So classically chocolate
By Martha Cheng
Special to The Advertiser
Chocolate for Valentine's Day may not be the most original idea, but sometimes you can't beat a classic.
Here are some of our favorite expressions of chocolate that include cakes to bring home, unusual boxed chocolates and sensuous desserts sure to set the tone for the rest of the night.
PATISSERIE LA PALME D'OR: OPERA CAKE
What's good for royalty just might be good enough for your date. La Palme D'Or's Opera cake ($3.80) was served to the Japanese emperor on his last visit to Hawaii.
It's an elegant and rich dessert that combines the classic flavors of chocolate and coffee, set on a thin wafer of chocolate that provides a delicate crunch in each bite.
Patisserie La Palme D'Or, Ala Moana Center, 941-6161
SATURA CAKES: CLASSIC CHOCOLATE
Satura Cakes' chocolate cupcake (not your traditional cupcake, but literally a cake in a cup) is ideal for a chocolate lover. This classic chocolate dessert ($3.95) includes milk- and dark-chocolate mousse layered between sponge cake, for a combination that's so light and soft, it's almost like a pudding cup.
Satura Cakes, Ward Centre; Harbor Court, 55 Merchant St.; 537-1206 (for both locations)
HOKULANI BAKE SHOP: DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE
For a more familiar cupcake, Hokulani Bake Shop's chocolate on chocolate cupcake ($2.25) features semi-sweet chocolate buttercream frosting atop a dark cocoa cake. Sweet and cute, like your date.
Hokulani Bake Shop, Restaurant Row, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., 587-7098
DIAMOND HEAD MARKET
Tried and true chocolate favorites at Diamond Head Market include the chocolate fudge cake (four layers of old-fashioned chocolate cake, $3.75/slice, $35/whole) and chocolate decadence cake (a flourless torte, $3.50/slice, $24/whole), proving that simple is no less delicious.
Diamond Head Market, 3158 Monsarrat Ave., 732-0077
HONOLULU CHOCOLATE COMPANY
An emporium of chocolate-covered edible jewels, Honolulu Chocolate Company offers a selection of chocolate-dipped fruits and candies ($28/pound for most chocolates, $32/pound for strawberries; some candy priced per piece). Some people might spend as much time in front of HCC's glass case as they do at Tiffany's. From marshmallows to Oreos, from lacquered candied oranges to fresh strawberries, if it tastes good coated in chocolate, most likely you'll find it at the Honolulu Chocolate Company.
Honolulu Chocolate Company, Ward Centre, 591-2997
Philippe and Pierre Padovani create world-class chocolates in a tucked-away shop at Dole Cannery. It's worth seeking out for the 40 varieties of chocolates in meticulous, dainty shapes (a two-piece box starts at $4.85; up to 30 pieces for $58.50).
Some favorites include lilikoi, which tempers the chocolate's sweetness, and kiawe honey ganache, with a distinct honey flavor that rounds out the dark, bittersweet chocolate.
While you're there picking up treats for your sweet, you might as well indulge in some hot chocolate ($3 for 8 ounces). It's thick, rich, liquid chocolate; it's dessert in itself.
Padovani's Chocolates, Dole Cannery, 650 Iwilei Road, 536-4567
SWEET PARADISE CHOCOLATIER
If you're not ready to put a ring on it, Sweet Paradise chocolates might get you off the hook for now. Chocolatier Melanie Boudar used to be a gemstone and diamond buyer, so she has an eye for what makes a girl's best friend.
The truffles and hand-painted chocolates (boxed chocolates start at $16 for a box of six) come in varieties from Pineapple Starfruit to Passionfruit Hearts — candy to both the eye and palate.
Sweet Paradise Chocolatier, 20 Kainehe St., 230-8228
LEWERS LOUNGE: CHOCOLATE DREAMS MARTINI
Admittedly, it doesn't look much like a chocolate cocktail, but this martini at Lewers Lounge ($12) delivers a strong, clear chocolate flavor, not muddled or weighed down by the cream in most chocolate drinks. This is an especially good thing if a pre-dinner drink at romantic Lewers Lounge is a prelude to a nine-course Valentine's Day dinner elsewhere.
Lewers Lounge, Halekulani hotel, 2199 Kalia Road, 923-2311
SAPORI: SAINT REMON
It's ironic that something so sinful is crowned with a "pope's hat" of chocolate ($8). We dare you to behave as you break into this rich, dense dessert. The vanilla creme anglaise and berries are merely decoration on this expression of pure chocolate.
Sapori Enoteca/Birreria, Uraku Tower, 1341 Kapiolani Blvd., 955-3582
ROY'S: HOT CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE
There are many molten chocolate cakes on the island, but Roy's ($9.50) does it best.
A souffle cloud encases a hot, liquid center in this ode to chocolate. It's baked to order, so it can take up to 30 minutes to arrive at your table. But anticipation is half the fun.
Roy's Restaurant, 226 Lewers St., 923-7697; 6600 Kalanianaole Ave., 396-7697; 92-1220 Aliinui Drive, 676-7697
NOBU: GIANDUJA CREMOSO
A perfect quenelle of chocolate cremoso — a silky pudding — is paired with a fine hazelnut and peanut butter powder, all of which melts to a creamy consistency in the mouth. Raspberry and cacao nibs provide a bit of contrasting texture and flavor, but otherwise this dessert ($12) is all smoothness so now the rest is up to you.
Nobu Waikiki, 2233 Helumoa Road, 237-6999