Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Better than cocoa

Nadine Kam photos
There's a reason the Aztecs considered chocolate to be a gift from the gods. Ahh!

Blue Hawaii Lifestyle makes good use of Twitter whenever the company is testing new products and needs to mobilize a focus group to say "yay" or "nay."

The latest group came together Dec. 3 at the downtown cafe, which didn't have to pull any arms to lure people in for a tasting of a new chocolate drink.

Waialua Estate Coffee & Chocolate's sales and marketing manager Derek Lanter was there to mix the drinks, made with Waialua Estate 70 percent dark chocolate, with cinnamon, Samoan vanilla, Hawaiian chili pepper. The result is a rich, smooth, foamy drink better than any cocoa I've ever tasted.

Cacao pods on display at Blue Hawaii Lifestyle Cafe's downtown outpost, at 1111 Bishop St. (underground, near Hawaiian Island Stamp & Coin).

BHL owner Michael Zhang had to wait, like everyone else, for a sip. He said he's sure the drink will eventually make it on to the holiday menu, but the only question is how to speed the process when it can get busy at the cafe. Lanter's already thinking ahead to Valentine's Day possibilities.

Another drink about to land on the menu is one of strawberry and mango, with the green of spirulina. It was created by BHL vp Matthew Olson, and in spite of the green, tastes of the fruit. It's one way to get the benefits of the blue-green algae (it's full of protein, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids), without any of the ick factor associated with spirulina. Try it if you have the chance!

Derek Lanter mixes a new drink for Blue Hawaii Lifestyle, made with Waialua Estates dark chocolate.

Cinnamon, Hawaii chili pepper and Samoan vanilla is built into these chocolate bars, which unfortunately, are not available for retail, yet. Lanter may make it available in some form, perhaps with a separate spice packet, for those who want to recreate the drink at home.

Lanter pours the drink, a slow four at a time, and among those waiting for a sip was BHL owner Michael Zhang, a former nuclear physicist, who thought he might do more good for the planet by promoting an eco-conscious health and wellness lifestyle. He's pictured below with his children.

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