by Deborah Gushman
At some hotels, you might consider yourself lucky to find a mass-produced mint on your pillow at bedtime. But at Waikiki’s ultra-gracious Halekulani—which never "fudges" anything—all the hotel’s guests (a roster which frequently includes European royalty, world-class musicians and NBA superstars) find a box of hand-made chocolates waiting in their rooms when they check in. Diplomatically divided between milk chocolate and dark, the Halekulani’s irresistible candies melt slowly in the mouth to disclose subtle tropical-fruit fillings.
photo by Kent S. Hwang
So where do these exquisite hand-wrought delicacies originate? From a walk-in-closet-sized, climate-controlled, glass-windowed room in the hotel’s labyrinthine, bustling pastry kitchen. There, Pastry Chef Franz Schaier and Chocolatier Yoshikazu Inouye collaborate on the work of satisfying the guests’ craving for cacao. Inouye, who has been at his job for nineteen years, cranks out 2,400 of the "welcome chocolates" every day. The high-grade ingredients include Tahitian vanilla beans and French, Swiss and Belgian chocolate. Schaier, a twinkly, white-moustached man from Zurich who has been with the Halekulani since 1984, specializes in devastating chocolate desserts such as Toblerone Mousse Cake and Chocolate Dobash Torte. "With chocolate," says the slender pastry chef, "you just can’t go wrong."