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  • July 25, 2019 3:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Bill Guyton, Executive Director of FCIA

    Since its inception in 2007, FCIA has grown to over 350 members. This year alone, 34 new companies and individuals have joined our association to support the fine chocolate movement in the United Sates and abroad. Our growing membership base enables us to leverage and negotiate various group rates for shipping, conferences, retail outlets and international tours.

    Shipping Discounts: FCIA members who attended the Elevate Chocolate Event in New York on June 22, 2019 may have noticed promotional materials from PerhiShip which, through negotiations, is offering significant discounts to FCIA members. PeriShip reports that since the end of June, several companies have already taken advantage of this benefit. Within the short time period, these discounts more than offset FCIA membership dues for associate and small businesses.

    Festival and Trade Show Discounts: FCIA has developed "Affiliate Organization Partnerships" with trade associations, research institutes and trade festival organizers. Through these agreements, affiliate partners offer discounts to FCIA members who attend or exhibit at their events. We reciprocate by offering space at our Elevate Chocolate Gallery Showcase.

    One of our most recent Affiliate Partnerships is with the Salon du Chocolate in New York on November 15-17, 2019. Earlier this year, the show organizers offered FCIA members a 20% discount on exhibit space and no corner charge. By mentioning "FCIA newsletter," FCIA members can still receive a 15% discount over the next few days. We are seeking similar arrangements with other conference organizers.

    Retail Store and Cocoa Tour Discounts: A third category of benefits involves retail store and cocoa tour discounts. FCIA member company KahKow is offering members a 10% discount at their store in Brooklyn though the end of this year. FCIA companies and partners operating in Latin America are also providing discounts to members for tours of cocoa producing regions in different countries.

    Seeking Your Suggestions: FCIA's membership committee is exploring other opportunities to provide value and benefits to our members. If you have suggestions of other ways FCIA can leverage our network of companies, please let us know.

    For additional information on discounts, contact Bill Guyton or Jennifer Wicks.

  • July 25, 2019 3:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Nate Saal and Karen Alter in the CocoTerra booth at a trade show

    CocoTerra has built the world’s first tabletop chocolate maker, a single system that can go from roasted cacao nibs to solid chocolate in about two hours. Based in Palo Alto, the company just recently started providing details of how its machine works, but has been an FCIA member for several years. Information about Cocoterra is available on the web, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

    Q: Tell us how you started your company and your motivation for working in fine chocolate.

    A: Nate Saal and Karen Alter have known each other for years, both personally and professionally. They came to working in the chocolate world from different paths.

    Nate founded CocoTerra after a eureka moment sparked by a conversation with his brother-in-law Mark while at a chocolate tasting. As recounted here, at this event Nate, Mark, and the host wondered why people know much more about fine coffee than about fine chocolate, and one speculation was that consumers could easily make and experiment with coffee at home, whereas they couldn’t readily do so with chocolate. So Nate, a long-time food “maker” and trained biochemist, decided to figure out a way to solve this problem.

    In the meantime, after years at Intel and a number of startups, Karen was partnering with founders of early-stage companies, figuring out their overall business and go-to-market strategies. She began consulting to CocoTerra part-time, but rapidly joined full-time as the scope and excitement of the opportunity became evident.

    While neither Nate nor Karen set out to work in fine chocolate per se, they both have enjoyed meeting so many dedicated people and craftsmen along the way. In addition, they both see how more education and technology in the hands of consumers, commercial makers, artisans and farmers can be a powerful tool in improving quality and value throughout the chocolate supply chain.

    Q: What have been the high points in your professional journey over the years?

    A: For both Nate and Karen, high points have involved bringing new technology solutions to market over the years. For Karen, this involved microprocessors, electric vehicle services, and online educational content, among other areas. For Nate, his journey included simplifying software updates over the internet, home audio and touch-screen technology. These might seem very different, but the common thread is finding a way to create something that solves a real customer problem, or brings new capabilities to consumers and other market segments.

    Q: Why do you believe it is important to work collaboratively with others in industry associations such as FCIA?

    A: Anyone who has spent time in the computer industry knows how important industry associations (and standards) are to moving things forward. Thus, it’s really natural for the CocoTerra team to engage with the FCIA and its members as part of building our business. Obviously, we can learn a lot from all FCIA members and organizations! But also, the FCIA provides a forum for us to meet experts in the field of chocolate, who can validate (and provide feedback about) what we are doing (include the quality of our chocolate), partner with us in making it easy for consumers to buy ingredients and accessories, and work with us to raise the awareness of and delight from fine- flavored cacao and fine chocolate overall. We also recognize that we are newcomers in this field, and have deep respect for the individuals and companies that have spent decades working with chocolate. We are truly grateful for the time and energy many FCIA members have provided us as we launch the CocoTerra company.

    Q: What advice would you give to a company starting out in the industry?

    A: Listen and learn! The fine chocolate industry includes many people who switched careers or industries mid-stream: it’s a very welcoming place for someone just starting out. The people we’ve met have been helpful, open and incredibly knowledgeable. But the industry also has a long, fascinating history, with many established players, and taking the time to meet, learn from and respect them seems so important as you move from newcomer to fellow-traveler.

    Previous post about CocoTerra: https://www.finechocolateindustry.org/FCIA-Member-Happenings/7331694

  • July 25, 2019 1:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Greg D'Alesandro seated in a room of drying cacao

    Q: You were elected by your peers to the FCIA Board late last year. What excites you about the direction of fine chocolate and the role FCIA can play in growing the sector?

    A: This is a really exciting time in chocolate! Chocolate making at a small scale is popping up all over the world. Every country I've been to has at least a handful of new chocolate makers doing something interesting with local flavors, customs, or beans. The specialty cocoa industry is just getting started, and you can taste amazing beans from places such as Sierra Leone, St. Vincent, Tanzania, and Taiwan. Chocolate based confections are becoming more popular in a variety of places that classically had lower interest in chocolate, such as India. Now is a great time to help figure out how we can all work together to make a better and more sustainable industry for everyone. What we do now could resonate throughout the growth of the industry for decades.

    Q: What accomplishments you would like to see the organization reach within your board tenure?

    A: I'd love to see the FCIA start to work on a more international level. We are already engaging with industry members from all over the world, but let's formalize that. As this industry grows it will be looking for information as to how we can work together and form an industry group that helps each of us in our businesses.

    Q: What advice would you give to companies considering FCIA membership?

    A: The FCIA is the most comprehensive set of industry members working together. I'm constantly excited by the people I meet and get to know through FCIA. You could have the same experience!

  • July 09, 2019 12:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Cacao production is slowly growing in Hawaii. It is replacing other large agricultural plantation crops. The Oahu Resource Conservation and Development Council received a grant from the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program to test and demonstrate the best ways to establish new cacao orchards. Read the full article here

  • June 27, 2019 10:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

  • June 20, 2019 3:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Union Confectionery Machinery Company is pleased to announce their appointment as the exclusive auctioneer for a complete bean-to-bar chocolate plant located in Tulsa, OK. 

    The cacao machinery, built by PackInt, was purchased new in 2017 and never used in production. The roaster was built by US Roasters.

    The auction is online only and bidding is now open. The bidding closes on Thursday June 27th.

    If you wish to view the machinery or register to bid please use the link below:


    If you have any questions please contact Jim Greenberg at 203.913.9656 or Jim@unionmachinery.com



  • June 14, 2019 6:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Listen to a podcast discussing how the fine chocolate industry and specialty coffee sectors can push for more sustainable production and learn from each other. You can download the podcast or listen to it on SoundCloud.

  • June 13, 2019 11:43 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    "The trade group focused on the craft chocolate industry will honor four individuals and one family on June 22 at its Elevate Chocolate event in New York City."

    Read the full article by Kristine Sherred on Confectionary News.

    Congratulations 2019 Award Recipients!

    Congratulations to the winners of our Recognition of Excellence awards!  Each has followed their passion and by doing so, has raised the bar for the fine chocolate segment of our industry. Each has made a significant positive impact to our industry and their contribution has been recognized by their peers.

    Outstanding Service to the Industry
    Hector Jose Rizek, Rizek Cacao

    Outstanding Contribution by a Fine Chocolatier
    Christopher Elbow, Christopher Elbow Chocolates

    Outstanding Contribution by a Fine Chocolate Maker/Manufacturer
    Maria Fernanda Di Giacobbe, Chef, Entrepreneur, Artist, Chocolatier

    Outstanding Contribution in Communications
    Clay Gordon, The Chocolate Life

    Lifetime Achievement
    Franceschi Family, Casa Franceschi

    Read more about the Recognition of Excellence Awards.

  • June 12, 2019 8:42 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    151 Year Old Company Continues to Strive for Top Quality and Innovation through Allergen-friendly Facilities and Product Offerings

    Burlingame, CA (June 11, 2019) — Guittard Chocolate, the family company that has expertly crafted chocolate in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1868, is proud to announce that its manufacturing facility is now tree nut free. Throughout its 151 year history, Guittard Chocolate has worked to represent quality and innovation at every level of its production and product line. Guittard’s tree nut free certification joins the company’s existing Cultivate Better commitments including non-GMO, peanut free, gluten free, sunflower lecithin and Fair Trade CertifiedTM with the goal of bringing thoughtfully sourced and allergen-friendly products to customers. 

    The tree nut free claim applies to Guittard Chocolate products produced after July 31, 2018. All Guittard Chocolate consumer products are now tree nut free, including the entire line of baking chips, organic baking wafers, baking bars and cocoa powders. 

    “At Guittard, we’re constantly striving to produce the best quality chocolate. This touches every level of what we do--from partnering with cacao farmers at origin to pushing innovation at our manufacturing facility to celebrating our chef and retail customers,” says Gary Guittard. “Being tree nut free represents our ongoing commitment to improving our product by making it as allergen-friendly as possible.”                                                     

    Guittard Chocolate is available wholesale, direct, through distributors, at specialty grocery stores nationwide, and online at Guittard.com. Find recipes and baking tips at Guittard.com/in-the-kitchen.         

    About Guittard Chocolate Company 
    As the oldest continuously family-owned and operated chocolate company in the United States, Guittard Chocolate Company, now under the fourth and fifth generation of family management, continues to grow with the same innovative spirit and commitment to sustainability that has made it one of the world’s most respected makers of premium chocolate over the past 150 years. For more information, please visit us online at www.Guittard.com or @GuittardChocolate.

  • June 11, 2019 10:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Check out this article by Steve LeVine on The Craft Chocolate Revolution. 

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Executive Director / Membership Inquiries: Bill Guyton / 1.206.577.9983 / Email Bill

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