While the term “luxury” is somewhat an abstract term that’s hard to define — it’s easy to determine when something feels that way. And for Hawai‘i — a destination quite accessible for many, one can still come across that world of indulgence the Islands has to offer — if one knows where to look.
Enter KOHO — a premier line of Island-inspired artisanal chocolates. Hailing from Hawai‘i, the artfully crafted line features visually enticing bonbons infused with exotic flavors, and draw inspiration from the islands themselves, from ocean to macadamia orchard.
“Koho is the Hawaiian word for ‘choose,’ which highlights our role in having carefully selected the flavors and ingredients for this collection; components that best express the Hawai‘i we love,” shares Theresa Tuxhorn, Director of Global Branding for Hawaiian Host. “Additionally, koho also translates to ‘the tip of the paddle,’ which honors the spirit of innovation that has driven Hawaiian Host from the start.”
From its inception, the concept of KOHO was to put itself on the map to be the artisanal chocolate brand of the Islands and to reshape the perception of “luxury in Hawai‘i.” KOHO is about featuring its line of chocolates as treasure. And through innovation and storytelling, the brand highlights and honors each of the ingredients and flavors of Hawai‘i that go into creating this high-end collection. In short, KOHO is all about the experience. Tuxhorn adds, “Today’s luxury customers are looking for more than something they can hold and keep — they are seeking that one-of-a-kind experience, wanting the story and the excitement of discovery. And that’s what KOHO is about, to discover the nuances of Hawai‘i that make it so unique.”
KOHO, the latest brand from the Hawaiian Host Group portfolio, is a true departure from its sister brands, Hawaiian Host and Mauna Loa. KOHO prides itself as a treasure that’s Found for You — a collection of exquisite chocolates which create moments of discovery for those who wish to experience it. All KOHO bonbons are hand-painted chocolate shells with an enticing array of flavors nestled within. Each chocolate is dome shaped and features bold hues, representing each flavor’s particular profile and aroma.
Take for example, the Macadamia Blossom Honey Caramel, which shines in its blush pink hue with red accents, emanating a sweet floral scent much like the jasmine flower. The macadamia blossom’s sensual aroma is irresistible and balanced with warm notes of chocolate. Have you ever tried a liliko‘i, so lemon-like and sweet? The Lilikoʻi Caramel has a sunset-painted chocolate shell with a burst of liliko‘i caramel — buttery and tart — inside.
KOHO’s first standalone brick-and-mortar retail pop-up will open at Ala Moana Center through Spring 2022. And unlike most pop-ups, the sublime space is fashioned with thoughtful details and serves as a perfect backdrop for the chocolates it houses. The pop-up’s design was intended to give shoppers a feeling of “melting into the landscape,” and has features which highlight the natural elements of the Islands. Think rich woods and lava stone amidst a backdrop of colored linens reminiscent of summer days and blue skies. It’s those very elements coming together that lend that air of luxury — both to the space and those who step into this urban oasis.
But function certainly meets form at this one-of-a-kind boutique. Central to the store is a customization bar where customers can create their own bespoke gift boxes of KOHO. Each bonbon is displayed like the precious gems that they are — beautiful hand-painted bon bons in full view.
Bespoke touches continue throughout the former Diptyque space. In creating a retail sanctuary that conveys a more modern Hawai‘i, the KOHO team partnered with local like-minded artisans whose craftmanship tied nicely into the brand’s concept. Aprons and wrapping scarves from linen purveyors Citron & Date were all hand-dyed on the North Shore by its owner, Jasmine Mullins. Custom rattan screens were hand-woven by a company that has been weaving since 1925, and now led by the founder’s granddaughter, Rita Nazareno. Even store signage is as artful as it is informative, for each was created by local watercolor artist Janet Meinke-Lau. Their participation in KOHO reflects the brand ties to Hawai‘i and our local community. KOHO invites you to take your own experiential flavor journey to paradise with its exotic assortment of fine chocolates. Venture into their new boutique soon.
Photography by: KOHO