% Dark bar. Upon removing it from the packaging, I was welcomed by the scent of subtle cherry notes and a sweet warm chocolate aroma. The bar was nice and glossy and had a crisp snap. Tasting notes on the packaging said, "Notes of vanilla and deep chocolate base notes with subtle hints of cherries, walnuts & nutmeg.” However, my tastebuds were initially tickled by the bar’s creamy texture and banana notes with hints of brown sugar. I was enthralled by this flavor combination as it brought to mind pleasant memories of eating bananas foster. As I chewed the chocolate more and allowed it to melt on my tongue, cherry notes emerged. What a nice way to end the tasting experience! It was like finishing your bananas foster by eating the cherry topping. The flavor doesn’t linger long, so even if your intention is just to sample the bar you’ll be thankful that each scored piece is almost half an ounce of tastiness.
Now on to the Lydgate Farms 70% Dark Palm Blossom Honey bar. This shiny dark brown bar had a beautiful reddish hue. I was instantly struck by the enticing aroma of honey and cherry. The bar had a softer snap and my teeth easily sunk into the piece that I broke off. While the chocolate was soft and smooth, these characteristics were secondary to the sweet luscious floral honey flavor that filled my mouth. Hints of cherry made its presence known periodically, but make no mistake that the palm blossom honey stole the show on this bar. So if honey is your thing, you will be thoroughly pleased with this bar.
Hopefully after reading this review you will start associating chocolate with Hawaii and make it a point to try the various items from Lydgate Farms. Check out their online store: https://lydgatefarms.shop/
And that’s not all! Stay tuned as I will be interviewing Will Lydgate, the CEO for Lydgate Farms. You won’t want to miss it!