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Chocolate—From Bean to Bar Workshop

Leon Rosner and Una Greenaway (on left) at workshop
Leon Rosner and Una Greenaway (on left) guide the small-scale chocolate making process at their farm.
On March 18-19, 2010, Una Greenaway and Leon Rosner of Kuaiwi Farm hosted a two-session chocolate making workshop. For a minimal price they provided easy-to-follow demonstrations and instructions for making chocolate from scratch. With eight participants, everyone had a chance for a hands-on experience at each step in the process. The process began with cracking and winnowing the cacao beans and ended with pouring tempered chocolate into delicate molds. The smell of chocolate was intoxicating and at some points it seemed like magic was taking place in the kitchen.

At the end of the first session Una and Leon gave a tour of their 5-acre organic farm, and cacao bean fermentation and drying facilities. They offered tips on how to make your own equipment and the best place to purchase necessities for the trade. I was surprised to hear that they were able to set up their cacao processing operation for under $1,500. As we walked by the cacao orchard, they provided insights into growing productive, simple-to-harvest, and easy-to-maintain cacao trees. After the farm tour we bid our goodbyes for the day.

The following morning we met again to complete the chocolate making process. We sipped cups of their award-winning Kona coffee as we tempered the molten chocolate that had been processing for the previous 21 hours in a special machine. While the chocolate was setting into the molds, we sat down to eat brunch. The brunch was made mostly out of food grown on the farm: a frittata with homegrown eggs, fresh macadamia nut butter and lilikoi jelly with handmade rolls, chocolate milk, and fresh squeezed lemonade. During brunch people began to share their ideas for a sustainable Hawaii, complete with sourdough bread recipes from the Old World to a discussion on what types of grains and starches grow best on the island. After brunch and much conversation, everyone left with a bag full of freshly made chocolates and the knowledge base to set up their own small-scale chocolate production.

Pouring tempered chocolate into molds pre-filled with homegrown macnuts.
Una and Leon have been growing cacao for nine years and processing their cacao beans into candy for two years. They are experienced home chocolatiers and create a friendly learning environment for the layperson. They are currently working on changing the course from two mornings into one full day—either way they are able to teach these valuable skills in just seven hours! As a tourist passing through I am thankful I was able to gain a glimpse into the local food movement on the Big Island. My only wish is that I could grow cacao and make chocolate in Oregon. I am happy to have a satchel of homemade goodies to bring home to my family.

For information about future workshops, call Una Greenaway at Kuaiwi Farm at (808) 328-8888.

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