Categories
Chocolate Break Giveaway

Celebrating Chocolate Desserts and Ice Cream — July #ChocolateBreak and Giveaway


Whether you like s’mores, chocolate chip cookies, sundaes, milkshakes, or brownies, chocolate is a favorite flavor among consumers of all ages and backgrounds. According to TasteAtlas.com, chocolate is a key ingredient in at least seven of the top ten most popular desserts in North America. The same applies to ice cream. Frozen Dessert Supplies ranks chocolate as the second favorite ice cream flavor, after vanilla.

The Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA) has chosen to feature chocolate desserts and ice creams in July 2021. Our member companies KahKow, Frans Chocolates, and Seattle Chocolate Company will share with you some amazing new chocolate desserts that are popular this year. Make Mine Fine lists many other companies that offer great desserts, as well as demonstrations and recipes.


On Thursday, July 29 at noon Eastern, we will host our monthly Chocolate Break/Giveaway on Instagram Live. This is a great opportunity for you to meet our three featured companies and learn about what are the hottest trends in desserts this summer. We’ll also announce the winners of the chocolate giveaway during Chocolate Break. You will not want to miss this!

In the meantime, we will be posting about these companies throughout the month — follow Make Mine Fine on Instagram and Facebook, and FCIA on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter to learn more.

What is your favorite dessert or ice cream flavor? Do you agree with the surveys mentioned in this blog? Please share your thoughts in the comments section at the end of this post.

Enter the Chocolate Break Giveaway

To enter the giveaway:

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

Note that the prizes will be shipped only to US mailing addresses.

This giveaway is not associated with, sponsored by, or otherwise connected with Instagram.


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 Companies

Kahkow

kahkow.com

Since 1905, Rizek Cacao has been known for its passion in cacao production. Their farms, located in the heart of the Dominican Republic, are distinguished by the excellence of their genetic material and their extraordinary post-harvest treatment. Rizek Cacao is ideologically and pragmatically committed to the protection of the forests of the Dominican Republic and environmental balance as a whole. Kahkow introduced distinctive recipes in the gourmet chocolate industry by being the first in the world to produce certified organic chocolate at the place of origin. They offer products online as well as at their New York shop.

Store display at Cafe KahKow USA

Fran’s Chocolates

frans.com

Fran Bigelow is a person who loves to celebrate. She celebrates life and the pursuit of joy in any given situation, regardless of a specific occasion. From the way the chocolates are presented in the gorgeous gift boxes to savoring the first bite of one of her creations, each element is truly infused with love, care, and consideration. And it’s why Fran’s has become a key component to so many thoughtful exchanges, joyful declarations, special occasions and countless other celebrations.

A visit to Paris inspired this European-like passion for pure flavors and simple, yet exquisite ingredients. In 1982, she opened her first patisserie and chocolate shop to share that philosophy of joie-de-vivre. Many confections later, she has been credited for sparking the artisan chocolate renaissance in the United States and is considered one of the best chocolatiers in the nation. Her pursuit of maintaining the purity of chocolate and pairing it with only the finest ingredients has been an inspiration to both chocolate artisans and aficionados alike.

From the tantalizing light ganache found in her luscious truffles, to the bold and slightly addictive gray and smoked salt caramels, take a moment to note the textures and harmonious flavors that layer themselves, one on top of the other. It is the magic of this experience that compels Fran’s to continue to seek the extraordinary.

Iced drinking chocolate from Fran's, topped with whipped cream and shavings

Seattle Chocolate Company

seattlechocolate.com

Seattle Chocolate Company began in 1991, creating their signature meltaway truffles and truffle bars in the heart of the Pacific Northwest. When the original factory was destroyed by the Nisqually Earthquake in 2001, entrepreneur and mother Jean Thompson was an investor in the company. Never one to turn down a challenge, Jean stepped up as Owner and CEO of Seattle Chocolate in 2002, learning quickly along the way and creating a fresh new look for the chocolate category. She brought color, whimsy, and a keen eye for marketing to the Seattle Chocolate brand, making them who they are today!

In 2012, Jean created jcoco chocolate, a bold new chocolate brand under the Seattle Chocolate umbrella, with a focus on feeding hungry families at its core. Since then, with each jcoco purchase, they donate fresh servings of food to those in need through partnerships with food banks in Washington, California, and New York. With your help, they’ve donated almost 4 million servings to date, and are well on their way to their big goal of 10 million!

Categories
Press Release Sustainability

Innovative new alliance in Madagascar commits to conserving biodiversity and improving the livelihoods of over 2,000 small-holder cocoa and spice farmers

For Release May 7, 2021 9:45a EDT

WASHINGTON, DC — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and partners are pleased to announce a new $5.8 million public-private partnership focused on conserving biodiversity and improving the well-being and prosperity of local communities in Madagascar through sustainable fine cocoa and spice production. 

Launched on World Chocolate Day, the TSIRO (Thriving & Sustainable Investments for land Restoration & economic Opportunity) Alliance is committed to supporting more than 2,000 Malagasy farmers in 30 communities, planting over 1.5 million trees to support agroforestry systems and enhancing biodiversity over the next five years. TSIRO means “flavor” in Malagasy.

With already high rates of deforestation, poverty, and malnutrition, the Southern African island nation of Madagascar has an urgent need for scalable, innovative solutions. The TSIRO Alliance will address both human-induced and natural causes that threaten Madagascar’s fragile ecosystems by diversifying income streams, using climate smart agriculture techniques, and reasserting the value of healthy trees and ecosystems. The Alliance will provide business development and educational training to farmers to improve education outcomes in participating communities, and will also introduce Village Savings and Loans programs to improve financial management. The agroforestry systems that will be used in this project will incorporate cocoa and other spices, such as vanilla, cinnamon, or wild pepper. These systems have been shown to improve environmental health by reducing soil erosion, improving air quality, and providing a stable, diversified income for small-scale farmers.

The TSIRO Alliance is part of USAID’s “HEARTH” Global Development Alliance program, a growing suite of cross-sectoral public-private partnerships for people and the planet. TSIRO is a collaboration between USAID and private-sector partners including Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA), Madecasse-Beyond Good Chocolate (M-BG), Guittard Chocolate, Akesson Organics, and the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund (HCP). Each partner contributes their technical expertise, local and international networks, and strong connection to the cocoa value chain in Madagascar to the project. All partners share the same goal of producing fine cacao and chocolate that will benefit local Malagasy communities and the unique forests that surround them. While the TSIRO partners take different roles in the Alliance, they share the common goals of strengthening local farming systems and biodiversity while educating the public. 

“The TSIRO model emphasizes the conservation of biodiversity and wildlife while improving farmers’ livelihoods through the creation of business opportunities. This is a tremendous opportunity for key public and private organizations to partner together for real impact here in Madagascar,” said John Dunlop, Mission Director USAID Madagascar. “This project is located around forests in southeastern and northwestern Madagascar that are home to a number of endangered species of lemurs, as well as other animals found nowhere else on earth.” 

The TSIRO Alliance will also educate consumers about the fine-flavor chocolate market. Fine-flavor chocolate makes up only 12 percent of the global market. Many consumers are unaware of the delicate and unique flavor of chocolate originating from Madagascar and the fragile ecosystem where the trees are grown. 
To learn more about the TSIRO Alliance and the partners involved, visit makeminefine.com or sign up for the official TSIRO launch webinar on July 8, 2021.

ABOUT THE FINE CHOCOLATE INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION (FCIA)
FICA is a non-profit trade association that promotes fine chocolate making practices and innovation, founded in 2007. It is the only organization focused 100% on supporting fine chocolate professionals, representing over 300 members, including fine flavor cacao farmers, chocolate makers, chocolatiers, suppliers of ingredients, packaging and equipment, pastry chefs, marketers, specialty retailers, wholesalers, and festival organizers. The association promotes the artistry and craftsmanship of the chocolate professional focused on producing superior products made from premium chocolate and natural ingredients. FCIA believes in using best practices in cacao processing and chocolate production; and transparent labeling and marketing practices.

For more information on FCIA, please visit our website and social media accounts: 
https://www.finechocolateindustry.org
https://www.facebook.com/MakeMineFine
https://www.instagram.com/makeminefine/
https://www.facebook.com/FineChocolateIndustryAssociation
https://twitter.com/FCIA_org
https://www.linkedin.com/company/fine-chocolate-industry-association/about/
https://www.instagram.com/finechocolateindustryassoc/

Marketing Contact:
Bill Guyton, Executive Director
206-577-9983
b.guyton@finechocolateindustry.org

Categories
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.

Categories
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

Categories
Chocolate Buying Guides Chocolate Gifts

Chocolate Gifts for Spring 2021

We’re looking forward to the coming Spring (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) — not only for the warmer and cheerier weather, but for the many holidays to celebrate. Holi Festival, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, Passover, May Day … so many opportunities to share gifts. Our craft chocolate makers and chocolatiers have put together beautiful and delicious fine chocolates, perfect for gift-giving or for treating yourself. Order soon for best selection and shipping options!


Seattle Chocolate Spring Collection

Seattle Chocolate Company has introduced cheery new bars for their Spring Collection, with bright hues and tempting flavors like Carrot Cake, Wafer Cone, and Honey Almond Coconut. And check out their Flower Power Truffle Box, with assorted truffles in a sunny decorative box.


Lake Champlain Chocolates Easter and Spring Chocolates

Smiles will blossom when your loved ones receive a luscious box of hand crafted truffles, a delicious collection of filled eggs, or an Easter basket overflowing with hand crafted chocolate bunnies, salted caramel flowers, milk peanut butter egg, and more.

Shop Easter chocolates from Lake Champlain Chocolates


Luxx Chocolat Spring Collection

This season, Luxx Chocolat has handcrafted Easter and Passover deliciousness, including bunnies, The Egg, The Nest, Inga Bunny, Inga Bunny Hot Chocolate Bomb, and their signature Wowza Matza salted caramel dark chocolate covered matza. As they tell us, “We are Artists. Chocolate is our Canvas.” Visit their online store to find award-winning handcrafted chocolate and confections, exquisitely designed to capture the eye, imagination and discerning taste buds.

Now available at luxxchocolat.shop.

rows of chocolate eggs decorated with violet and lemon flowers
Luxx Chocolat Lemon Lavender Salted Caramel Eggs

Fruition Chocolate Works Gifts

Bean to bar chocolate and confections from Fruition Chocolate Works make wonderful gifts. From the Passion Fruit Caramels to the Deluxe Chocolate Gift Box and More, and everything in between, you’ll find treat that are sure to delight, this season or any time.

Shop Fruition Chocolate Works Gifts

Fruition Chocolate Works Large Chocolate Gift Box


The Chocolate Enthusiast Spring Is in the Air / Mother’s Day Collection

The Chocolate Enthusiast has launched the Spring Is in the Air / Mother’s Day Collection, a variety of delectable chocolates with fruity and floral inclusions, plus pure dark, milk, and white chocolate bars in brightly colored packaging. You can just hear Spring popping out all over with these treats!

Shop the Spring Is in the Air / Mother’s Day Collection

Categories
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.