January 13, 2015
That's me, Alice (Waters) and Nell (Newman), at the end of the Good Food Awards in San Francisco. We hand out the medals every year, to a slew of impressive artisans who are making outstanding charcuterie, cheese, honey, chocolate, oils, pickles, preserves, coffee, beer and booze. Afterward there's a Marketplace at the Ferry Building where you can taste the country's best sustainable food products under one roof.
I always discover a few new foods to fall in love with. This year, to my surprise, it was chocolates. Two chocolatiers really had me hooked: Black Dinah Chocolatiers from Maine and Askinosie Chocolate from Missouri.
Black Dinah Chocolatiers produce their delicious products on Isle Au Haut, Maine, an island 45 minutes from the coast (by mailboat). Isle Au Haut has so few inhabitants that almost all of them serve as chocolate tasters to the company. The center of the operation is an enchanted-seeming chocolate cafe. Getting there isn't easy, so it's nice to know they sell their chocolates online. Smooth, mellow, balanced… their Cassis de Resistance won a medal this year. No surprise.
An even more exciting operation: Askinosie Chocolate, the brainchild of former criminal defense lawyer Shawn Askinosie. He's an impressive person who does much more than merely buy chocolate from good farmers. He pays them well – and also shares the profits. Among the many programs Askinoise has engineered is one that feeds 800 schoolchildren free lunch at Milagros School in Davao, Philippines. He does it by selling hot chocolate from the community on the Askinsowe website and returning 100 percent of the profits. There's also a chocolate university – and so much more. If you have any interest in chocolate, this is a man to follow: he makes you proud to be a chocolate eater. As for the chocolate itself – it's fantastic.
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