General News

Curating Taste Hosts Sold Out Chocolate & Mezcal Pairing Event

By Michelle Zimmerman

Being a year into starting my business, Curating Taste, I am always hunting for new opportunities to share my passion for craft chocolate. While driving around downtown Phoenix, I came across a place called The Garden Bar, which calls itself a “warm and welcoming neighborhood garden to glass cocktail bar” located in an adapted 1914 California bungalow in the Roosevelt South area. Patrons sit in various rooms, and there is also an outdoor dog-friendly patio and porch. 

From the moment I saw it, The Garden Bar looked like a perfect place for a Curating Taste event. Its offerings include a curated collection of seasonal cocktails, beer, wine and non-alcoholic options, as well as charcuterie. I decided to introduce myself to the owner, Kim Hassarud, and she said she would love to host a chocolate and mezcal pairing event. Kim introduced me to Abel Arriaga, the owner of Compa Spirits, a Mexican American owned distribution company founded in 2018 with the goal of supporting families from Oaxaca that are building their mezcal brands in the U.S. In fact, the company now supports multiple families across most of Mexico.  

General News

FCIA Launches Fine Chocolate Glossary

After more than a year of cross-continental teamwork, and collaboration with more than 30 experts around the world, the Fine Chocolate Industry Association is thrilled to announce that the Fine Chocolate Glossary is now live. 

The Glossary is a solution to a common challenge for anyone who works in cocoa or chocolate, or who is on a journey of learning about them: the face that we all may mean different things when using terms related to fine chocolate.

We could be talking about anything from cocoa agroforestry to the fine chocolate value chain, but it would be very difficult to know if what we mean when we say ‘agroforestry’ or ‘value chain’ is the same as what someone else means when they use those terms. 

We may think we understand one another, but sometimes we just need a little help communicating. Now that the Glossary is live, we all have access to a thought-leadership tool that solves these communication challenges.

At launch, the Glossary includes more than 250 terms—about 14 percent have completed entries. The Glossary team expects to bring the entry completion rate to about 25 percent by the end of April. Entries will continue to be authored by invited experts and will be subject to ongoing review and revision by FCIA members and external stakeholders. 

Dr. Kristy Leissle, the Glossary’s main architect and author of the book Cocoa, says that she uses fine chocolate terminology all the time to communicate effectively. The Glossary solves a real challenge in that communication by giving everyone a shared reference for what those terms mean, she adds. 

Every Glossary entry is authored by an expert in their field and gives an example to illustrate how the term is used in the real world. Collectively, contributors’ experience spans North America, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and Asia, and their expertise runs deep in both cocoa and chocolate.

FCIA Board President Lauren Adler says she often finds herself discussing chocolate concepts with colleagues using the same terms, but meaning different things. The Glossary creates standard definitions for chocolate terms and concepts so that everyone is starting their discussion on the same page. It’s an exciting development in our ability to have meaningful conversation around key issues impacting fine chocolate.

As the Glossary continues to grow, we look forward to including an ever-more diverse set of voices, and experts from every corner of the fine chocolate ecosystem. 

We invite you to explore the Glossary today and make your own contribution whenever you’re ready.

For more information about the Glossary, email

For more information about the Fine Chocolate Industry Association, contact Executive Director Ephi Maglaris at

The Fine Chocolate Glossary was created in partnership with TSIRO and MOCCA. 

General News

Cacao Latitudes: The MOCCA Series – A Monthly Feature

By Valentina Bosia

It was during the spring of 2009 when, as a young gastronomic sciences student in Italy, I tasted my very first piece of fine chocolate.

It was a bar of Venezuelan Chuao, a blast of pine nuts and dulce de leche and an auspicious and buttery revelation of flavor possibilities yet to be explored. And just like that, on that very day, my professional path was set.

Many factors differentiate fine cacao from what is commonly referred to as “bulk”. Here at Cacao Latitudes, I am responsible for monitoring what is perhaps one of the most striking factors: flavor.

What are we talking about when we talk about flavor in fine chocolate? And why do we foster the conviction that flavor holds the redeeming key to unlocking the market potential of specialty cacao? We are far from alone in holding this belief.

General News

How Dateolate Solved Chocolate’s Biggest Problem

When healthy sweets taste like chocolate instead of something bland, it becomes more enticing to invest in our personal wellness. We deserve to feel strong and healthy without the typical torture it often takes to get there. 

Do you know that the global chocolate industry is estimated to be valued at $127.9 billion in 2022? These statistics are enough to show people’s love for chocolate. Chocolate is no doubt a family favorite, but it’s often full of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. But what if I told you there was a healthier chocolate option that was just as delicious?

Yes, you heard it right.

Dateolate is working to make healthier chocolate alternatives for families. Their chocolates are not only delicious but also nutritious. 

Let’s learn more about it.

General News

Chocolate Packaging Specialists: S. Walter Packaging

A package designed and manufactured by S. W. Packaging.

You may have seen a new face at the 2022 Dallas Chocolate Festival: Vincent Scandura, national account executive at S. Walter Packaging.

At the same event, you also could have seen the “Spooky Collection” offered by Kate Weiser Chocolate in Dallas. This packaging series was recently recognized by GEA for excellence in the folded carton and specialty inks and finishes used category. It was an attention getter at a festival stocked with chocolate products galore, and it was all produced by S.W. Packaging.

Fine chocolate is one of the key markets served by S.W. Packaging, or SWP—other markets include food and beverage, fashion, beauty, jewelry, and hospitality. SWP is one of the companies that make up the S.W. Packaging Group, led by president and CEO Kurt Koloseike. 

General News

Expanded Chef Chocolate Program Coming From K+M Chocolate in 2023

These days, chocolate maker Hallot Parson is working with The French Laundry chef Thomas Keller’s chocolate enterprise: K+M Chocolate, part of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group.

Inarguably one of the elite, game-changing chefs in the United States over the last 20 years or so, Keller helped make “farm to table” a thing, and reservations at his Napa Valley landmark restaurant (and Per Se in NYC) are hard to come by.

Now, the strength of TKRG is turning to supplying more chocolate couverture to chefs and restaurants.