Star-Advertiser, Buy Local Article on Hawaiian Nougat Company

Posted on Sep 18, 2013 in SOQ Companies


Locally sourced items star in nougat maker’s products


POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Sep 13, 2013



KRYSTLE MARCELLUS / [email protected]
Pete and Liz Anderson use mostly local ingredients when making nougat in their shop in Kaimuki.

KRYSTLE MARCELLUS / [email protected]
Liilii Chocolate Nougat


You say NOO-gut, she says noo-gah, because she is a confectioner classically trained in making nougat in France, and that’s how they say it there.

Now Liz Anderson and her husband, Pete, are here and run Hawaiian Nougat Co. LLC at 3613 Waialae Ave.

They started the business in 2008 in rented commercial kitchen space at Pacific Gateway Center in Kalihi, where they made nougat using all but two local ingredients, based on supplier research done with the state Department of Agriculture.




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“We’re using Maui sugar, Maui vanilla beans, Hilo mac nuts, lehua honey and local egg whites,” Liz Anderson said. Some nougat is dipped in dark chocolate from the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory in Captain Cook on Hawaii island.

The only two ingredients not sourced locally are an edible wafer-paper made from potato starch, and glucose, which “all nougatiers use to stabilize the nougat.”

It would be cheaper to source mainland ingredients and macadamia nuts from, say, Australia, but she notes, nougats’ nuts are native to their nations of origin. “Arabs use pistachios, Italians use hazelnuts and the French use almonds.” Therefore, Hawaii-made nougat should contain Hawaii-grown macadamia nuts. Plain and simple.

Expansion to its own space was possible due to a large contract.

“In August of 2012 we received a contract from Whole Foods to supply nougat … so that really gave us the impetus to try and find a location and buy equipment,” Anderson said.

They moved into their production kitchen, retail store and classroom, near Azteca and Coffee Talk, in December.

English- and Japanese-speaking customers interested in chocolate-making using Valrhona French chocolate can sign up for classes, at $150 for local residents, or $175 for a session with an interpreter. Her Belgian and Italian chocolate molds are available for sale and are popular with culinary students from Kapiolani Community College, she said.

In working with the state Agriculture Department to find local ingredient suppliers, Hawaiian Nougat eventually worked its way to a state of Hawaii Seal of Quality.

Program enrollees represent “the cream of Hawaii products,” said Janelle Sane­ishi, public information officer for the Agriculture Department.

Launched in May 2006, the Hawaii Seals of Quality program was designed to protect the integrity and value of the marketing cachet Hawaii bears.

Produce bearing the seal is 100 percent Hawaii-grown, while for value-added products the “primary agricultural product” used to make the item “must be entirely produced in the state,” Sane­ishi said. “I’ve talked to a lot of producers” who say the seal helps by lending credibility as “a quality product,” Sane­ishi said.

In addition to her background in pastry and confectionary schooling and work, Anderson also has been a special-education teacher. “I have a lot of backgrounds,” she said.

“I was a tough special-ed teacher. I didn’t want the childrens’ disabilities to hinder whatever they wanted to do in life,” Anderson said. Last semester the Andersons participated in a work-study program with upperclassmen at Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind in which students would help with packaging. She hopes to resume the program when the school is ready.