Kensington creates souvenir chocolate brand
The CNMI now has a chocolate souvenir it can proudly call its own with Kensington Hotel Saipan launching its Chico de Marianas brand of chocolates.
Inspired by Kiss of Marianas in Chamorro, Chico de Marianas encapsulates the unique flavors the Marianas has to offer—ma’aksom (citrus sour lime), duci (tropical sweet mango), pika (spicy hot pepper), and ppwil (creamy sweet potato)—all encased in premium Belgian chocolate.
Organically grown small-round type Saipan limes, ma’aksom is known for its juicy flesh, acidic flavor, and refreshing aroma, while duci are mangoes grown on Saipan that have a dainty subtle curve with blushing red end and golden yellow flesh inside.
Pika, meanwhile, has been made famous by Tinian’s yearly Pika Fest that celebrates the island’s donne sali hot pepper, which may be small in size, but intensely spicy in taste.
Lastly, ppwil is Rota’s kamutis sweet potatoes that are known for their sweet flavor, rich texture, and tinted purple color.
Kensington Hotel Food & Beverage director Eun Ah “Amy” Cho said indulging on Chico de Marianas also has steps as you have to enjoy them in order—sour (ma’aksom), sweet (duci), spicy (pika), and creamy (ppwil)—to experience the rich flavor of the chocolate more.
Pastry chef Sung Won “Sam” Hong said they chose the first four flavors of Chico de Marianas because they best identify the tropical paradise of the CNMI.
“We want to use local produce that’s why we chose the local lime, local mango, Tinian hot pepper, and Rota sweet potato,” he said adding that they want local farmers to sell them limes, mangoes, hot peppers, and sweet potatoes so they can ramp up production of Chico de Marianas.
After starting two weeks ago, Cho they currently make 100 boxes a day which is exactly 400 pieces of Chico de Marianas.
“Target is to make Chico de Marianas the souvenir chocolate of choice to bring home by tourists after visiting the CNMI,” she said.
Cho and Hong said Kensington Hotel is open to develop more flavors using local produce like breadfruit (malafala) and coconut.
Both also acknowledged the candy-making skills of chef Haena Kim.
“She is a very good candymaker and can basically make a chocolate out of everything,” said Cho.
“I like spicy flavors and I like making chocolates,” said Kim.
Chico de Marianas is not only enticing tourists, but is also welcomed by local residents.
According to Cho, local customers buy the chocolate as gifts for their loved ones or whom they want to express appreciation to.
Some residents purchase Chico de Marianas when they travel and visit friends and families overseas.
Chico de Marianas is available 10am-5pm everyday at OHAS Café in Kensington Hotel Saipan. It will soon be available at Kensington Hotel’s sister hotels Pacific Islands Club Saipan and Coral Ocean Resort. It costs only $19.90 per box and $70 for four boxes.
For more information about Chico de Marianas or to reserve orders, call (670) 322-3311.