Recently it became clear that I was the sweetest Feisty Family member… I mean, the Feisty Family member with the sweetest tooth! As such, Yvo had asked me to attend a recent chocolate sampling event. Try lots of different chocolates made by some the newest and best chocolatiers around? Yes please! So here I am, giving you a look at the latest treat… Food Fete Chocolat!
There were a few chocolate events happening around NYC last week, but Food Fete Chocolat was a rather intimate event for twelve Chocolate companies, both large and small, to show off new and classic chocolate treats to the various “press” representatives. It wasn’t too crowded, which was nice and gave me the opportunity to talk to the people at each table and learn about their products. At first I thought, 12 samples? No problem! But my oh my, it was a LOT of chocolate. So without further ado… the chocolate! (Oh, one more thing, please forgive some of the rather blurry pics – it was a borrowed camera and I wasn’t too familiar with all the settings.)
My first stop was Divine Chocolate. They had 4 samples in one cup! Whoa!
I eased into my chocolate feast with just one bite of eat… milk chocolate with almonds, dark chocolate with hazelnut truffle, white chocolate with strawberries and dark chocolate with ginger & orange. I enjoyed the first two, but no surprise there. However, I was surprised that I enjoyed the latter two as well, as I’m not a big fan of white chocolate or ginger-flavored stuff. But both were great and a great start to the evening!
Next was American Heritage Chocolate, distributed by Mars, Inc. They were passing out little shots of hot chocolate, the way chocolate was ingested 300 years ago by our founding fathers (so I was told). Apparently chocolate bars are a fairly recent revelation. The cocoa was good, very creamy tasting although there was no milk mixed in. Impressive.
They also had a fun set up from the whole cocoa beans to the hot chocolate pot used, and all the stages of the cocoa in between. Cute.
Next was David Lurie Sun Cups. The company was a specialty chocolate producer and was looking to break into main stream retail, when someone came to them requesting a Reese Peanut butter-type cup without any peanuts. Hmmm… Well, he did it using Sunflower Oil! So he had a variety of sunflower-butter cups, regular and dark chocolate. Also for offer were mint and caramel cups. There weren’t any samples open, but I grabbed a couple to take home and try. Nice for the peanut-averse!
Next was Fine Chocolate Industry Association, which is a non-profit chocolate association which promotes chocolate professionals. No samples here, but they gave out a pretty large package with various samples from the companies they support.
Next was a table with funny looking ice cube trays! As it turns out, they were truffle-making trays in various shapes and sizes from Truffly Made, Inc. How cute! I wish I got a free sample of these! But then again, Christmas is right around the corner (coughTTcough). But… on to more chocolate.
Hotel Chocolat was sampling some kind of dark chocolate. I didn’t get a chance to talk to the information guy at this table because some girl wouldn’t stop talking for 10 minutes and I gave up.
There was an impressive amount of chocolate stacked at the next table for Amano Artisan Chocolate, along with some really pretty gift boxes. The guy here explained how all the chocolates had very distinct flavors based on the where the cocoa beans were produced. Each kind tasted so different, yet there were no added spices. Neat!
I forgot to take a pic of the whole table for the next company, The Madison West Choclatiers, because I was so fascinated by there concept “Tasting Dinner of Chocolates”!!
They had 4 kinds/courses to sample, that were advertised as an amuse bouche, appetizer, entree and dessert; however, I only tried the amuse. First, as instructed, I bit off the top flower, which sort of numbed the tongue with a tingly feeling as apparently it was alcohol. Then, I bit into the chocolate which had such an intense chocolate taste, it was awesome.
I would’ve liked to try the whole “meal” but there was too much else to taste. So I was sent on my way with two “appetizers” to try at home.
Next was Kallari, a small Ecuadorian company owned by the small groups of farmers who grow the cocoa bean, giving them complete control over the product. It was really interesting to hear the guy’s story and take on the chocolate industry. They were sampling a couple different dark chocolate bars.
My stomach was starting to churn at this point, but I moved on to the next table.
There were a lot of words and each sample sounded very complicated… what was this place? Gnosis Chocolate – healthy, organic, raw, vegan, kosher, and free of gluten, soy and refined sugar. To say I was hesitant to taste this would be an understatement, but after talking to the representative I forged ahead and tried the “Superchoc” with goji berries, raspberries and some other stuff. It was actually really good! Like a cross between a fruit bar (think fruit roll-up) and chocolate bar. Impressive. They also sell spreads and drink mixes.
Next stop, Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier. They were sampling chocolates that come with beer-pairing recommendation. They provided a sampling box to take home, but had a few out to taste there. Since there was no beer available, I decided to wait and try them at home. Maybe I’ll invite Beerboor too. They had quite a few cute gift box options too.
With only three stops left, I moved to a very familiar looking table – Lindt!
My mom is a huge fan of Lindt and so I was brought up eating it (and always have some stored in my nightstand!) They were showcasing a new bar this evening – cranberry!
It was so good and tasted perfect for the upcoming holiday. Luckily, it won’t only be available during the holiday season but year-round. Yay! Lindt has always been my go-to for chocolate as it tastes good and it very reasonably priced (and my mom buys it in mass amounts). Though after this show, I’m sure I’ll be expanding my horizons more.
Another familiar company, Valrhona, was showing a few products.
First a chocolate mousse pannacotta with apricot jelly – this was a pretty big portion and delicious! Even better, we got the recipe!
They also showcased a couple dark chocolates and chocolate salted caramels (which I saved for TT).
Last, but certainly not least, Chuao Choclatier.
This girl at this table was so nice and friendly. Though she could see how full I was, she insisted I at least take a bite of her chocolates because they were that good. If I must! First up at the table, a crushed potato chip-chocolate.
I only had one small piece, but it was pretty good. However, it was quickly overshadowed by a the next piece of chocolate-filled and covered strawberry goodness. Whoa, I was really glad she insisted. I ate two bites of that one.
As I was about to keel over in pain, she wrapped the last one in a napkin for me to take home – pop-rocks chili chocolate. Crazy.
Most of the these chocolate are available around NYC, especially in Whole Foods, but all are also available online for a range of prices. Many of them also have a lot of cute gift boxes available for the upcoming holiday season. And, in case it wasn’t yet obvious, all of them were delicious. I’d recommend perusing through their sites for some quick and easily holiday shopping. And as if I hadn’t eaten enough chocolate for three lifetimes, I walked (or slowly rolled) out with a huge bag stuff full with lots more chocolates!
I know I’ll have some happy friends and family this winter! Thanks to Food Fete and each of the sponsors for this choctastic event! What’s your favorite chocolate during the holidays?
Please note that I attended this event courtesy of Food Fete, but I did not receive any monetary compensation for posting this. I was under no obligation to post my opinion, positive or negative; feel free to take from that what you will.