The Dye family has a long and storied history and is known for introducing two of Hawaii's most iconic symbols to the world. The story begins with John Dye, who settled in Hawaii in 1906. A candy-maker by trade, John was hired to manage the candy department in the old Alexander Young Hotel in Honolulu. As demand for his product increased, he hired a young woman named Georgina Dias to dip chocolates. John and Georgina worked side by side, and eventually a romance blossomed, and then marriage. Three children would follow. Earl was the oldest and was soon working alongside his mother and father in the candy store, which they eventually named Dye’s Kandy Kitchen. In 1927, John started experimenting with combining macadamia nuts and chocolate. His new concoction became the very first chocolate dipped macadamia nut. After introducing his new delicacy, John’s legacy was born as well as a new Hawaiian tradition.
When their daughter Ellen came along, the store was renamed Ellen Dye Candies. When her brother Earl was old enough, the chocolate company was passed down to him to continue the family tradition. As Earl’s five children grew, they too worked in the store alongside their family. The store operated non-stop through World War II, an impressive feat when you consider that many of the products they used were being rationed to supply the troops overseas. Earl decided to move the store and warehouse to Kaimuki, where it continued to prosper. In 1960, Ellen Dye Candies was sold to Mamoru Takitani, who renamed the company Hawaiian Host Chocolates.From Ellen Dye Candies to Waimea Chocolate Company
Forward to 2010, following in my grandfather’s footsteps, I decided to reintroduce the Dye name to the emerging Hawai'i cacao industry. My fondest memories as a child were of being the proverbial "kid in the candy store" and my grandfather Earl, the larger than life character who created this very magical world. As an aficionado of fine chocolates, I wanted to create a confection native to Hawai'i in every aspect possible. So, tinkering in the kitchen and working alongside one of Hawai'i's finest European-trained chocolatiers, I learned a lot about the complexities and nuances of the world’s best chocolates and came up with what I feel is the ultimate chocolate-covered macadamia nut confection. At first I wanted to use the same name as the company that operated in my family for nearly 60 years, but couldn't really do that, could I? I instead chose Waimea because much of my family lived there, and Waimea harkens back to a much simpler and relaxed time in Hawai'i. What's important is the story of how my great-grandfather created a confection that will forever be linked to his beloved Hawai'i and how they were favored by people across the globe, including President Franklin Roosevelt.
What is the company about?
Waimea Chocolate Company is about creating a world-class confection using 100% Hawaiian-grown cacao, macadamia nuts sourced from local, independent and sustainable growers, and wholesome ingredients pure to Hawai’i. It is about creating a product uniquely Hawaiian both in terms of the heritage of John and Earl Dye as well as of the islands. It is about providing a hand-made exponential chocolate experience that will take our customer back to the days of old Hawai'i. That other creation? The Ukulele. But that's a story for another day.