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Chocolate Break Giveaway

Chocolate Collaborations and Pairings – June #ChocolateBreak and Giveaway


Is fine chocolate better on its own or when paired with something? Increasingly, people are finding that combining chocolate with other food or drink creates a very special experience.

A 2019 survey of US chocolate consumers revealed that fine chocolate consumers typically enjoy eating chocolate on its own. However, there is a growing trend of pairing chocolate with hot beverages such as coffee and tea. Pairings with alcohol such as wine, whiskey, bourbon, and beer are also gaining in popularity.

The survey found that the top five flavor combinations with fine chocolate are almonds, caramel or toffee, hazelnut, coffee, and coconut. Fine chocolate consumers also enjoy chocolate that incorporates local and seasonal ingredients such as honey, berries, and apples.

We have chosen the month of June 2021 to explore fine chocolate collaborations and pairings. We are featuring three of our member companies, Caputo’s Craft Chocolate, Garcia Nevett – Chocolatier de Miami, and Zak’s Chocolate, each of whom offer a variety of fine chocolate products with innovative flavor combinations. We will be posting about these companies throughout the month — follow Make Mine Fine on Instagram and Facebook, and FCIA on FacebookLinkedInInstagram, and Twitter to learn more.

On June 24th at noon Eastern, we will conclude our month-long celebration with a Chocolate Break/Giveaway on Instagram Live. This is a great opportunity for you to meet the owners of these business, and learn more about pairings and combinations. We’ll announce the winners of the chocolate giveaway during Chocolate Break. You will not want to miss this!

Enter the Chocolate Break Giveaway

To enter the giveaway:

  1. Like our #ChocolateBreak post on Instagram
  2. Follow @makeminefine @caputosmarket @garcia.nevett @zakschocolate
  3. Tag 3 friends in the comments of our Instagram post who will also win a special chocolate delivery

Sign Up for Updates on Chocolate Break

Join our mailing list to get email reminders about Chocolate Break and updates on giveaways, events, and other news.

This month’s featured fine chocolate companies and collaborations

Caputo’s Craft Chocolate

Food has always been an essential part of the Caputo family. After coming to the United States from Greece and Italy, the Caputos owned and operated a small market on Salt Lake’s west side, home to Utah’s very first refrigerated deli case. Tony Caputo’s visits to that little market as a kid, where he would get treats from his aunts who kept shop, served as the original spark of what would eventually become their beloved market and deli.

Caputo’s offers an expansive collection of craft chocolate from around the globe, where the single unifying theme is cacao beans of respectable provenance. Dozens of illustrious brands ship quickly to your door for the same price you’d pay at their markets.

Find out about Caputo’s chocolate pairings classes

Caputo’s Chocolates by Chris Blue

Garcia Nevett – Chocolatier de Miami

Susana and Isabel Garcia Nevett have spent more than a decade perfecting their chocolatier skills, first in France and Venezuela and now in their adopted city of Miami. Always celebrating Venezuelan cacao and chocolate, and now infusing it with the flavors of South Florida, Garcia Nevett – Chocolatier de Miami is the fine chocolate boutique the city was waiting for.

All of Miami’s chocolate and food lovers, as well as those delighted by thoughtfully created gifts and self-indulgent surprises, will fall in love with Garcia Nevett – Chocolatier de Miami. As master chocolatiers with over a decade of experience, Susana and Isabel have created a unique space to showcase their award-winning chocolates and sweet creations.

Susana and Isabel make all their chocolates by hand using 100% superior Venezuelan chocolate, with original recipes inspired both by their childhoods and local Florida ingredients. Their chocolates have been awarded prizes by Academy of Chocolate and International Chocolate Awards, as well as a Snail of Approval from Slow Food Miami. As Cacao Art, the Garcia Nevett sisters were named one of South Florida’s Food 50 by The Miami Herald and the Indulge 25 from Indulge Miami.

Creative Pairings from Garcia Nevett:

Garcia Nevett Large Deluxe Box 25ct
Large Deluxe Box 25ct

Zak’s Chocolate

Zak’s Chocolate is a local, award-winning small-batch craft chocolate maker and an artisan chocolate shop. They are one of a small number of chocolate shops that makes 100% of their own chocolate. They also use only ethically-sourced cocoa beans. Owners Maureen and Jim Elitzak love chocolate and the amazing natural flavors of fine cacao varieties. What started as Maureen’s home hobby now allows them to share their passion at their small production/retail shop in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

Creative Pairings:

Local Love Zak Pak

It’s your turn!

Do you prefer eating chocolate on its own or paired with coffee, wine, or tea? What are your favorite chocolate flavor combinations? What collaborations have you enjoyed? We would like to hear your views! Tell us in the comments.

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Chocolate Break Giveaway

Celebrating Small Businesses in Fine Chocolate – Plus a Giveaway!


Have you ever dreamed of opening a bakery, coffee, or chocolate shop? There are many rewards and risks involved in owning this type of small business. On one hand, it can be very gratifying to “be your own boss” while serving your local community. On the other hand, the time commitment, stress, and financial risks can be overwhelming, particularly in these challenging times.

The Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA) has chosen the month of May to celebrate small businesses in our community. Although the Small Business Association (SBA) in the United States defines small businesses as those companies with 500 or fewer employees, the majority of FCIA members have 10 or fewer staff. Our members include those along every stage of the cacao supply chain from specialty retailers, chocolate markers, and chocolatiers to traders and farmer groups. All of our members are dedicated to producing and promoting the best flavor and quality chocolates in an ethically responsible manner.

This month we highlight three of our members, Goodnow Farms Chocolate, Moka Origins, and Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate. They each generate a sense of place, pride, and connection in their communities and cacao value chains. They provide opportunity and flexibility that might not be celebrated or supported in larger corporate environments for demographics including women and minorities and for people who think outside of the box. We will be posting about them throughout the month — follow Make Mine Fine on Instagram and Facebook, and FCIA on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter to learn more.

We are also hosting a chocolate giveaway featuring chocolates from each of our three featured members.

On May 27th at noon Eastern, we will conclude our month-long celebration with a new event called Chocolate Break on Instagram Live. Our friends from Dick Taylor, Moka Origins, and Goodnow Farms will talk about their businesses, community programs, and cocoa sourcing. And yes…we will be tasting some amazing chocolate!

We’ll announce the winners of the chocolate giveaway during Chocolate Break. You will not want to miss this!

Enter the Chocolate Break Giveaway

To enter the giveaway:

  1. Like our #ChocolateBreak post on Instagram
  2. Follow @makeminefine @mokaorigins @goodnowfarms @dicktaylorchocolate
  3. Tag 2 friends in the comments of our Instagram post who will also win a special chocolate delivery

Sign Up for Updates on Chocolate Break

Join our mailing list to get email reminders about Chocolate Break and updates on giveaways, events, and other news.

Meet this month’s featured fine chocolate companies

Goodnow Farms Chocolate

Husband and wife owners Tom and Monica Rogan first discovered craft chocolate in, of all places, a vintage furniture shop in Los Angeles. The incredible flavors they tasted in those bars completely changed how they thought about chocolate, and started them on our journey to become single origin chocolate makers.

All of their bars are made at their 225-year-old farm in Sudbury, Massachusetts. They start with cacao beans and sugar, and perform every step of the chocolate making process in-house, including carefully hand wrapping each bar.

Visit Goodnow Farms Chocolate online

Moka Origins

Jeff Abella, and Ishan Tigunait, the co-founders of Moka Origins, met while working on expanding the humanitarian efforts of the Himalayan Institute in Africa.

A generous grant of land helped them invest in creating the ultimate farm-to-bean-to-bar experience. This was the genesis of our commitment to cultivate and hand-source the finest cacao and coffee in the world. They have strong ties to Cameroon where they source cocoa and support local communities and sustainable farming practices.

Visit Moka Origins online

Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate

Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor are deeply rooted in a background of woodworking and boat building. They have always loved working with their hands. The concept of craft has been a guiding principle in their lives from the beginning. After hearing about what was going on in the young and growing American craft chocolate movement, they were drawn to the common threads they saw in working with wood and crafting chocolate from beans. They became fascinated with the new challenge and loved the idea of reinventing the chocolate experience. In 2010, they bought some small-scale equipment and began making chocolate.

Visit Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate online

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Chocolate Buying Guides Chocolate Gifts

Valentine’s Day: Fine Chocolate Gifts and Experiences (Part 2)

Make Mine Fine marketplace features over 100 fine chocolate companies offering direct-to-consumer sales. Many of these companies are small businesses who rely on you to purchase their products during these difficult times. Fine chocolate is a healthier alternative to store-bought candy and most of the companies have more direct purchasing arrangements with cocoa farmers.  

We hope you enjoyed our Valentine’s Day Part 1 listings of delicious box chocolate gifts from our member companies. This Part 2 provides five additional fine chocolate offerings that would make the perfect gift for loved ones.  

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it is wise to order sooner rather than later!


Tandem Chocolates box of eight bonbons in various colors and shapes

Tandem Chocolates

This eight-piece set of bonbons includes seasonal winter and spring flavors and colors. The pink heart is a yuzu caramel layered with strawberry passion fruit ganache. Other flavors include a blue heart, which is a Thai coffee with condensed milk caramel, and a chocolate heart with caramel made from brown sugar caramel and vanilla fleur de sel. The assortment continues with raspberry caramel, cardamom & chili ganache, passion fruit caramel, strawberry passion fruit ganache, soft chocolate caramel, and Madagascar vanilla ganache with brûlée sugar crunch.


Driftless Chocolates box of eight bonbons with attractive decorations

Driftless Chocolates

Driftless Chocolate’s box of eight bonbons includes flavors ranging from Rosemary to Earl Grey, Orange and Anise to Earl Grey Lavender, Milk Chocolate Chai to Garden Mint, English Breakfast Tea to Intentional Dark, Espresso to Cherry Outcroppings and Raspberry. Driftless Chocolates favorites include caramels in flavors of Smokehouse, Sea Salt Honey, Caramelized Pecan, and Creamy Liquid Caramel. 


Raka chocolate bar

Raaka

Not everyone is seeking bonbons as a Valentine’s gift. Why not try Raaka’s Rose Cardamom unroasted dark chocolate bar? This bar is made from the finest Tanzanian cacao, which is gently steamed over rose petals and cardamom, conjuring a luscious and dreamy floral bar. Celestial, ambrosial, transcendental.


Hand painted chocolate heart wrapped with a pink ribbon

LUXX Chocolat

Look at this beautiful hand-painted dark chocolate heart box filled with two luscious chocolates. Indulge in the chocolates and then…either crack the heart to eat as is OR add to a pan of 8 ounces hot milk or non-dairy and enjoy a special hot drinking chocolate.


Dick Taylor’s Vanilla Raspberry seasonal craft chocolate bar

Dick Taylor Chocolates

Dick Taylor’s Vanilla Raspberry seasonal craft chocolate bar is made from their award winning 72% Belize Dark Chocolate with organic cacao from Maya Mountain Co-op in Belize, dusted with a delicious blend of tangy organic raspberries and sweet vanilla coconut palm sugar. A special treat for a special someone.

Categories
Chocolate Buying Guides Chocolate Gifts

Recommended Chocolate Cookbooks – The Perfect Holiday Gift

Recently, I asked acclaimed chef and FCIA board member Maricel Presilla to help me develop a list of chocolate cookbooks to share with our readers. She provided some wonderful suggestions geared for the beginner, all the way to the master chef level. I also added her book to the list, along with a few others! Hopefully you will find the perfect holiday gift from our selections below.   


From FCIA members

Making Chocolate from Bean to Bar to S’more: A Cookbook

Dandelion Chocolate (Clarkson Potter, 2017)

Here is the chronicle of Dandelion, the evolving bean-to-bar company that brought chocolate cool back to San Francisco. With recipes that will make you run to the kitchen in anticipation of complex flavors and dreams of the lands of fine cacao, this is a book that might inspire you to follow on the footsteps of the dynamic team that gave life to this innovative chocolate factory cum cafe in the heart of the Mission district. Inspiring and useful.

Guittard Chocolate Cookbook: Decadent Recipes from San Francisco’s Premium Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Company

Amy Guittard (Chronicle Books, 2015)

Amy Guittard is the fifth generation of the Guittard family, the sole owners of the venerable Guittard Chocolate Company. The company was founded in 1868 by Etienne Guittard, a Frenchman from Tournous who landed in San Francisco looking for gold only to discover a more enduring treasure, chocolate. With 60 recipes of differing levels of complexity and contributions from San Francisco chocolate stars such as Alice Medrich, this is a cookbook that tells an important chapter of the American chocolate story from a company that remains true to its roots.

The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Chocolate with Recipes, Second Edition

Maricel E. Presilla (Ten Speed Press, 2009)

In its 2000 and revised and expanded 2009 editions, The New Taste of Chocolate, a serious reference book from award-winning scholar and chef Maricel E. Presilla, inspired chocolate lovers, makers, and farmers to look deeper into fine cacao from Latin America. This was the first book of its kind to visually present a thorough overview of cacao varieties and their individual flavor profiles from a first-hand perspective and within a historical framework with chocolate recipes, both savory and sweet, calling for specific origins and percentages instead of using generic terms like bittersweet or bitter that mean little to cooks. A book to savor for its scholarship and for recipes that inspire.

Essence of Chocolate

Robert Steinberg and John Scharffenberger (Hyperion, 2006)

John Scharffenberger, a former sparkling wine maker, and Robert Steinberg, a retired physician who loved cooking and had done a brief stint as an apprentice under the legendary Maurice Bernachon, joined forces to create a small craft chocolate factory in 1996, Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker. Beginning in South San Francisco and expanding four years later in Berkeley, they made waves and gained converts. Their chocolate blends made with carefully sourced fine cacao inspired a new generation of small artisanal chocolate makers in the US. This book, born in the Berkeley stage of the Scharffen Berger project, tells the history of an iconic chocolate company and its founders with enticing recipes for all levels of expertise, many from great chocolate experts and chefs such as Flo Braker and Thomas Keller. Visually attractive, the book impresses with quality food and evocative field photography taken at one of the company’s suppliers of Dominican cacao, Hacienda Helvesia, in the island’s El Valle cacao region.

Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate

Pam Williams and Jim Eber (Wilmor Publishing Corporation, 2019)

In the spirit of The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate tells the story of what that next movement in the fine-flavor chocolate symphony might hold. Told in four lively parts covering everything from before the bean to after the bar – genetics, farming, manufacturing, and bonbons – the book features interviews with dozens of international stakeholders across the fine-flavor industry to consider the promises and pitfalls ahead. It looks through what is happening today to understand where things are going, while unwrapping the possibilities for the millions of us who believe that life without the very best chocolate is no life at all.


From master pastry chefs

Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé

Pierre Hermé and Dorie Greenspan (Little, Brown, and Company, 2001)

Dorie Greenspan, a respected US pastry expert and cookbook author with vast experience in France, distills the genius of Pierre Hermé’s chocolate desserts in a book that is both a visual feast and an invaluable source of inspiration for anyone who loves fine chocolate. One of the first renown pastry chefs to work with fine chocolate, Pierre Hermé’s chocolate desserts combine boundless imagination and impeccable technical skill. An essential cookbook in any serious chocolate library.  

Bittersweet: Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate

Alice Medrich (Artisan, 2003)

Alice Medrich, a beloved San Francisco award-winning author and pastry chef, showcased the possibilities of fine dark chocolate with higher cacao content than was the norm when she opened her iconic shop and atelier Cocolat in Berkely more than thirty years ago. This book tells part of her groundbreaking story with delicious recipes in the clear voice of a born teacher.

The Great Book of Chocolate

David Lebowitz (Ten Speed Press, 2004)

An alumnus of Alice Waters’s Chez Panisse and a graduate of Callebaut College in Belgium, the Ecole Lenôtre, and Valrhona’s Ecole du Grand Chocolat, David Lebowiz made a name for himself in San Francisco as an innovative pastry chef with an expertise in chocolate during the heyday of small craft chocolate companies such as Sharffen Berger. Before moving to Paris, where his blogs and cookbooks have attracted a cult following, he wrote this chocolate book for Ten Speed Press’s s Big Book series, tall and slender tomes on single subjects that are both fun and useful. Here is a collection of terrific chocolate recipes worth trying.


For beginners

Chocolate for Beginners: Techniques and Recipes for Making Chocolate Candy, Confections, Cakes, and More

Kate Shaffer (Rockridge Press, 2019)

Clear and informative with beginners in mind, this is a cookbook for first-time users and aficionados of chocolate needing to be taken by the hand by a gentle teacher. Give it to that motivated someone in your life, with a five-pound bag of chocolate couverture for lots of practice


For professionals

The Art of the Chocolatier

Ewald Notter (Wiley, 2011)

From renowned confectioner and pastry chef Ewald Notter, a gold medal winner of the Coupe du Monde in Lyon, France, this is a comprehensive illustrated overview of the exacting art and science of chocolate confections. A valuable resource for any chocolatier.

Chocolates and Confections: Formula, Theory, and Techniques for the Artisan Confectioner, Second Edition

Peter P. Greweling (Wiley, 2012)

Years teaching baking and pastry arts at The Culinary Institute of America inform Greweling’s impressive compendium of chocolate and confections. Described as a Bible on the subject by admiring readers, it is an indispensable reference for anyone seriously interested in the technical aspects of artisan confections.

Encyclopedia of Chocolate; Essential Recipes and Techniques, Edited by Frederic Bau, Second Revised Edition

Ecole du Grand Chocolate Valrhona (Flammarion, 2018)

Targeting mainly those who want to perfect their chocolate desserts, this is a pictorial cookbook with step-by-step instructions edited by Frederic Bau, the renowned instructor of Ecole du Grand Chocolate Valrhona in collaboration with master pâtissier Pierre Hermé. Among the important contributions of this lavishly illustrated and elegant tome are sound techniques that can be applied to chocolate desserts made with any fine chocolate, not just Valrhona’s.


For vegans

Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts

Fran Costigan (Running Press Adult, 2013)

A New York-based pastry chef and teacher, Fran Costigan lives what she preaches, embracing a diet free of all animal products, including eggs and dairy, and applying it creatively to her cooking and baking with chocolate. For those looking for deliciousness in dairy and egg-free chocolate desserts, this cookbook is the answer.


For passionate cooks

Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies

Laura Esquivel (Anchor, 1995)

A jewel of Latin American magic realism for those who believe in the wonders and mysteries of cooking. There might not be much hot chocolate in this novel, but plenty of passionate cooking stirs the senses like the burbling, steaming hot water needed for a hearty cup of Mexican chocolate.

Make your gift complete with 220 gram bag of Goodnow Almendra Blanca Single Origin Hot Cocoa, made with premium cacao from Tabasco, Mexico, a Gold and Best in Competition prize winner in the recent International Chocolate Awards World Drinking Chocolate Competition 2020 in Hannover, Germany.

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Chocolate Buying Guides Chocolate Gifts

Fine Chocolate Gifts for the Holidays (Part 2)

Last week, I posted some holiday chocolate gift ideas from members of the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA). Here is part 2, which was prepared by FCIA Intern, Ulgen Kurygin. We hope you enjoy it!

Remember, ordering from Make Mine Fine helps to support artisan chocolate makers and farming communities who grow cocoa responsibly in the tropics. 

Hot Chocolate 

Chocolate Advent Calendars

Gift Jars of Chocolate Sauce

Interesting Chocolate Gifts

Holiday Seasonal Chocolate Boxes

Categories
Chocolate Buying Guides Chocolate Gifts

Fine Chocolate Gifts for the Holidays (Part 1)

The Make Mine Fine website has made it easier than ever to find the perfect holiday chocolate gift for someone special in your life. Chocolate gifts can enhance any of the upcoming holidays:   

  • November 26: Thanksgiving (United States)
  • December 8: Bodhi – Day of Enlightenment (Bhudhist)  
  • December 10 – December 18: Hanukkah (Jewish)
  • December 25: Christmas (Christian)
  • December 21 – 25: Pancha Ganapati (Hindu) 
  • December 26 – January 1: Kwanzaa (Pan-African festival)
  • January 1: New Year’s Day 

Ordering fine chocolate from Make Mine Fine helps to support artisan chocolate makers and farming communities who grow cocoa responsibly in the tropics. 

Are you looking for gluten free or sugar free chocolate? Perhaps you are interested to find some great new chocolate recipes. Our new search feature allows you to easily find any of these specialty items. Simply go to the homepage, scroll down to “Select Category,” and choose what you are looking for.  

Here is my list of chocolate gift ideas and classes for the holidays. (And also check out our other chocolate gift guides.)


Luxx Chocolat 
(New Jersey)

Voted one of the best chocolatiers and confectioners in America for the past five years, Luxx Chocolat offers great chocolate, special events planning, pairings and tastings, and classes.

Luxx Chocolat chocolates with gift packaging and ribbon
Luxx Chocolat November 2020 collection

Marzipan trees from Lake Champlain Chocolates

Lake Champlain Chocolates 
(Vermont)

It is hard to resist the holiday selection boxes or the marizipan trees that are specially made in Vermont. Lake Champlain Chocolates’ handcrafted chocolates capture the essence of Vermont, the tradition of craftsmanship, over 35 years of expertise, and passion for quality, in all of their products.


Amore di Mona (Kentucky)

Amore di Mona’s luxury gift boxes are hand packaged with gold foil, ribbons, seasonal embellishments and French aladine sax seals. They evoke old world sophistication, while satisfying modern desire.  

Mignardise Collection from Amore di Mona

Traditional Drinking Chocolate from Dancing Lion Chocolate

Dancing Lion Chocolate 
(New Hampshire)

Dancing Lion Chocolate sources their chocolate from small farms and artisan chocolate makers globally. Everything is made from scratch at their shop in historic Manchester, NH. Dancing Lion has received numerous international awards.  


Caputo’s Market and Deli (Utah)

Check out Caputo’s holiday offerings. They include private online tasting classes featuring chocolate, cheese, and regional specialties. You may also be interested in Caputo’s Party Kits, ideal for a virtual party. Each kit includes party boxes filled with cheese, chocolate, and salami sent to each attendee’s door, plus Caputo’s emcee over a Zoom web meeting to lead the event with trivia and games. They also have beautiful gift collections, perfect for the holiday season.  

Caputo’s Party Kit


The Chocolate Enthusiast 
(Colorado)

Located high in the mountains of Colorado, the Chocolate Enthusiast offers customers a delightful selection of craft chocolate from around the world. Services include tasting experiences, pairings, and education. 


Dandelion Chocolate 
(California)

Dandelion Small Batch Chocolate offers some wonderful chocolate gift sets and online tasting courses. You may also find their recent blog on drinking chocolate of particular interest as we enter the winter season.

Gâteau Basque from Dandelion Chocolate

Specialty chocolates from Xocolla Chocolate

Xocolla Chocolate (Texas) 

Xocolla is featuring white chocolate and “Matcha” green tea bars for the holidays. They also have a variety of single origin bars from Latin America as well as Madagascar.  


indi Chocolate 
(Washington)

There are many great gift ideas offered by indi Chocolates, including truffle boxes, single origin bars, and dark chocolate with dried cherries. These items will bring holiday cheer for your family and friends.

Variety box of 25 chocolate truffles from indi Chocolates

Driftless Indulgence 20-piece Bonbon/Truffle Assortment

Driftless Chocolates 
(Wisconsin)

You will not want to miss the new truffle offerings from Driftless Chocolates. Many of the truffles have a special color scheme that can be matched to your favorite holiday.