Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Hawaii: Day 7 ~ Chocolate Farm, Palace Tour, and Snorkeling

I taught a class on chocolate at our homeschool co-op.  Fascinating subject!  Once I learned it has edible fruit, I wanted to taste it.  (Yep, it was on my bucket list!)  Cacao trees grow in warm, humid climates, and Hawaii is one of the rare locations where you can find them.  I was hoping I'd get an opportunity to try the fruit on a chocolate farm tour.  Here's their shop.

Similar to coffee, cacao seeds must be dried before they can be turned into chocolate.

A mammoth tree.

Cacao pods.  I believe these turn yellow as they ripen.

The red ones probably turn vibrant red when ripe.

The owner cut a pod open.

Several lizards came out to nibble on the white pulp (fruit), which is very sweet.  They were expecting it!  I wondered when our turn would come.  :)

I'm quite fond of this picture below.  Can you spot the lizard?

We didn't get to sample the fruit, so I asked where we might purchase a pod.  He suggested a natural foods store.  Perfect!  I could look around and see what other wonders were there.

Sure enough, they had cacao pods, and they were only $2.39/lb.

Our tour guide told me she liked eating mountain apples, so we bought one of those too.

A neat shot Greg got of birds.

We took a tour of Hulihe'e Palace.  This was just a summer home.  The real deal is on Oahu.  They didn't allow pictures inside, but we got some from the outside.  We learned about Hawaiian royalty and history.

For lunch, we ate at Bubba Gump.  It was a good meal, and our server was incredible.  If I didn't know better, I'd say he'd been trained by our friends, the McDs.  The young man was a natural showman.  Friendly and engaging, he entertained us with a quiz and rewarded us with stickers.  We should have taken a picture.

We rented snorkeling gear around 3:30.  Pretty late in the day to start that, and I wondered if it was worth it.  It was!  We had a lot of fun but were ready to be done after a couple hours.  We also got a great deal.  Gear for all of us together was under $28, and that included my mask having a -7 lens.  My eyes are even worse, but I saw well enough to enjoy it.

That evening, we sampled various fruits and packed.  The cacao pod was dried out.  :(  If you compare the shot below with the white fruit of the pod at the cacao farm earlier in this post, you can see that it should look bright white and milky.  We still tried it.  It was indeed sweet.  Most people just chew it up and spit it out, which is what we did.  Still hoping I can taste a fresher version someday.

The mountain apple reminded us of a pear, but with a weird exotic taste.  We didn't care for it, but I could see learning to like it.  It would have been nice if we'd had someone there to tell us whether what we were tasting was quality.  It was obvious the cacao was too dry, but we weren't sure about some of the others like the mountain apple and star fruit.  Of everything we tried, the only fruit taste we all liked more by the end of the trip was guava - this one in the form of juice.  The others would need more time to acquire a taste.

Greg, poor guy, overdosed on pineapple.  He loves pineapple and didn't want the one in our complimentary basket to go to waste.  We should have cut it open sooner, but we waited until we were sampling everything else.  None of us were all that hungry, so Kylen and I didn't eat much of it.  Needless to say, he didn't have an appetite for pineapple the rest of the trip.

And that was day 7!


Laurie said...

What great photos and it's been fun reading about your trip. So many interesting and fun things! Thanks for the postcard too. I put it up in the living room, in my desktop. A pretty little tropical vibe! Thanks for sharing your experience with me!

Farrah said...

I'm glad you're enjoying the posts! :) Blogging the trip is time-consuming, but it helps me document the basic details I'd like to remember and forces me to sort through all the pictures to figure out the ones worth keeping.

You're welcome! I almost didn't get postcards done, but I really wanted to send some. I'm glad it worked out!