I LOVE chocolate. Recently I had the opportunity to attend The Big Chocolate Show in New York City. Quicker than you can say milk chocolate, my husband and I were on the train, excited to experience everything the 200+ vendors had to offer.
Upon entering the New Yorker Hotel, the aroma of chocolate began to tickle our noses. It was like walking into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Each vendor specializes in a unique twist on chocolate from around the world. As we sampled the chocolates, cookies, coffee, and spices, the chocolatiers told us their stories. We met and spoke with so many interesting people and I could go on and on about all the amazing bites we tried.
Some of my favorites were:
Loving Earth: Our first stop was Loving Earth. This Australian Company works with small producer communities around the world to create chocolate that melts in your mouth. I was impressed that they even have chocolate made with cashew milk!
Bang Cookies: My husband loves cookies, especially chocolate chip cookies, so Bang Cookies from Jersey City, NJ was another stop for us. Their menu of cookies will make your mouth water. My favorite was the kitchen sink. This cookie featured crisp organic toffee, crunchy organic pretzels, and rich organic chocolate, all in one bite.
Amore Di Mona: After indulging in samples for about an hour, I had the opportunity to watch a live demo by Amore Di Mona. This family business’s mission is to create masterpiece, artisanal, common allergen free, low glycemic, vegan chocolate that tastes divine. They taught us how to make a vegan, gluten free chocolate chiffon cake with a ganache frosting. All I can say is WOW! The skill and ease with which they ran the demo was impressive. They taught me how to use aquafaba in the meringue and they were a delight to watch. At the end we were able to taste the cake; you would honestly never know they made any substitutions.
Burlap and Barrels: Our final stop of the day was a private tasting with Ethan Frisch of Burlap and Barrel. Ethan is a former line cook and pastry chef, who is also a humanitarian aid worker. His company works with farmers around the world to bring spices directly from cooperatives and small farms. As someone who has a passion for cooking and baking, I was enthralled to smell and taste nutmeg from Zanzibar, young and old cinnamon verum chips, and black urfa chili. They were so vibrant with fruity and chocolate undertones. The conversation was not only about where the spices came from and how to use them, but also Ethan’s work with the farmers. His company tries to support farmers and minimize their impact on the environment.
As we left the show, our bellies full, our noses exhausted, and our bags full, my husband and I reflected on all we experienced at the show. We learned of so many local shops that can support various allergies, bigger shops that are doing well around the world, and most importantly, that there’s no limit to how much chocolate we can eat in a day! Until next year, thank you Big Chocolate for the show.