These Hawaiian Taro Doughnuts Combine Sophistication and Whimsy
Hole chalice donut with ocean in background — Photo by Marla Cimini
Holy Grail Reinventing the doughnut while serving up the deliciousness of Hawaii.
With an exclusive recipe made entirely from scratch, Holey Grail has quietly turned the doughnut industry upside down by making delicious taro doughnuts using premium local ingredients.
This family-owned business is known across the island for creating sophisticated and unexpected flavours, vibrant colours and clever designs. Made with a special homemade recipe and deep fried in organic coconut oil, these creative doughnuts have a light and crisp texture that fans say are incredibly addicting.
Holey Grail was founded in Kauai in 2018 by an innovative team of siblings Nile and Hana Dreiling. After moving to the island, Hana has been running her own catering business for several years, focusing on farm-to-table cuisine using local ingredients. A few years later, the Nile came to the island, with a background in ecological engineering and culinary knowledge (and the doughnut industry). Together, they conceived Holey Grail Donuts with a mission to connect local chefs and farms using the highest quality ingredients.
Holey Grail started out as a humble Kauai food truck company in the sleepy town of Hanalei with a Sunday fryer for making small batch snacks. It quickly drew a loyal crowd, and they quickly attracted eager fans at 6:30am. Today, the business has expanded throughout Hawaii and more recently to the continental United States.
Reverse Engineering Donuts
Holey Grail Lilikoi Donuts — Photo by Holey Grail Donuts
What makes this doughnut experience so special? Niles explained that the Holey Grail was created through skilled “reverse engineering.” He said: “We basically look at what it takes to make a normal doughnut, then step by step we replace everything with higher quality ingredients and components. This allows us to develop savory recipes with special flavours.
He added: “Everything about our doughnuts and drinks is healthier than anything on the market. For example, I would say 90% of doughnut shops are fried in hydrogenated vegetable oil, which is very unhealthy. I believe We were the first donut shop to fry donuts with coconut – because we worked hard to do it. You can’t easily take a “regular” doughnut recipe and start making it because it will split and not get it right Done. So we had to develop our recipes specifically to use coconut oil. That’s the whole approach – we want to feel good about everything in our products.
A plate of chalice donuts with holes — Photo courtesy of Marla Cimini
Additionally, Holey Grail’s doughnuts are considered a healthier option because Dreilings create their own artisan taro mix and, unlike many doughnut shops, don’t use any other premixes in their creative recipes thing. They only use organic ingredients grown on the island, including locally ground flour, poi (fermented taro root), herbs, tropical produce and other secret/local ingredients to give the pastries their unique taste.
With smart, playful names and bright colors and designs, their line of fresh, rotating flavors includes OG Glazed, Island Chocolate, Pineapple Express, Miso Honey, Kale’n It and Prosperity (made with kumquat and poppy seeds).
Here are their top-selling donuts: Reincarated (with maple, smoked coconut oil, and Hawaiian sea salt), Lilikoi (with wild and yellow Jamaican lilikoi), Hail Mary (with stone-ground cardamom and rose), and Wild Guava (with strawberry guava, bee pollen and edible flowers). They also offer a variety of weekly four-pack tasting boxes and creative seasonal specials.
Celebrate Hawaii with donuts
Holey Grail Dragon Fruit Donuts — Photo by Holey Grail
Hana said, “Our mission is to change the way people think about donuts and create a product that celebrates Hawaii. So if you taste our donuts, you’ll find Hawaiian flavors based on seasonal and premium ingredients. We Most of the flavors come from our visits to local farms and are inspired by interesting or niche tasting notes and let the complex flavors evolve naturally.
She continued, “I feel the doughnut is the perfect vehicle to connect people with ingredients found within the community. I believe we celebrate our partnership with Hawaii by encouraging the development of Hawaii’s agricultural economy, using locally grown ingredients, and supporting the island. The farm partnership has had a positive impact on Hawaii.
Holy Grail Donut with Hole — Photo courtesy of Marla Cimini
She noted that they are passionate about sustainability and have created the world’s first 100% compostable doughnut box, available as a small single doughnut option, as well as a four-pack of “tasting boxes” that are sold weekly Change and offer a variety of different flavors. These can include chocolate, savory, sweet and fruity options.
Working with other local agribusinesses has become a unique partnership. For example, Holey Grail uses select single estate cocoa from Lydgate Farms on Kauai for its chocolate flavors. Hana said: “Since we started supporting Lydgate on a regular basis, they’ve been using acres of land for the cocoa we use for our doughnuts, which is pretty cool. We made a chocolate crisp variety that looks easy, but due to The quality of chocolate and the texture of donuts, it is one of our most special flavors.
In addition to their doughnuts, Holey Grail also makes delicious artisanal beverages, including iced coffee and hot coffee and tea blends.
Nile and Hana Dreiling at Holey Grail Donuts — Photo by Holey Grail Donuts
Hawaiians can’t get enough of these treats, so Holey Grail has expanded to multiple locations across the island, with more/new locations opening in the continental US in 2022. Currently, Holey Grail has two locations in Kauai, Oahu and most recently in Southern California. The company plans to have seven locations by the end of 2022. (They have also attracted the attention of well-known celebrities as potential investors and hope to announce their partnership later this year.)
Hana added: “I think donuts bring joy to people. It really feels good to support our community and bring people together. It’s been a truly uplifting experience.
article Unmissable Hawaiian Treasures first appeared in Zimo News.