canuk going to hawaii. - moved from General Chowhounding Board
Not sure what you can or can't get in Calgary. When I travel to California its easier for me to pick up macadamias when i get there, rather than carrying them on the plane. May not be the same for you.
Coffee is always a good choice, buy either Lion's or Bad Ass, both reputable Hawaii companies. You can get them at almost any grocery or drug store in the state, including wal mart, target, cvs/longs, etc.
The next on the list would be what is generically referred to as crack-seed, although it includes a wide variety of items. Wholesale unlimited is the best known, and probably largest retailer, has a huge selection of treats that you arent likely to find most places in North America (unless you have a good sized asian population center)
Fresh fruit is problematic (pineapple, papaya, etc) Hawaii has fruitfly, so unless the product is delivered to the airport in an inspected, labeled, approved, etc. package by the distributor, you can't take it on the plane. The same with any kind of seed bearing plant part.
I would bring some Pacifikool ginger syrup. You can get it at the KCC market directly from Cheryl or Tamura's or R. Field in Foodland. It is an amazingly versatile product that I always have on hand for many uses. A large container of Won-Ton Chips from Maebo in Hilo is always good - you can get the large size at Costco or regular size bags at most stores.
Agree on the coffee, but usually have that shipped during the year from several sources. I'm a big fan of many of the Lion Brand products. A few of the "flavored" beans can be a tad overpowering, but then I find some, like the Toasted Coconut, to be sublime. Our first grocery stop is to always pick up a few bags (ground, as we never have a grinder in our hotesl) of the Coconut, and also the Maui "unrefined" sugar. We can easily get a lot of similar sugars, but do not see Maui brand, since our Hilo Hatties closed in Phoenix/Chandler.
All of our produce is for consumption on the Islands, and we buy fresh one each Island, rather than even transport a single banana from Island to Island. If we do not eat it all, then housekeeping gets it in a nice little bowl, when we check out.
Personally, we bring back more books, that are not easily available on-line, or on the Mainland. Lot of locally published tomes. Oh, and artwork.
I would absolutely insist on coming home with a pound of Kona; preferably bought directly from a farm on the big island. There's a lot of stuff of questionable quality and origin being sold in the myriad ABC stores (under the "Kona Blend" moniker) in Hawaii so the farms themselves are the most trusted sources.
On Maui, there's a little vineyard (upcountry) that does surprisingly good wine. Not sure if you could fly with it or not, and I can't remember the name, but they give free samples and it makes for a nice daytrip if you're going upcountry.
Of course, as Babette said, Macadamia nuts are a must!!