Back when I was but a wee lad in high school, I somehow hatched the idea that I wanted to go to college in Hawaii.  I convinced myself that I could really make it happen.  I read about every single school on every single island.  I sent away for brochures.  I even attended an information seminar in Orlando.  In my head, I was going to be surfing to class, going to luaus every night, and quite possibly never wearing shoes again (I’m pretty sure that’s what living in Hawaii is like). 

Sadly, I never make it to the Big Island. I chose to run up my crippling college debt right across Tampa Bay at a crappy university I won’t even dignify by naming. 

So every time I run across anything Hawaiian or Hawaii-inspired, I wistfully dream of what might have been (I could be blogging from Robin Masters’s estate at this very moment). 

This week while snackspotting at Target, I came across these Mauna Loa Dark Chocolate Macadamias and shed a solitary tear for my tropical life that never was.  I figured I owed it to my 1997 self to give them a try.

Chocolate-covered nuts are nearly impossible to screw up.  I mean, you have your chocolate and you have your nuts.  It’s not rocket science.  Even at their worst, they’re never that bad. These fall distinctly into the middle of that road.

They’re ok. They’re not great and they’re certainly not terrible. But they do have a few issues.

For starters, the chocolate-to-nut ratio is way off.  There is entirely too much chocolate covering these poor macadamia nuts. You don’t want your chocolate subsuming your macadamias.  You want your chocolate and macadamias to work as a team, to push each other to be the best they can be.  These nuts are totally lost in chocolate.

And the chocolate is not so great to begin with.  It’s supposed to be dark chocolate, but I found it not nearly dark enough and entirely too sweet.  I could only eat a few of these at a time because there was just too much sugar at the party.

There’s also a texture issue that skeeves me out.  If you just start chomping on these things, you wouldn’t even notice.  But I like to let them dissolve on my tongue a bit.  Not a great idea.  These have a weird, shiny skin surrounding the actual chocolate that sloughs off in patches as the chocolate starts to dissolve.  Appealing I know.  I want to pretend I’m in Waikiki when I’m eating my tropical snacks, not in a leper colony.

Are Mauna Loa Dark Chocolate Macadamias great?  No.  Would I eat them again?  Yes. They’re a decent snack when you need a quick chocolate fix.  They’re not going to win any awards, but I don’t think anyone’s going to complain if you pass them around. 

Maybe some day I’ll make it to Maui and have amazing chocolate-covered macadamia nuts fed to me on a white sandy beach by a beautiful island girl with TC and Rick not far off, shaking their heads at my incorrigible antics.  But until then, these will have to do.