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  • January 09, 2020 5:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jody and her family eating ice cream  Jenny Samaniego

    Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate is a small, family-owned business based in Empire, Michigan. The company sources most of its chocolate from Ecuador in a unique relationship with Jenny Samaniego at Conexión Chocolate. In this article, Jody Hayden of Grocer's Daughter Chocolate and Jenny Samaniego share how the partnership works, their views on the industry, and more.

    Q For Jody Hayden: Can you explain how your partnership with Jenny and Conexión works?

    Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate and Conexión Chocolate have forged a unique partnership. Jenny does the hard work of sourcing the cacao and developing the chocolate recipes. She also supervises the production of the chocolate at a factory in Quito, which creates a shorter feedback loop to farmers, allows good paying manufacturing jobs to remain in the country of origin, and reduces overall costs for production.

    We rely on Jenny and her brand, Conexión, to source 100% of our couverture from 4 different small-farmer groups: Esmeraldas (UOPROCAE), Manabi (Fortaleza Del Valle), Los Rio (APOVINCES) and Puerto Quito (Juan Carlos Mesias and neighboring farmers). We’re fortunate to be able to travel with Jenny to Ecuador annually to visit farmers and we strive to create mutually beneficial relationships along our entire supply chain. In return, we receive rave reviews from our customers about the quality of our chocolate. It’s a win-win for everyone.

    Q For Jenny Samaniego: Conexión has been working for a number of years in Ecuador with small scale cocoa farmers. You are now selling bean-to-bar chocolate, including bars with HCP designation. Can you explain how Conexión is able to improve bean quality, along with ensuring better environmental stewardship and incomes to farmers?

    All the steps of the chocolate making process are carried out in Ecuador, starting with the continuous visits that we make to the farms. We build close relationships with each farmers cooperative so that we can communicate the quality principles that are required in the harvest and post-harvest processes. Working together with the cooperatives, we zoom in on harvest areas within each province that we search for our cacao. This allows us to ensure that the cacao comes from the same trees and increases the consistency of flavors in our couverture and chocolate bars.

    We make all of our chocolate with Nacional cacao, a genetic variety that only exists in Ecuador. We pay the producer 25% to 30% more than market price, if it meets our required standards of cacao fermentation. In this way we hope to motivate producers to continue preserving Nacional cacao, by offering them a different option from the common market.

    We developed a project with the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund and the farmers cooperative APOVINCES to save old varieties of Nacional growing in Los Ríos Province. This cacao has an amazing aroma of flowers and fresh fruit, so we developed a special flash-roast process to preserve it. This is our Virgin chocolate line, which we sell as both couvertures and chocolate bars. We look to strengthen ethical cacao farming practices, the lives of cocoa farmers, and education.

    Q: FCIA is proud that many of our member companies are women-owned and operated. Do you find this unique to the fine chocolate industry? What are the specific challenges and opportunities for women-owned businesses in fine chocolate?

    I’m delighted to see more and more women with exceptional leadership skills at the helm of businesses and organizations in the fine chocolate industry. Going forward, the industry has the opportunity to further elevate women leaders by offering access to education, mentoring and honest story-telling. Some of the topics I think might be useful to women business owners include financial literacy, how to access affordable capital, sharing of business experiences (good and bad), leadership development, and cultivating employees.

    As a woman business owner and an older mom of young children, my specific challenges are driven by my desire to be a present, loving mom, wife, friend, and employer, while overseeing and growing a small business. It’s a balancing act every single day.

    It’s great that there are more women-owned and operated businesses within fine chocolate and generally. Personally, I have benefitted from mentors and peers in the industry who are both men and women. Early in my career I had the opportunity to work for French chocolatier Pierrick Chouard, and that was part of my inspiration to create excellent single-origin Ecuadorian couvertures with Conexión years later.

    When I was just starting my chocolate business, approaching different farmers cooperatives as a young person and as a woman, it was hard to get them to trust me as a partner. But, I worked hard, and when they saw that I came back to visit and buy more cacao, I gained their respect. I think for anyone, if you work hard and keep at it, you get what you’re looking for.

    Q: FCIA partnered with the National Confectioners Association (NCA) this year on a nation-wide survey on chocolate consumers. Do the findings mirror the preferences and trends that you are noticing with your customers? Are you optimistic about the growth potential of the fine chocolate market?

    I am optimistic, and here’s why: We are seeing an annual increase in customers seeking us out because we offer higher cacao percentage chocolates, and fewer, more natural ingredients. This bodes well for our entire industry.

    It’s not just the US that has a growing number of fine chocolate customers. In Ecuador, we’ve seen this market increase so much in the past decade. I think the FCIA and NCA study is spot-on that consumers are more concerned with their health and wellbeing, and with the social and environmental effects of their food choices.

    We are very committed to educating consumers here in Ecuador on fine chocolate. We Even do public tastings, because we feel it is important to connect Ecuadorian consumers with their own heritage. We talk about how Ecuador is the origin of the Nacional variety of cacao, how it tastes floral and fruity unlike other chocolates, and how it’s disappearing now as farmers switch to monocultures.

    Before they talk to us, a lot of people think European chocolate is the most luxurious or ‘best’ chocolate, but in fact Ecuador used to supply a lot of the cacao to those old European brands. The town of Vinces, where our project with HCP is today, used to have so many people traveling from there to France to trade chocolate that it became known as Little Paris. We want to build pride about chocolate made in Ecuador and chocolate made in the Americas.

    Q: Conexión and Grocers Daughters have joined with FCIA and other partners to host a Cocoa Summit in Quito, Ecuador in May 2020. Can you tell us more about the conference, its objectives and why companies should consider attending?

    We are excited to host our second Cacao & Chocolate Summit in Ecuador, and thrilled to have FCIA co-hosting this year. The first Summit was an amazing opportunity to have fine chocolate makers and cacao farmers from the same country sitting at the same panel. It was a gathering of the whole value chain, and we were all able to make connections and learn from each other. For chocolatiers who bought our couverture to see the farmers that harvested it was amazing, and for the farmers to see the chocolatiers demos was very affirming as well.

    This year the Summit has been extended to two days instead of one, and there will be another day of chocolate workshops for chefs and chocolatiers. The panels include farmers, makers, chocolatiers, scientists, international non-profits, and governmental officials all together in one space discussing the most pressing issues in fine chocolate.

    In addition the FCCI will be holding their cacao grading class, as they did last year. Also in connection with the Summit, we will lead another one-week Cacao Expedition, visiting cacao farms and cooperatives in the many regions of Ecuador. For anyone interested in seeing first-hand the diversity and beauty of Ecuadorian cacao, please get in touch.

  • January 09, 2020 5:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Bill GuytonDear Members and Partners,

    As FCIA celebrates our 12th year anniversary, we look back on some of our recent accomplishments and forward to exciting new opportunities in the decade ahead.

    Modernizing Our Look

    In late 2019, FCIA hired professional designer Jonathan Wajskol of Design Wajskol, to develop a more contemporary logo for our association. Please explore our website to see the results of the new look and feel!

    The logo script includes an enlarged “C” which signifies not only “chocolate” but also our growing and inclusive, fine chocolate “community”. Please help us by updating your weblinks with the new logo.

    Growing Our Membership

    FCIA has moved beyond our roots of a U.S.-centric association to embrace members from many other geographies in recent years, including Europe, Latin American, Asia, and Africa. In total, we had 70 re-joining and new members in 2019 – they include chocolatiers, chocolate makers, pastry chefs, traders, farmer groups, equipment suppliers, packagers and others.

    Our new members bring energy, innovations, business linkages and a more international focus to FCIA. Our 2020 goal is to expand our membership by at least 15 percent. We offer discounts to current members who successfully recruit new members.

    Improving Market Knowledge

    FCIA partnered with the National Confectioner’s Association (NCA) in 2019 to conduct a nationwide survey of chocolate consumers. The results provide insights into the trends as well as tastes and preferences of fine chocolate consumers across the United States. The complete report is posted on the “members only” section of the FCIA website.

    Members will not want to miss Anne-Marie Roerink of 210 Analytics on March 5, 2020 at FCIA’s Elevate Chocolate Event in San Francisco, where she will present the survey findings.

    Providing Educational Opportunities and Business Linkages

    In 2019, FCIA hosted our signature Elevate Chocolate Events in both San Francisco and New York. We also organized four regional meetups in California (2), Georgia and Brazil. In addition, we held two webinars on cocoa supply chain partnerships in Latin America and Cote d’Ivoire as well as a webinar on cadmium mitigation, which was co-hosted with Bioversity International. The latter attracted over 75 participants! (Download the presentation from the cadmium mitigation webinar.)

    In 2020 we are planning further educational webinars, especially for those of you who are unable to attend in person conferences.

    For our conferences, FCIA has adopted a new format which will provide broader business linkages for our members and direct marketing access to consumers. Please mark your calendar for the following:

    January 19-21: FCIA Fine Chocolate Pavilion at SFA Fancy Food Show, San Francisco
    FCIA will host our first ever Fine Chocolate Pavilion at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, giving our members and the organization opportunities to build direct business relations with retailers and other specialty food sectors. The pavilion will feature 25 company exhibitor kiosks and nine educational speakers and panels. FCIA members attending the show receive a discount on ticket prices. (More information)

    March 5-6: FCIA Elevate Chocolate 2020 Event and Trade Fair, San Francisco
    Registration is now open for FCIA's Elevate Chocolate 2020 Event, in partnership with the Craft Chocolate Experience. Our event will include four general session speakers, ten technical workshops, and a day-long trade fair for those companies seeking to expand their business networks. (More information)

    March 7-9: Craft Chocolate Experience San Francisco
    Those members who stay on after Elevate Chocolate can participate in a discounted booth at the Craft Chocolate Experience to engage with and sell products to consumers. (More information)

    March 26-27: Quality Flavor Cocoa Market Opportunities for Cote d’Ivoire Conference
    Cote d’Ivoire will host the first national “Quality Flavor Cocoa Market Opportunities for Cote d’Ivoire" at the Golf Hotel in Abidjan. One hundred fifty participants are expected to attend the event, including international experts, producers, exporters, public-private stakeholders from the quality flavor cacao market segment. Discussions will include flavor quality initiatives, market and production opportunities and to learn more about the Ivorian potential on the world market.

    The event is organized by the USDA-financed Maximizing Opportunities in Cocoa Activity (MOCA) initiative implemented in Cote d’Ivoire by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA in partnership with USAID-financed World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) African Cocoa Initiative (ACI II), and the Ivorian Cocoa-Coffee Council. High-level representatives from the U.S. government representatives, ICCO, FCIA, World Cocoa Foundation and others will attend. For more information, please contact Bill Guyton or conference2020@cnfacotedivoire.org.

    May 28-29: Cocoa Regional Summit in Partnership with FCIA: Quito, Ecuador
    FCIA is assisting company members and partners to hold a two-day workshop in Quito, Ecuador. If you are planning to tour origin, this is a good time to schedule. For more information, please contact Bill Guyton.

    June 26: FCIA Event in New York, followed by Fancy Food Show on June 28-30
    FCIA will hold a one-day educational forum in New York, featuring presentations from a variety of experts. This event will include tastings and pairings, and is included as part of the FCIA membership package. More details to follow.

    Supporting Fine Cocoa Supply Chain Improvements

    FCIA is actively involved in efforts to improve cocoa quality and direct market linkages between cocoa growing countries and our member companies. We are excited about the new partnerships with US Department of Agriculture (USDA), non-government organizations, and cocoa producing country representatives.

    FCIA is also working closely with our sister organization, the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund (HCP). We encourage all of our members to view the new HCP videos, which bring their important work on cacao flavor preservation to life!

    Public-Private Partnerships

    In 2019, USDA and partners launched a new regional program called Maximizing Opportunities in Coffee and Cocoa in the Americas, or “MOCCA.” FCIA is working closely with Lutheran World Relief and other partners to assist our members with more direct market linkages to cocoa farmer organizations in the region. We recently hired Mey Choy Paz, who is based in Lima, Peru, to provide direct support to the program and our members in the areas of sensory analysis and sourcing of quality cocoa.

    Defining Cocoa Quality Standards

    FCIA and our members are working with Bioversity and other partners to develop cocoa quality standards. Please visit cocoaqualitystandards.org for a list and description of the seven protocols that have now been adopted by the International Standards for the Assessment of Cocoa Quality and Flavor (ISCQF). The seven protocols cover aspects from physical evaluation of cocoa beans to sample preparation into cocoa liquor. The Protocol for Cocoa Liquor Sensory Evaluation will be published this month.

    Thanking FCIA Leadership and Staff

    FCIA is fortunate to have a dedicated board who provide ongoing leadership and direction. In addition, there are four active committees;

    • Events/Education
    • Communications/Market Research
    • Quality Standards and Supply Chains
    • Membership Services/Benefits

    Each of these committees is chaired by leaders in our industry who volunteer their time and expertise. Finally, I wanted to personally recognize our outstanding FCIA staff. Jennifer Wicks, Nicole Price, and Mey Choy Paz each bring professionalism, passion, and unique skill sets to FCIA that are complemented by Cynthia Closkey and her communications team at Shift Collaborative.

    I have so much optimism for FCIA and its members and look forward to the year ahead.

    Best wishes,

    Bill Guyton
    Executive Director

    Re-joining and New Members in 2019

    Alquimia, American Caribbean Experience, Antonio Guimaraes, Beyond Good By Madécasse, Biocacao De Ecuador, Bisou Chocolate, Cacao Hunters, Cacao Pacifico, Cemoi Inc., Chitram Chocolates / Infusions Cafe, Chocolatier Eve, Clasen Candy Inc., Color Cacao, Compañía Colombiana De Cacao S.A.S., Conrad Solanzom, Criollo Chocolatier, Diogo Vaz, Dorigenn S,A,S, El Colaboratorio, Emkao Foods Inc., Eye Candy Chocolatier, Federacion Nacional De Cacaoteros, Fermata Chocolate, Fintrac Inc., Fjak Chocolate, Fu Wan Chocolate Ltd., Graciela Café, Grupo Biz Colombia Sas - Chuculat, Grupo Suagu Sas, H.R. Zeppelin Fine Handmade Chocolates, Honeymoon Chocolates, Ian Scott Confections, JBM Packaging, K+M, Kathryn Grasso, Keville Handcrafted Chocolates, Kimberly Chisholm, Kokoa Kamili Ltd, Labon Sweets, Manoa Chocolate Hawaii, MDW Chocolates, Midunu Chocolates, Moises Davidovits, Moka Origins, Mountain Food S.A.S, Myr Trading, Nederland USA, Olam Americas, Opening Chocolate, Ór Dubh Chocolates, Painted Horse Chocolates LLC, Planet Choco, Procolombia, Pure Mill Chocolate, Raaka Chocolate, Remy Joachim, Sandra Couttenye Chocolat, Sara May's Gourmet, Sean Taylor, Secret Society Of Chocolate Philanthropists, Síij Chocolate Ancestral S A S, Sphaeris Capital Management, Sra Kko, Tabar Group Of Islands Co-Operative Cocoa Project (TGICCP), The Touring Chocolatier, To'Ak Chocolate, United By Chocolate, University Of Georgia, Victoria Amores, Xocolata Times

  • December 17, 2019 5:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    FCIA members receive the following discounted rates on descriptive analysis profiles from Attribute Analytics.

    Custom profiles:

    • 25% off 5 + profiles or $750 each
    • 50% 10+ or $500 each

    See the attached flyer from Attribute Analytics. 

  • October 22, 2019 12:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Caputo’s will be spotlighting Omnom Chocolate from Reykjavik, Iceland at the 8th Annual Caputo’s Chocolate Festival, where Utah’s trend setting chefs and beverage experts will craft chocolate-based creations to benefit the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative.

    This year’s culinary lineup will include the following local establishments: Normal Ice Cream, Pallet Bistro, Nomad Eatery, The Farm in Park City and Table X Restaurant. Talented chefs will showcase unique Icleandic flavors of Omnom Chocolate in a variety of gastronomic applications, both sweet and savory. The evening will offer inspired cocktails from Water Witch, Sugarhouse Distillery and Bar Daddy, local brews from T.F. Brewing and Epic Brewing Company, and cozy pour overs by La Barba Coffee Roasters.

    The 8th Annual Caputo’s Chocolate Festival takes place on Thursday, November 14th, beginning at 7:00 PM at the Downtown Caputo’s Market & Deli (314 West 300 South, Salt Lake City). Admission is $45; $70 with alcohol pairings (highly recommended). Space is limited and tickets must be purchased in advance on Caputo’s website: https://caputos.com/classes-and-events/. All proceeds from the Chocolate Festival are donated to the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative. 

    Photos from last year’s chocolate festival can be viewed here.

    ABOUT Caputo’s Market & Deli: Caputo’s is Utah’s leading purveyor of regional Italian and Southern European foods, winner of numerous specialty food awards, and an advocate for bean-to-bar craft chocolate. With four locations across Salt Lake Valley, Caputo’s has solidified its position as one of the nation’s best specialty food markets, with a mission to promote and preserve culinary traditions of our ancestors. Highlights include cave aged cheeses from their state-of-the-art cheese caves and one of the largest collections of craft chocolate bars in the world, all which can be found online at caputos.com

    ABOUT Omnom Chocolate: What started as nothing more than an experiment, Kjartan Gíslason and childhood friend Óskar Þórðarson took over an abandoned gas station in Reyjakvik's downtown area and Omnom Chocolate was born. Having been classically trained, Chef Kjartan was already familiar with terms like single origin and cacao. “Just like wine, beer, cheese or kimchi, chocolate is the labour of a lot of patience, from growing the cacao pods until the bar is safely melting in your mouth." Naturally, after sourcing some of the finest cacaos from all around the world, his focus narrowed in on flavors and textures. Today, Omnom is revered as a craft chocolate favorite, incorporating unique Icelandic ingredients into the art of chocolate making. This November, Chef Kjartan and team Omnom will travel to Salt Lake City, Utah to exhibit at Caputo's Annual Chocolate Festival. We invite you to experience the flavors of Iceland in our Salty City.

    ABOUT Heirloom Cacao Preservation: The HCP is a non-profit collaboration between the Fine Chocolate Industry Association and the United States Department of Agriculture to genetically identify strains of heirloom cacao that are extraordinary and unique in flavor and quality and preserve them in the face of an agricultural system that is quickly killing them off. For more information, visit hcpcacao.org.

  • October 16, 2019 7:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Tom and Monica Rogan of Goodnow Farms Chocolate and Bill Guyton of FCIA stand with a bag of cacao beans from Mexico
    Tom and Monica Rogan of Goodnow Farms Chocolate with FCIA Executive Director Bill Guyton

    Goodnow Farms Chocolate is a craft chocolate maker located in Sudbury, MA. They are known for importing single-origin cocoa beans for use in their award-winning chocolates. Founders Monica and Tom Rogan took time to answer a few questions.

    1. How did you get started in the fine chocolate industry? What was your motivation for starting Goodnow Farms?

    We first tasted craft chocolate many years ago, and it opened up a whole new world of flavor we never knew existed. The flavors inspired us to start making chocolate in our home kitchen, and once we started buying our own beans we also became aware of the many issues related to cacao sourcing. Our love of the creative process involved in making single origin bars combined with our desire to source cacao more equitably is why we started Goodnow Farms Chocolate.

    2. Your company sources beans directly from origin. How do you go about doing this? What do you see as the advantages of single origin chocolate?

    We travel to origin to find our beans. We do this because we quickly realized it's the only way to guarantee a certain flavor profile, ensure we receive that flavor profile consistently, and also truly understand working conditions at origin. All of the beans we use come from producers and farmers we've visited, and work with them as directly as possible.

    The biggest advantage of single origin chocolate is flavor. All of the time, effort and passion that goes into every step of the single origin process is fully realized when the unique flavors of this incredible fruit are apparent in the chocolate. Only single origin chocolate can provide that flavor experience.

    3. Can you share with us one of your greatest achievements at Good Now Farms?

    We're very proud of having won awards from so many respected organizations, like the Specialty Food Association and International Chocolate Awards. In the three years since we launched we've won 38 awards, and it's always gratifying when the hard work we put into every aspect of our chocolate making is recognized in that way. Another thing we're very proud of is pressing our own cocoa butter. Pressing our own was a huge challenge when we started, and is still difficult process, but the true single origin flavor makes it worth the extra effort.

    4. What advice would you give to a chocolate maker entering the business today?

    There are so many things. Visit and talk with other chocolate makers in order to understand the incredible amount of labor and expense involved in making craft chocolate. Create a business plan so that you'll know, among other things, what kind of volume you'll need to cover expenses. Have a plan, or at least a general understanding, regarding how to scale up. Think about how you'll position yourself in an already crowded marketplace.

    5. How can the fine chocolate industry work together to grow the market?

    This may go without saying, but consumer education. We've found that most people still have no idea why single origin chocolate is different from what they get in a Hershey bar, and because of this they don't understand the price point. We need a clear, concise, and consistent message which communicates chocolate is a food with unique flavors, and not just an additive-laden candy. Some consumers already understand what craft chocolate is, but that group is incredibly small and can't support the volume of sales needed to ensure the craft chocolate industry will thrive.

  • October 08, 2019 1:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Mey Choy Paz

    Mey Choy Paz joined the FCIA team on August 1, 2019, as our Private Sector Liaison for the USDA-funded MOCCA program in Latin America. MOCCA is a five-year agricultural development program, focusing on improving fine cacao and specialty coffee supply chains. Mey is specifically helping FCIA companies examine lots of cocoa with fine flavor characteristics and establishing business linkages with local contacts in Peru, Ecuador and Guatemala. She also is a resource for a variety of technical information on cocoa for prospective buyers and sellers.

    Another aspect of Mey’s position will be to support Mobile Cocoa (Cacao Móvil) app, which is a web-based platform providing precise information on sensory profiles, origins, benefit process, and volumes offered by each origin to cocoa buyers and sellers.

    Mey belongs to the National Network of Tasters of Peru, where she has been a taster in the XII Editions of the National Cocoa Contest. She has also participated in the Cooperative Development Program, CDP, with Equal Exchange, TCHO and partners of Peru, Ecuador and Dominican Republic.

    Mey has worked with cocoa since 2001, in the areas of Quality Control, Cocoa Processing, Chocolate and Post Harvest Benefit of Cocoa; in private companies, NGOs, cooperatives and as a consultant.

    Through her previous consultancies, Mey has worked in most cocoa areas of Peru as well as Central America. These consultancies included a variety of topics related to cocoa including post-harvest handling, quality control, sensory analysis and processing.

    She is currently certified before SINEACE (National System for Evaluation, Accreditation and Certification of Educational Quality of the Ministry of Education of Peru) as an Evaluator for Pasta Tasters or Cocoa Liqueur.

    FCIA members who are interested to meet with Mey or learn more about her role in FCIA can contact m.paz@finechocolateindustry.org or b.guyton@finechocolateindustry.org.

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

    Gary Guittard

    1. What were some of the original reasons that you and other industry leaders founded FCIA in 2007?

    Seeing the changes in the industry of using less flavor cocoa over the last 50 years and the emergence of their use in the bean to bar movement led us to want to shine the spot light on some of these classic genetic types. Many famous brands rose to prominence using some of these cocoas but because competitive price pressure started the process of incremental degradation and their original personality was lost.

    2. Looking back over the past 12 years, how has the fine chocolate industry evolved? Were there any surprises? How have consumers tastes and preferences changed?

    I think the evolution of the fine chocolate industry, which today is centered on the bean to bar movement, has grown tremendously over that last 12 years, maybe to the point of saturation. It was surprising that the growth was so rapid. I’m not sure that consumer preferences have changed, I think they, like Guittard, are always looking for something new. I do think their knowledge of chocolate flavor and its diversity has grown. I think in reaction to that there are many flavored bars with inclusions on the market today. I’m surprised it hasn’t evolved more into fine candy like bon bons, box chocolate or candy bars.

    3. As you look towards the next 12 years, what are your hopes for the future of fine chocolate in the United States and abroad?

    Over the next 12 years we need to sort through the overabundance of bean to bar products and companies. I’d like to see more use of flavor cocoa in the industry as a whole where flavor is the goal over price. This is good for farmers and good for consumers. I would also like to see more healthful finished confections using fine flavor cocoa.

    4. How do you see FCIA evolving over the next decade to meet the needs of the industry?

    I think the FCIA will evolve towards more finished healthy specialty creative confections based on unique textures and flavors.

    5. You were also instrumental in founding HCP with other industry leaders and USDA. What role would you like to see HCP fulfill? Do you see a relationship between FCIA and HCP?

    I think HCP is important especially in partnership with the USDA in linking flavor characteristics with genetics. There really hasn’t been much work in this area and it is a unique partnership. I think the FCIA is a helpful platform that cultivates the relationships between farmers and chocolate producers. It’s what makes HCP work.

  • October 08, 2019 12:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Bill Guyton, FCIA Executive Director

    Are you seeking ways to better promote your products to retailers, consumers, and specialty food buyers? Would you like to learn and share experiences with other leaders in fine chocolate industry? Would you like to sell product during a conference in order to cover travel costs? Are you looking for guidance on growing or expanding your business? FCIA has two upcoming events in 2020 to help you accomplish these goals.

    Moscone Center, San Francisco, CA

    First, we are excited to announce a new partnership with the Specialty Food Association (SFA) for their upcoming Fancy Food Show in San Francisco on January 19-21, 2020. We will host our first ever FCIA Fine Chocolate Pavilion at SFA Fancy Food Show, offering a limited number of exhibit kiosks at the amazing price of $1,200. In addition, FCIA will have a stage area for guest speakers, tastings, and pairing demonstrations over the three days to further promote our members, their products, and fine chocolate in general. FCIA members will also receive deep discounts on registration to the Fancy Food Show to attend the Pavilion and Education forums if they are unable to get or didn't want a kiosk. This is a great way to showcase your products to retailers. For more details, please contact Bill Guyton or Nicole Price.

    Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA

    Second, we have partnered with the Craft Chocolate Experience in San Francisco, March 2020. FCIA will hold our Elevate Chocolate Event on March 5-6, 2020 at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, directly before the Craft Chocolate Experience consumer festival. Elevate Chocolate will have nine educational workshops and general sessions on key topics important to your business. We are also replacing and expanding the Gallery Showcase with our first ever FCIA Trade Fair. This will be a perfect exhibit space for chocolate makers, chocolatiers, bean traders, farmer groups, equipment suppliers, and our affiliated partners to promote their products and organizations. Our goal is to double the number of exhibitors from last year. Please contact Bill Guyton or Nicole Price for details.

    In addition to these two events, FCIA is also preparing for June 2020 in New York. Details will follow.

    We are as always very thankful to our affiliate partners who provide discounts to FCIA members attending their events. I have personally had the pleasure to attend the Dallas Chocolate Festival last month, and the New England Chocolate Festival this past week in Boston. Next month I will be joining our member companies for the Northwest Chocolate Festival in Seattle and then heading to Salon du Chocolat in New York.  Congratulations to the organizers of these events who are helping to promote our industry in many different geographies.

  • October 01, 2019 5:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In this article, BBC Travel shares the story of how FCIA member Dan Pearson and his stepson Brian Horsley stumbled upon the Pure Nacional Cacao Tree in a remote valley of Peru. The tree was thought extinct until found in Marañón Canyon.

  • September 11, 2019 7:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Created by Hazel Lee, Chocolate Judge & Consultant, Taste With Colour: The Chocolate Tasting Flavour Map is a simple and approachable tool to help people discover and describe flavours with colour. Taste With Colour is designed for everybody to use; from consumers and industry professionals. No training or certification is required!

    Since its launch in 2017, Taste With Colour has been sold to over 30 countries and translated into 5 languages. Additionally, Hazel has held tasting and painting workshops across the globe. Taste With Colour has a brand new website where one can discover more about this unique tasting tool and purchase all five languages.

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

Operations & Membership: Ephi Maglaris / 1.312.771.0181 / Email Ephi


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