Adding bursts of vibrant color and taste in Wailea Gateway is Sweet Paradise Chocolatier, an artisan boutique. It joins Merriman's Monkeypod Kitchen, Pita Paradise and the soon-to-open Guava, Gouda and Caviar cheese store at the top of Wailea Ike Drive.
Walk in the door and you'll find a baby-grand piano, which will be used for monthly music and chocolate pairings along with a host of island-made confections and a representation of the island's best chocolate bars.
"It took nine months to open and it felt like giving birth," says owner and master chocolatier Melanie Boudar. "Our soft opening was May 13 and now our hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week."
“Hawaii is the only U.S. state to grow cacao,” says owner Melanie Boudar. “We try to represent everyone in Hawaii’s industry.”
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
As you peruse the tiny shop, check out the life-size replica of a cacao tree created by artist Elizabeth Miller of Volcano, and the giant cacao mural.
"We do 40 different kinds of truffles, with an emphasis on local spices, fruit purees and other island ingredients as much as possible," says Boudar. "Our kitchen is in Lahaina, but it will move to Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu this September."
Indulge in exotic pairings such as Thai Coconut Curry, Wasabi Ginger Sesame, Lemon Basil with Cracked Pink Peppercorn, tropicals such as Lilikoi Silk, Mango Mojito, Lime in the Coconut, Island Spice (Kona cinnamon, local vanilla bean, Big Island clove and fresh young ginger) and super spicy chocolates such as the Pineapple Habanero or the Firecracker with Hawaiian Chili Pepper.
"We also carry chocolate bars from various Hawaiian- grown plantations, single origin bars from around the globe, dried tropical fruits dipped in chocolate, toffee, chocolate covered peaberry coffee beans and a variety of gifts for the chocolate lover."
Or, you may cool off with Big Island's Tropical Dreams sorbets and gelatos, including flavors created especially for Sweet Paradise featuring Waialua Estate chocolate chip and salt caramel.
Boudar has won numerous awards for her chocolate artistry, including the Coveted Judges Choice award the past three years running at the Kona Chocolate Festival and The Edible Hawaiian Islands Magazine Local Hero Food Artisan award in 2010. She's a founding member of the Fine Chocolate Industry Association, a network of small artisan chocolatiers across North America. Call 344-1040 or visit sweetparadisechocolate.com.