Support Local: Hawaii Made Sweets & Treats
Written by Kailanianna Ablog
Cover Photo Courtesy of Choco Le'a (PRE-ORDER: 18pc Valentine Special Truffle Box)
February is the Month of Love, so if you are looking to spoil yourself or your loved ones with some sweets and Hawai'i-made treats, look no further! For February’s “Support Local” blog, we at Valia Honolulu are highlighting some well-loved local spots and shops to support this year, starting with those Valentine’s/Galentine’s Day goodies. While we cannot mention all the amazing small businesses here in the Hawaiian Islands, we always encourage you to support those in your locales today and always!
Courtesy of Hokulani Bake Shop's Instagram
Alongside cookies, cakes are a dessert staple! If you are looking to expand your (cup)cake palette, a quaint spot at the Waterfront Plaza on Ala Moana Boulevard is sure to be your next stop!
Dedicated to creating their goodies from scratch, Hokulani Bake Shop is best known for their delicious cupcakes. Made without margarine, hydrogenated oil, trans fat or corn syrup, their cupcakes are always baked with aloha and come in a plethora of flavors such as lilikoi, ube (for “u” and bae), shave ice, lemon toffee, and guava. Each piece is crafted with pure Grade A sweet cream butter, cane sugar, and fresh eggs. Part of the reason why their cupcakes are so delicious is their use of high quality ingredients!
Lemon Toffee (Left) and Ube (Right)
The bake shop’s cupcakes are made in small batches, so if you are looking to order some in advance, they encourage pre-ordering, especially for larger orders. With seasonal decorations and colors available, you and your loved ones are in not just for a flavorful February, but also a year of Hawaii-made treats.
For Valentine’s Day, they are only offering the following flavors in-store: red velvet, filled red velvet, vanilla buttercream, salted caramel, chocolate cream cheese, and double chocolate. If you want to include other flavors in your Valentine’s Day order, Hokulani Bake Shop asks that you pre-order them by Saturday, February 12 at 12 p.m. No deliveries will be available that day.
You may order cupcakes online for pick-up on Saturdays via their website, or have them delivered via DoorDash, UberEats or BiteSquad Monday through Friday. In-store inventory is used to fulfill delivery orders. Should a flavor you ordered become unavailable, the order will be canceled; Hokulani mentions that flavor substitution is an alternative and asks that you indicate your consent for substitution in your order notes.
Hokulani Bake Shop also creates traditional, full tiered and half layer cakes for any occasion like weddings and birthdays. A full tiered cake is 4” tall, and the half layer cakes are 2”. Patrons can pick Strawberry Guava, Red Velvet, Lilikoi, Chocolate or Classic Vanilla for their tiered goodness, with other flavors being charged additionally. Cream Cheese and Buttercream fillings are available; coverings are buttercream only. Pricing is based on cake diameter, height, design and amount of colors.
Wedding Cake Example Courtesy of Hokulani Bake Shop
The shop is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. for pick-up orders, and closed on Sundays. If the bake shop runs out of cupcakes prior to 2 p.m. on a weekday, they will close early.
If you choose to gift yourself or greet your special someone with flowers and a box of Hokulani Bake Shop cupcakes, you’re bound for some major heart eyes (and a very happy sweet tooth)!
You can never go wrong with some chocolate so why not treat yourself and your loved ones to the decadent smoothness of Hawaii-made artisan dark chocolate truffles? Founded by UH Mānoa College of Education and Shidler College of Business alumna Erin Kanno Uehara, Choco leʻa seeks to bring peace to our communities, one morsel at a time!
Choco Le'a's Storefront - Photo Courtesy of Choco Le'a ("Visit Us" Page)
Located in Mānoa Valley, this chocolate shop believes in the power of community, cultivating relationships and God, values that Erin, this sweet shop’s president and owner, lives by. According to their “Our Mission” tab, Erin loves connecting with others and dedicates at least two hours a week to serving the community. Along with her role as a member of Choco leʻa’s “Chocolate Family,” she serves on The Salvation Army's Honolulu Advisory Board & Executive Committee and is the advisor and Vice Chair for Echelon Hawaiʻi, “a community of diverse, young leaders collectively rising up to serve The Salvation Army and their local communities.” Erin has also spoken at business community events and churches including “the University of Hawaiʻi Shidler College of Business, Hawaiʻi Food Manufacturing Association High School Mentorship, Professional Leadership Conferences, and more.”
Choco leʻa began their journey in 2010 by sharing the gift of chocolate and raising “funds for charitable organizations that support various peace initiatives around the world.” The tradition of giving back continues to today, as a portion of all sales are donated to charities and organizations throughout the year. As an extension of their mission, their logo is a Koaʻeʻula (Red-tailed Tropicbird) holding a cacao branch in its mouth, a parallel to the dove holding an olive branch in Noah’s Ark and representative of their calling to spread peace and chocolate.
Courtesy of Choco Le'a ("18pc Signature Truffle Box" Listing)
The chocolate shop currently does not ship their sweets but offers store pick-ups at their location on 2909 Lowrey Avenue; walk-up pick-ups are on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and in-shop pick-ups are on Tuesdays and Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Their signature menu includes their truffles that can come in a Signature or Custom Truffle Box; Signature Truffle Boxes come in quantities ranging from two, four, nine and eighteen, and Custom Truffle Boxes are available in nine and eighteen pieces. They also offer boxes for birthdays, births and memorials, all of which have four truffles. All boxes will come with a few of the following delectable flavors and are detailed in each of the product descriptions: Triple Chocolate, Caramel with Hawaiian Sea Salt, Lilikoi, Affogato, Cookies and Cream, Vanilla Bean, Mint Chocolate Chip, PB & Guava Jelly, and Birthday Cake.
Courtesy of Choco Le'a ("18pc Custom Truffle Box" Listing)
Is your loved one an avid admirer of dark chocolate? Have no fear - Choco leʻa also offers solid dark chocolate bars, two-piece dark chocolate oreos and “Tokens of Appreciation,” chocolate coins that feature their logo on it. For the book lovers, adding Erin’s book “Bringing Peace To Our World, One Chocolate At A Time” to your cart will be an equally sweet treat.
Choco leʻa graciously gave us a few sneak peaks at their Valentine’s Day specials, so if you see something your family or friends may enjoy, be sure to head on over to their website for the full menu and snag a box or two!
- 18pc Vday Truffle Box
- 2 of each flavor: Salted Caramel Brownie, Chocolate Haupia Pie, Espresso Mud Pie, Red Velvet Cake, Strawberry Shortcake, Apple Pie, Black Forest Cake, Boston Cream Pie (Custard), Key Lime Pie
- Half Pound of Love - Milk Chocolate Toffee Mac Nut Clusters
- Ultimate Valentine's Day Bundle w/18pc Truffle Box, PB Crunch Bar, Bear Hugs, Red Vines, and petite floral arrangement w/vase from Stanley Ito Florist
- PB Crunch Bar
- Bear Bundle w/ Plush bear & Dark Chocolate Bear Hugs
Courtesy of Mochi Mochi Wagashi (Instagram)
Mochi (and other types of rice cake) carry cultural significance in many countries, often representing good health and fortune. If you, your partner and/or family have a soft spot for these chewy goodies, consider supporting Mochi Mochi Wagashi (MMW)! This Oʻahu-based company was created in 2021 by proud mochi maker Jess, who has been making mochi since the early 2000s. According to their “About MMW” tab, after permanently losing her job due to the pandemic, Jess decided to turn her love of mochi into a small business as a means to support her family financially.
Through this journey, Jess writes that she is grateful for the support she’s found with her fellow small businesses, “I realized there are so many fellow confectioners online who make everything from cookies to cakes, sausage rolls and of course mochi! Many of these entrepreneurs became friends and I've been so lucky to meet so many wonderful people through mochi. Food is what brings us together, right?”
A mochi lover herself, Jess enjoys mochi on Sundays with a cup of rose or green tea and her favorite MMW flavors are inspired by calmness and relaxation; MMW’s sweeter flavors are inspired by Jess’s 11-year-old.
Jess shared with us the variety of mochi they offer:
“[Our] most popular fillings are dark chocolate brownie, chocolate chip cookie dough and peanut butter Oreo. We always have different fillings at different pop ups but those are always on rotation! We are probably most known for our strawberry brownie mochi, which we only produce a rare 1 or 2x a year,” Jess said. “Other flavors we have done are black sesame, matcha, red bean, lavender, chocolate peanut butter, snickerdoodle, and cookie butter.”
Courtesy of Mochi Mochi Wagashi (Instagram - Black Sesame Mochi)
Each piece is created shortly before they reach you to ensure freshness. MMW also offers seasonal flavors, such as gingerbread, pumpkin pie and most recently: daifuku, or red bean mochi, which Jess offered via pre-order to celebrate the new year. What’s more: their mochi trays are compostable and made of “a renewable blend of tree-free plant fibers and 100% recyclable PET plastic”!
You can find MMW at various pop-ups and markets on the island! You can also host a MMW pop-up via their “Host A Pop-Up” tab. Be sure to follow and keep up with Mochi Mochi Wagashi on Instagram, and keep their website handy if pre-orders open!
Courtesy of bubbly & bleu
Sweets are always delicious, but have you considered adding something savory to the mix? Located at 1132 Koko Head Avenue in Kaimuki, bubbly and bleu specializes in cheese and charcuterie boxes perfect for any occasion! Their boxes are available in four sizes: Minimo, Piccolo, Mezzo and Grande.
bubbly and bleu was founded by cheese enthusiast Cheryl DeAngelo, a local girl originally from the westside of O'ahu. Cheryl has been working in the food and beverage industry for the past thirty years, and has a soft spot for cheese. According to bubbly and bleu’s “About” page, Cheryl started making cheese boards in 2005 when she married the love of her life (who is also chef) in Florence, Italy.
She writes, “While in the beautiful countryside of Florence, my husband and I were greeted each morning with baskets of fresh fruit, cheese and breads for breakfast. Our lunches began with charcuterie and for dinner, we would enjoy cheese for dessert. It was perfection.”
Cheryl now crafts this perfection into cheese and charcuterie boxes that are available to order online and picked up in-store. Their Minimo, Piccolo, Mezzo and Grande boxes all include varying amounts of artisanal cheese and charcuterie with seasonal fruit, jam, nuts, a Hawaiian honey blend, fresh garnish and an artisanal cracker selection. They also offer other goodies such as their Vegan Box, which includes organic, dairy-free cheese substitutes and an organic, meatless deli alternative and Smoked Salmon Box. Take a look at their Online Order Form for the full scope of savory goodness!
Courtesy of bubbly & bleu (Vegan Box)
Courtesy of bubbly & bleu (Mezzo Box)
For those in search of a Valentine’s Cheese and Charcuterie treat, bubbly and bleu is offering some V-Day specials such as their Valentine Heart Box, “Whole Lotta Love” Medium and Large boxes, and Valentine Valrhona Chocolate Strawberries.
bubbly and bleu suggests getting your Valentine’s Day orders in as soon as possible, as pick-up times are filling up. To check for availability, take a look at their Order Form. Orders should be placed three days prior to the pick-up date and pick-ups (for non-Valentine’s Day specials) can be scheduled at any time on Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Note that bubbly and bleu is closed for their annual cheese education and trade show trip and will reopen on February 9th.
Courtesy of bubbly & bleu ("Whole Lotta Love" Box)
Whenever you’re craving some cheese boxes, be sure to place your order with bubbly and bleu to taste a bit of savory perfection in each bite! Keep up with them on Instagram for the latest news on monthly specials, promotions and contests.
When life gives you cake, why not enjoy a slice (or three)? Located in Jolene’s Market on North Beretania St, Slice by HB Baking is known for their scrumptious ice cream pies, perfect for any day or occasion, including Valentine’s Day! The shop is open Wednesday through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Courtesy of Slice By HB Baking (Instagram - Thanksgiving Special "Dulce De Leche Apple Pie Ice Cream Pie")
Heather Bryan is the baking mastermind behind HB Baking, which first started 13 years ago. After being hired to work in professional kitchens, Heather had put HB Baking on hold until she found herself working eight hours a day at Kahala Resort; this allowed her more free time to resume taking dessert orders and obtain the necessary permits and licenses. COVID-19 hit Hawaiʻi and left Heather furloughed but with a new opportunity: to pursue HB Baking full time, and (thanks to a close friend) have access to her current storefront at Jolene’s Market.
“Jolene (from Jolene's Market) suggested we come up with a separate name for the store, so my husband came up with Slice.” Heather said.
Slice by HB Baking offers six flavors of ice cream pie: Strawberry Shortcake, Rocky Road Cookie Dough, Matcha Cookies and Cream, Caramel Banana Butterfinger, Mint Chocolate Brownie, and Snuggy Bear.
Courtesy of Slice By HB Baking (Instagram - "All Flavors Pie" - 2021 Holiday Special)
For first-time visitors to Slice by HB Baking, Heather suggests giving the Snuggy Bear and Strawberry Shortcake slices a try.
“The Snuggy Bear is our signature slice. It was created when my husband requested coffee almond fudge, oreos, heath bars, and my salted milk crumble. All his favorite things. It remains a crowd favorite,” Heather said. “The Strawberry Shortcake is a close second. Its strawberry and birthday cake ice cream on sugar cookie crust. Topped with fruity pebbles.”
Along with their ice cream pie, they offer an ice cream cake “Slice of the Day,” which always changes, cookies, bibingka (Filipino rice cake) brownies, and cold brew coffee. On Thursdays and Fridays, Heather’s husband creates Jalapeno Cheddar and Stuffed Apple with Caramel pretzels and Wagyu Pretzel Dogs.
Courtesy of Slice by HB Baking (Instagram - "Wagyu Pretzel Dog")
Heather finds joy and growth with Slice by HB Baking: “The journey's been great. Very rewarding every day. And I wouldn't change the choices I've made. I've created a job for myself where I make all the decisions while doing what I enjoy. Living the dream.”
If you’re looking for a sweet way to cool off or spend quality time with your loved ones while enjoying a lovely treat, consider stopping by Jolene’s Market and visiting Slice By HB Baking. Heather did mention they tend to have more of a lunch rush than a dinner one, so be sure to plan accordingly so you don’t miss out on any slices!
Sustainability is at the root of many businesses in the Hawaiian Islands, and for owner and chocolate maker Dylan Butterbaugh, generating and contributing ethically to Hawaiʻi’s chocolate industry is at the core of Mānoa Chocolate. In their “About Us” page, Dylan writes how his love of chocolate (specifically the “Bean-To-Bar” process) started:
“I was nearing the end of my sustainable development degree at the University of Hawaii when I stumbled upon cacao,” Dylan writes. “I had become friends with a fellow student who was studying the viability of cacao as a value added crop in the state. He was harvesting the fruit, micro fermenting the seeds (aka cacao beans), drying them, and carrying out the entire bean-to-bar chocolate making process. I found this process fascinating!”
Courtesy of Mānoa Chocolate ("Hawaii Grown Treasure Box" - Listing)
Mānoa Chocolate creates all their delicacies with this process, meaning they are moving away from mass production and ethically sourcing their products. As detailed on their website, Mānoa Chocolate mentions that much of the cacao used in the chocolate industry are sourced from West Africa, where most beans “are priced so low that farmers cannot afford even basic living necessities. This creates human rights issues on a massive scale that include human trafficking and child slavery that are directly tied to the sale of cacao.”
As Bean-to-Bar makers, Mānoa Chocolate sources their cacao at high prices and tells the story of where each chocolate is from. The location of Mānoa Chocolate is also significant, as Hawaiʻi is the only state in the USA that can grow chocolate.
The chocolate connoisseurs of Mānoa Chocolate craft various delectable treats. From their Chocolate Bars, including their “Flavors of Hawaii”collection and “Hawaii Grown Single Origin Bars” that feature their award-winning Hawaiian Chocolate Bar. They also have Spirit Infusions, made from roasted cacao nibs that were soaked in Hawaiian spirits such as Kōhana Agricole Rum and Old Pali Road Whiskey. Along with their bars, their other products allow you to incorporate chocolate into your daily life; these items include Chocolate Macadamia Spread, Chocolate Tea and Brewing Chocolate. For the hardcore chocolate lovers, Mānoa Chocolate has a “Mānoa Monthly” subscription that allows you to enjoy a small-batch, limited edition flavor with two others from their usual collections, making this a perfect present for the cacao enthusiasts in your life! For gift-giving, gift bags and boxes are also available.
Courtesy of Mānoa Chocolate ("MĀNOA MONTHLY'S SMALL BATCH BOX" - Listing)
30 to 90 minute factory tours are available by reservation only, and have a maximum capacity of 8 people due to the pandemic. These tours are offered daily from Monday through Saturday at 3 p.m. for those 12 years and older. You may also stop by their location at 333 Uluniu St. in Kailua for a walk-in tasting, but there are limits; a 10 to 15 minute wait is enacted if capacity is reached. Tastings are held anytime on Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m and take about 10 minutes; they are complementary and open to all ages. Mānoa Chocolate asks that all guests adhere to mask wearing and courtesy phone calls for large groups are not required but are appreciated.
The next time you are in Kailua or want to send something sustainably sweet, consider grabbing some Mānoa Chocolate goodies!
The next time you’re in Kaimuki checking out neat spots such as Pitacus Chop Art, Everyday Better by Green Meadows and Popoki & Tea, don’t forget to stop by Chocolate & Vanilla to end your trip on a sweet note! Located on 12th Ave. near Otto Cake (the home of the most ono cheesecake you’ve ever had), this bakery is a must-visit whenever you are in the area, and open on Wednesdays through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. They are closed on Mondays.
Courtesy of Chocolate and Vanilla (Instagram - Bread Pudding Sampler)
First opened by baking master Jill Yamashita, Chocolate & Vanilla was first opened on April 25, 2014 and since then has been creating scrumptious baked goods (including butter mochi) for locals and visitors alike. Jill tolf us that the bakery has gone through ups and downs since its first year: “It has been a up and down journey since opening from working solo to having a full staff and then to being a one woman operation again.”
A typical day at Chocolate & Vanilla consists of an early rising and continuous hard work in the kitchen to provide patrons with fresh baked goods throughout the day, with various scones, bread puddings and butter mochi. There are also Specials of the Day, which are bound to get those taste buds going!
Courtesy of Chocolate and Vanilla (Instagram - Melona Butter Mochi)
For first time visitors, Jill suggests giving their ube banana bread a try: “... I would suggest the ube banana bread with chocolate chips because it’s super moist and buttery which makes you wanting more.”
Whenever you are in Kaimuki, visit Chocolate & Vanilla to sate those sugar cravings. In the meantime, be sure to give them a follow on Instagram!