Many years ago, I tried a dark chocolate from Hawaii and found it quite delectable. Shark’s 73% has that same rounded fruitiness with a hint of hazelnut. There is no bitterness and the finish has a slight astringency, just enough to make the bar more complex.
Shark’s has a no-nonsense, bare bones operation, and the wrapping is as simple as it gets. Don’t let that fool you. This chocolate is as good as any high end product you would find in a beautiful, fancy package.
As you know, cacao can only grow within 20 degrees north or south of the equator, which means Hawaii is the only place in the US you can actually grow beans. Tom Sharkey, a Hawaiian entrepreneur, has a few trees and a small business. His main goal is to start a cacao revolution on the big island. I think he’ll succeed. Plenty of very well established chocolate companies, like E. Guittard, are already using Hawaiian beans.
As much as you may want to email Tom right now and have some bars sent ASAP, you may want to wait until cooler temps prevail. Sharkey’s really is a very small business and Tom is not set up for fancy cold packs with styrofoam box liners.
Here is a great little YouTube video on Hawaiian chocolate: http://www.hawaiian-skies.com/blog/20110531/kokoleka-chocolate-aloha.