Chocolate Factory Tour at Hawaiian Host!

I love watching shows like Unwrapped or How it’s Made because they reveal such cool behind-the-scenes action on how foods make it from the factories to the store shelves. My own first factory tour happened in 2002 at the Kohler (toilet factory!) plant in Wisconsin, and I can happily say that this blog has enabled me to visit a lot more, (non-potty related) factories.

I’ve visited coffee farms in Hawaii, vanilla vineyards, distilleries, pineapple farms, and local breweries just to name a few. Getting to see how the food magic happens, is one of my favorite things!

Most recently, I learned how chocolate covered macademia nuts, are made at the Hawaiian Host chocolate factory. Although their corporate headquarters and main producing plant is located in Honolulu, Hawaii, there is a mainland factory which produces for the rest of the US. Did you know? It’s located right here in Southern California!


The ALOHAMACS, are the newest family member to the Hawaiian Host family. In 2012, they held a contest to find their new Hostess, Kawehi Navarro. Who now is the face on the box and has other Miss America-like duties! Lucky lady!


So, what’s it like being inside a chocolate the factory?

When I first got there, I was suited up in a hairnet and lab coat. Safety first!


Backyard Bite, inside the Hawaiian Host factory!

My friends and I learned about the company’s history:  The founder, Mamoru Takitani experimented in his parent’s attic, and along with his wife, they blended chocolates and developed his unique recipe that holds up to this day. Hawaiian Host eventually became the country’s largest exporter of chocolate covered macadamia nuts.

Macadamia nuts growing on the tree, just outside the factory

There are a lot of other companies that sell chocolate macs, but Hawaiian Host was the first to actually dry roast the nuts – thus revolutionizing the taste and the industry. They also use macadamia nuts from independent growers on the Big Island of Hawaii, so you know you’re getting the real deal. Here’s the full company history and timeline.

Inside the factory, you might imagine that it’s a bit like that one episode of I Love Lucy. Hairnets and chocolate everywhere! What you don’t foresee is the intense chocolate aroma that permeates the entire building. It smells so good!!

Every employee has their specific job; whether it be sifting, sorting, wrapping, packing, etc. They had better be paying attention cause that conveyor belt goes by fast! I was really impressed — These guys are pros.

Sorting and placing the nuts, two by two

The nuts are roasted… placed very carefully in the chocolate… and then smothered in more chocolate… Yum!

Chocolate is being placed onto of the macadamia nuts

Chocolate is being placed onto of the macadamia nuts

And then they are finished off with their signature swirl…


After being carefully sorted, weighed and boxed, they are ready for shipment all across the US and the world!

Could I be the next Hawaiian Hostess?? Look at this face…


… Ok, well, probably not. I’m pretty sure you gotta be Hawaiian for that job. Maybe my Hawaiian friend Jay can try out for it next time. Haha!

Bloggers @Chef_Jay @backyardbite & @KristieHang

While these tours are not offered to the public, you can at least purchase the chocolates pretty much everywhere!

*Thank You Hawaiian Host for the invitation to visit your facility!!


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