Yes, there are many food gifts from Hawaii, but these are for the Kauai-phile. Maybe to remember that special honeymoon or just to bring a little sunshine into your diet.
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#1 – Kauai-an Salt
Let’s start with something light and universally useful. Salt. Everyone needs salt. Even if it is for home cook that that only cooks hard boiled eggs.
These salts from Salty Wahine are special. They are tropically infused salts with Hawaiian cane sugar. Notable flavors include Guava Garlic Salt, Passionfruit Chili Salt, and a Hawaiian Rub that you can rub on just about anything: chicken, fish, tofu, beef, burgers, etc.
Made by a local family, the salts are sold at various local markets in Kauai in either plastic sealed bags or reuseable plastic pepper grinders.
They have a retail store in north shore of Kauai in Hanapepe if you happen to be passing through.
Instead of salting your salad or veggies with regular kosher salt, you can mix it up with one of these infused salts from Salty Wahine.
#2 Kauai-an Coffee
Yes, Kauai does have their own coffee plantation. You can even visit, take a self-guided tour, and enjoy unlimited tastings of each type of coffee sold by Kauai Coffee. How generous!
They sell a grind specifically for cold-brewing, and all their decaf flavors are swiss-water processed. This is the most gentle way to decaffeinate coffee without using synthetic chemicals that strip the beans of additional flavor compounds.
Coffee from the lush tropical forests of Kauai. Brew a hot cup at home without flying all the way there.
#3 Anything from Aunty Lilikoi
Some people collect mustard. It is like a mustard library on in the inside of their refrigerator door, but do they have passionfruit wasabi mustard?
If you are driving through to Waiamea Valley to view the gorge-ous canyons, they have a retail store in a strip mall across the street from Ishihara market along the way. You can stop at the market for poke, and stop at Aunty Lilikoi’s for these take home souvenirs.
#4 Kauai Grown Macadamia Nuts
Started by a US mainland expat who wanted to stay under the Kauaian sun, Kauai Gourmet Nuts elevates the already gourmet macadamia nut to extra goodness. The nuts come from their own small macadamia farm on Kauai, and they use 400lbs of pressure to crack the world’s hardest shell to keep the nut intact.
As a general rule, macadamia nuts are cheaper in Hawaii, no matter which island you go to, so you should always stock up when you go. Macadamia nuts, otherwise, are notoriously pricey elsewhere.
The seasonings on Kauai Gourmet Nuts are unusual. The most popular flavor is the Toffee Crunch. However, if you are adventurous, the Crunch Berries has li-hing powder from a salted, dried Chinese plum on them. They say it tastes like a familiar, childhood breakfast cereal.
Similarly, the Cocao Chip is reminiscent of a chocolate chip cookie, with a glaze of butterscotch, toffee, organic raw cacao nibs, and ground Tahitian vanilla beans.
The packaging is also sweet and attractive. You can buy from the online store and also at the Saturday Farmer’s Market at Kauai Community College.
#5 Koloa Rum
Polynesians brought sugar cane to Kauai as early as 1835. Hawaiian sugarcane is well known, but the rum not quite as much.
Started in 2009, Koloa Rum Company uses local Hawaiian cane sugar, rainwater from Mount Waialeale, and a steam-powered vintage copper pot to make their rum. They sell rum in all colors and varieties including white, gold, dark, spiced, coconut, and coffee.
Kauai rum is locally produced. However, Total Wine & More carries the brand, so if you don’t want to lug glass bottles and extra weight in your luggage, this would be best ordered through a local distributor.
The tasting room in Lihue is free and well worth visiting and tasting if you have the chance. It is located on a plantation with other shops, such as the Aloha Spice Company and Gaylord’s restaurant, which has a vintage piano bar.
Bonus if you are actually traveling to Kauai:
Sugar Loaf Pineapples
When traveling back from Hawaii, you are not allowed to bring any fresh fruit or vegetables, except pineapples. Many farmers markets in Kauai feature Sugar Loaf Pineapples. The flesh is lighter and whiter than a conventional pineapple. It also has low acid and contains more natural sugars.
You are allowed to bring two to the mainland US. Have them handy because security will inspect them to make sure there are no bugs or other insects on them.
If you are traveling to Kauai, you can take all this food home with you for lower sales tax rates and no shipping fees. Just make sure there is room in your luggage.
If you order online, remember to order early so you get these Kauai food gifts delivered in time.