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June 16th 2021
Published: June 17th 2021
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Yesterday was our first full day in HI. Jeanne had to work so we headed to the Pink Mocha Cafe for frou-frou drinks and snacks. Starting at 10:30 the three mainlanders had hour and a half massages, compliments of Jeanne. Mother’s Day present for Gerri and me, graduation for Becky. Then we hit Costco, Target, and Safeway to load up on food for the beachside house we head to tomorrow. Made shrimp scampi and garlic bread and we ate on the lanai as the sun set. Today started out with an early morning walk on the lava and sand beach. From there we took a tour of the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory and got to learn about how to make chocolate from pod to end product. This farm has 1600 cacao trees on one acre of land. It takes approximately 150 days from the time the unscented flowers are pollinated to harvesting. The flowers are really tiny and the midges, ants and other bugs pollinate them within an hour of blooming. All the pollinated flowers produce cacao pods, but they do not all grow to fruition. An interesting fact about the cacao is that it does not drop any pods, even if they are dead. So in order to free up room, the dead ones have to be scraped off. This factory ships in only cocoa butter because it is an expensive process to make, and even with the number of trees they have it is not enough. The pods ripen to different colors depending on the type of tree. We saw yellow, scarlet and red-orange ones. The owner took a pod and with a cleaver made slits all around the center of the pod and then broke it apart. Inside were all these white seeds that looked like garlic cloves. They were encased in this filament which the owner says is very sweet and eaten like candy. All the seeds had a milky covering and he pulled them out and laid them on the table. Within minutes, geckos were climbing on the table and licking at it. It was cute but kind of disgusting. The man said not to worry because next about 600 lbs of the seeds would be put into an untreated mahogany box where they would stay for six days and the coating would ferment and ooze out the sides. Then they would put the seeds on large grates with small openings covered by a leaning metal roof and they would stay there about 28 days roasting in the sunlight and being stirred every day. Chocolate is not like coffee in that the cocoa beans are roasted by sunlight while the coffee beans are roasted in large metal drums. After that the process to make the chocolate begins. The pods have to be harvested every 14 days, 26 times a year. It takes about three hours for the workers to open all the pods and get the seeds into the fermenter. It was a great tour And of course we bought our share of chocolate. After that we headed to a local market where we all purchased new clothing of sorts and Gerri and Becky had shaved ice, which is a big thing here. A small dish was the size of an orange, a regular the size of a large grapefruit. Really exotic flavors to chose from. Now we are doing laundry and getting ready to go out to dinner at a high class restaurant. Strange thing here is that everywhere casual is the by word. Only lawyers and judges wear suits. Everyone else wear shorts and Hawaiian shirts or sundresses or slacks and slippers. Hawaiians have slippers for every occasion, from rubber thongs to high heeled flip flops. Well, got to go. Dryer just beeped and I need a shower. Aloha! For those of you who don’t know, aloha means hello, goodby, love and a myriad of other things. Aloha!


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