While I was at the New York Chocolate Show, I was feeling a lot like Charlie, the main character of the book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as he toured the Wonka Chocolate Factory. Although the Show did not have Oompa-Loompas or Everlasting Gobstoppers, it featured some amazing and diverse chocolate makers sure to please everyone’s palate.
This article is part II of my series on organic chocolate companies at the Show. In my first article, “Organic Chocolate, a Little Taste of Heaven,” I featured Christopher Michael Artisan Chocolates, Toffee Taboo (Sendall Chocolates), Berkshire Bark, and Francois Pralus. All these companies had different approaches to their chocolate confections, which added to the fun of the Show. This article features some more delicious chocolate makers. So, let’s go sampling.
As I approached TCHO’s booth, I heard a young woman say, “this chocolate is insane.” I laughed to myself saying she probably gave TCHO the highest compliment one could give. After tasting some of the dark chocolate pieces, I would have to agree, TCHO’s chocolate was really good.
TCHO makes dark chocolate with 70% cacao content in such flavors as “Chocolatey,” “Fruity,” “Nutty,” “Floral,” “Earthy,” and “Citrus.” The cacao beans for the Citrus, Fruity, and Nutty chocolates are certified organic. In addition, the beans in Fruity and Nutty are fair trade as well.
The Company’s concept is to choose your chocolate based on flavor, not percentage of cacao as evidenced by the above flavor wheel. For more information about the flavor of each bar, see here.
This Company has a unique story no different than its name. For all of you start-up and marketing lovers, watch the above video on how TCHO created their chocolate company. Simply put, TCHO is the marriage of Silicon Valley technology, beta testing to find the right taste for their chocolate, good old business sense to find the right raw materials, and branding their product.
I asked several chocolate lovers their favorites as they nibbled the chocolate samples. Most liked the nutty chocolate. When I tasted this chocolate I did not discern a nutty flavor. Perhaps, I ate too much chocolate before or my palate is not that refined to pick up the subtle taste of roasted nuts. I found it dry but rich.
A variety of TCHO chocolates can be purchased via the Company’s website. A package of 2 58 gram bars costs $10.95.
First Fair Trade, Organic Bean to Bar US Chocolate Factory
Seattle based Theo Chocolate is one of the first organic, fair trade chocolates made in the US. With a motto chocolate grows on trees, this Company takes to heart the triple bottom line, planet, people, and profits.
They use only pure, sustainably grown ingredients and are sourced locally when possible. Partnering with their growers has ensured that the growers receive a living wage and access to education for their families.
Other green practices include powering their factory using green energy sources, using sustainable packaging and printing methods, and educating the public about social and environmental accountability during their 7 day a week public tours of their factory.
Theo 3 ounce origin bars are made of dark chocolate with a range of cacao content from 84% to 91%. All origin bars are vegan and soy-free.
If you love adventurous chocolate bars, consider the Fantasy flavors, with such combinations of fig, fennel, and almond dark chocolate, coconut, curry and milk chocolate, chai spices and milk chocolate, and others. For those who love sampling different flavors, the Theo Confections might be right for you.
In addition, the Company has teamed up with Jane Goodall, a leader in the environmental movement for over 40 years, to contribute a portion of the proceed from the sale its Theo Jane Goodall bars to benefit cocoa farmers, promote conservation of the rain forest, and contribute to the Jane Goodall Institute’s efforts to save the chimpanzees, to name a few. The cacao content for each of the bars is 70% for the dark chocolate and 45% for the milk chocolate.
While I was at the booth, munching away, I asked the Theo people, which bar was the best selling origin bar. They replied the Venezuela bar. (Note, 2/12/2012, they have discontinued the bar. In its place for most loved single origin bar is the the Costra Rica.)
Personally, I was not enamored with it since it was too bitter for me. Blame it on my love of frosted flakes as a kid, but I liked the Theo Blended-Cocoa Ghana-Panama-Ecuador Dark Chocolate Bar with a cacao content of 75. (Note, this bar has also been discontinued. In its stead is the Theo 70% Dark Chocolate.)
All bars can be purchased online. If you wish to purchase locally, see the Company’s online store directory. A 3 ounce Origin Bar costs $5.00. A 3 ounce classic bar costs $4.
An Organic Chocolate Buddha for that Serene Enlightened Feeling
As we were leaving the show, I spotted the above chocolate Buddha at Oliver Kita‘s booth. I stopped to admire him despite my children yelling at me that they had enough chocolate for one day. (I know. Isn’t it amazing that they said they had enough chocolate for the day?)
So, I turned to the woman at the booth and said, “is he organic?” Surprisingly, she said yes and said that Oliver Kita makes a variety of organic, fair trade chocolates. Well, she got my attention despite the fact I wanted to nibble on Buddha’s toes.
The Company makes their chocolates in New York’s Hudson Valley with chocolate from the Rhone Valley in France. They are preservative free, contain non-GMO ingredients, and packaged in either recycled or recyclable materials.
Oliver Kita is known for his masterful combination of chocolate and exotic fruits and flavors from around the world. Some of his organic creations include an organic chocolate and peanut butter Buddha ($22.75), 70% cacao dark chocolate bar ($4.95), and organic cocoa pods ($20).
The organic products can be purchased online.
The Olde Organic Chocolate Staple
When I think of organic chocolate, I think of Green and Black. This UK Company has been creating organic chocolate products since the early 1990s. Its name is quite literal to its creed. The green part of the name, of course, relates to being organic and the black part of the name relates to the dark chocolate which is almost the color black. Their beans hail from hundreds of small farmers in Belize and Dominican Republic with their Maya Gold® products earning fair trade status.
Green and Black products include bars available in 1.2 ounce and 3.5 ounce in many different flavors including milk chocolate, white chocolate, toffee, almond, and dark chocolate to name a few. A 3.5 ounce bar found at my local health food store costs $3.89.
For bakers, consider buying the The Green & Black’s Organic Ultimate Chocolate Recipes: The New Collection book. 100 divine chocolate recipes.
I tried both their Milk Chocolate (which contains 34% cacao) and 70% cacao Dark Chocolate bars. Ever since I have discovered the richness of dark chocolate, milk chocolate does not taste as good to me. I prefer the rich dark chocolate bar.
If you want to shop online, the Company has an UK store.
After All those Chocolates
After sampling a dozen chocolate pieces, I was pretty sick to my stomach, but a happy sick to my stomach. What I love about dark chocolate is that you only need a little nibble to satisfy your chocolate cravings. In the case of all the organic chocolate companies that I visited at the Show, all of their dark chocolates were rich and deeply satisfying. Want to treat yourself to organic chocolate, consider any of the companies listed in this article or “Organic Chocolate, a Little Taste of Heaven.”
Join the Conversation:
- Have you tried any of the above chocolate companies?
- If so, which chocolates do you like?
- What are your favorite organic, free trade chocolates?
- Do you hide the chocolates and nibble them over time?
- What feeling do you get when you eat chocolate?