When I watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as a child, I had visions of chocolate rivers and peppermint trees at every factory and I longed to visit one.
And while there aren’t any chocolate rivers at the Mauna Loa Factory or Big Island Candies, these factories are not to be missed.
These two chocolate factories are located on the Hilo side of the Big Island of Hawaii and both provide a sneak peek into the chocolate making process.
When approaching the Mauna Loa Factory, you’ll drive through the macadamia nut orchards where the nuts are harvested. Once at the factory, you can see the operations first hand as you peer through large windows at the factory on their self guided tour.
Stroll along the walkway as you watch the whole process, from the husking of the nuts and covering them in chocolate, all the way to the packaging. And in case you’re craving some of the world famous chocolate covered macadamia nuts, samples are available in the store next to the factory.
From macadamia nuts to macadamia shortbread.
Big Island Candies creates chocolate covered shortbread that melts in your mouth. The shortbread, made with local eggs and high quality ingredients, is hand dipped and flavors range from plain to lemon, from macadamia nut to coffee (using local Kona Coffee).
When you first enter the factory in Hilo, it appears as if it’s only a store until you see the glass wall separating the store from the factory.
As you taste one of the numerous samples provided by the staff, watch the workers in the factory dip shortbread or several other delicious items into chocolate.
Peruse the aisles full of different delicacies from truffles and biscotti, to cookies, brownies and shortbreads. And if you’re not a fan of chocolate, there are plenty of non-chocolate items to choose from. There’s even some unique treats, such as chocolate dipped cuttlefish. Ah, the curious nature…
For more information on both of these chocolate factories, please visit the following:
Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corp
16-701 Macadamia Road
Keaau, Hawaii 96749
Open 8:30am-5:00pm daily except Sundays and holidays.
Big Island Candies
Big Island Candies Headquarters, Chocolate Factory and Gift Shop
585 Hinao Street
Hilo, Hawaii 96720
The gift shop is open from 8:30am-5:00pm 365 days a year and factory operations can be seen Monday – Thursday from 8:30am-3:45pm.