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Chocolate-covered Oreos by Van Otis. Kelly Sennott photo.




 Who’s making your chocolate?

• Ava Marie Handmade Chocolate 43 Grove St., Peterborough, 924-3759
About: Susan Mazzone began the company in 2003 because there wasn’t a good chocolate shop in Peterborough at the time. All her chocolates are homemade and fair trade.
• Byrne & Carlson 121 State St., Portsmouth
About: They sell single-source, high-cacao-content candy bars from Venezuela, Madagascar, etc., with things like glace fruits, crystallized flowers, candied violets and mints added to embellish the bars. The husband-wife team also make truffles, bonbons, jellies, etc.
• The Candy Bar 44 Main St., Durham, 397-5154, the candybarnh.com
About: They sell gummies, jellybeans, fine chocolate, truffles and fudge.
• Candy Kingdom 235 Harvard St., Manchester, 641-8470, facebook.com/candykingdom5
About: Founded in 1993, Candy Kingdom is a family-run gourmet chocolate and candy shop selling truffles, candy apples, holiday gifts and more. It also regularly hosts candy-making classes.
• The Chocolate Fanatic 76 Route 101 A, Unit 5, Amherst, thechocolatefanatic@msn.com, 672-7133
About: Family-owned and -operated; caramel, toffee, cream centers, peanut butter cups, wide variety of fruits, sea salt bars, truffles, etc.
• The Chocolate Shop of Hanover 31 Lebanon St., Hanover, 643-9031, chocolatenow.com
About: Artisan and classic truffles, barks, drinking chocolate, classic candies, licorices, more; they also emphasize single-origin chocolate.
• The Chocolatier 27 Water St., Exeter, 772-5253, the-chocolatier.com
About: The Exeter-based company sells handmade chocolates, holiday and seasonal gifts.
• Dancing Lion Chocolate 917 Elm St., Manchester, 625-4043
About: At any given time, they’ll sell 30 different flavors of chocolate. They host regular chocolate tasting workshops and have an artist-in-residence, NHIA grad Katherine Donovan, who paints chocolate art.
• Gourmet Granite by Winsome Forge 298 Washington St., Rochester, 332-9984, winsomeforge.com
About: Best known for the chocolate that looks like granite.
• Granite State Candy 13 Warren St., Concord, 225-2591; 832 Elm St., Manchester, 218-3885, nhchocolates.com
About: They’re 87 years old, run by three generations of the same family. They make or sell traditional white, milk and dark chocolate pops, chocolate candies, ice cream, candy, roasted nuts, maple syrup, maple candies, etc. Popular items include butter crunch candies, dark chocolate salted caramels and anything shaped like a bunny.
• Hollis Chocolate Barn 8 Silver Lake Road, Hollis, 465-2420, hollischocolatebarn.com
About: Currently closed for construction; check website for updates.
• Kellerhaus 259 Endicott St., Weirs Beach
About: They sell candy, chocolate, ice cream, jellies, jams, maple products and nuts.
• Kilwins Portsmouth 20 Congress St., Portsmouth, 319-8842, kilwins.com
About: Large chain with locations around the world; they sell single-origin chocolate, fudge, toffee, caramels, taffy, etc.
• L.A. Burdick Chocolate 47 Main St., Walpole, 756-2882, burdickchocolate.com
About: Always hailed as one of the top chocolatiers in the country in numerous magazines, newspapers, etc., Larry Burdick began the company in New York City in 1987 until, five years later, the Burdick family moved to Walpole. Famous for the bonbons, cafe, various cafes/chocolate shops and specialty grocery store. The company is one of the few places in New Hampshire that actually handmakes a portion of its chocolates.
• Lindt Chocolate 1500 S. Willow St., Manchester, 647-4142; 4 Orchard View Drive, Londonderry, 426-5216; 310 DW Highway, Nashua, 891-0865; 80 Premium Outlets Blvd., Merrimack, 424-6579; 3 Portsmouth Ave., Stratham, 772-3614
About: Lindt & Sprungli was originally founded in New York and built its manufacturing site in 1986 in Stratham, where it has continued to grow. Lindt roasts its own cacao beans and is internationally well known for its gourmet chocolate bars and Lindt balls.
• Sanborn’s Fine Candies Route 1, Lafayette Road, Hampton, 926-5061, sanbornscandies.com
About: Established 1957; here you can create your own personalized, custom assortment of your favorite chocolates.
• Stella’s Fine Chocolates 176 Route 101, Bedford, 472-3131, stellasfinechocolates.com
About: The website’s homepage has the phrase, “Chocolate is cheaper than therapy and you don’t need an appointment.” The shop sells chocolates and an assortment of different types of chocolate-covered pretzels, candies, nuts, turtles, toffees, wines, etc.
• Unbridled Chocolates 222 W. St., Keene, unbridledchocolates.com, 876-4700, 
About: Includes specialty grocery store, candy store, breakfast and brunch restaurant. They sell an assortment of different kinds of chocolates/treats, including chocolate-covered bacon.
• Van Otis Chocolates 341 Elm St., Manchester, 627-1611, vanotis.com
About: It began in 1935, when Greek immigrant Evangeline Hasiotis began making and selling chocolates the ground floor of her family’s three-story walk-up apartment building on Spruce Street, where the Verizon currently stands. They provide tours, corporate gifts, classes, events, etc.
• Vicuña Chocolate 15 Main St., Peterborough, 924-2040
About:  Twenty-eight-year-old Neely Cohen started this bean-to-bar chocolate business in early October. The cafe is open on the weekends and sells chocolate bars, drinking chocolate, chocolate husk tea and pastries.
• Winnipesaukee Chocolates 53 N. Main St., Wolfeboro, winnipesaukeechocolates.com
About: Chocolate bars mixed with ingredients like coffee, tea, spices, dried fruit, toasted nuts; percentages from every sale go to conservation organizations in the Lakes Region.
 
 
Fact or fiction: Is dark chocolate healthy?
The answer depends on a few things, but mostly this: How much sugar is in your chocolate? If it’s made with criollo or trinitario varieties, you likely won’t need lots of sugar. Chocolates made from these beans may be 60, 70, maybe even 80 percent cacao, and they’ll still taste delicious because they’re made from good strains. (A select few Tango-Lowy sells at Dancing Lion are 100 percent cacao.) To compare, a milk chocolate Hershey bar is about 11 percent cacao, and a typical dark chocolate about 45 percent.
Tango-Lowy was a physicist before he was chocolatier, and he says he’s always skeptical about health studies.
“What I will say is this: cacao is a seed. There’s a lot going on that’s good for you. It’s high in saturated fat, which is cocoa butter, but it turns out, that saturated fat isn’t bad for you because it’s liquid at body temperature. It doesn’t clog arteries or anything. It’s also a fat that your body really wants to burn. It’s said that Moctezuma, the emperor of Mexico in the 1500s, would give his soldiers a cup of chocolate when they went to battle and it was with them all day,” Tango-Lowy said. “It also has six different neurotransmitters, which gives your brain that nice feeling of well-being, and is one of the highest forms of anti-oxidants, although studies go back and forth over whether anti-oxidants really mean anything.”
So when you look at a chocolate bar, look at its content. You want lots of cacao, less other stuff. If it’s high-quality, it should still taste good without a lot of milk and sugar.
“Chocolate should never be bitter,” Tango-Lowy said. “It just shouldn’t. Bitter chocolate is either bad beans or poor processing.”
Tango-Lowy took chocolate with him during his Long Trail hike in Vermont this summer.
“A lot of hikers work off too much sugar. Then they crash, go to town and eat huge meals. That’s not very healthy,” he said. 
On the trails, he ate a very small breakfast and a small lunch and nibbled on chocolate the rest of the day before real food for dinner.
If you’re eating the right kind, it’s really a great means of energy.
“If you have chocolate a half hour before you hit a mountain, the sugar you get will give you an instant burst, but by the time you hit the mountain, all the other stuff has kicked in,” he said.




Back to Basics Chocolate
from bean to bar

10/30/14
By Kelly Sennott ksennott@hippopress.com



Demand for high-quality, made-in-New-Hampshire chocolate is on the rise.

Dancing Lion Chocolate owner Richard Tango-Lowy says the past 20 years have been a kind of “renaissance” in the chocolate industry, not only because people are becoming more inquisitive about their candy — What’s in it? Where was it made? — but also because rare fine chocolate varieties have rejoined the industry, and people are making the food by hand again.
Vicuña Chocolate owner Neely Cohen says it’s part of a general back-to-basics trend in the state.
“I see this as part of the class food movement — the idea that I can make this with my own hands, and that I can do it better than a huge manufacturer,” Cohen said. 
Local chocolate makers are meeting the demand in various ways. Cohen is doing what few New Hampshirites have done before: she’s creating chocolate straight from the bean, a grueling process that requires time, muscle and apprenticeships in farms with Peruvian professionals.
Others mold chocolate into every which shape — including company logos and physical art — and they add ingredients like wasabi, chilli spices, sea salt, twinkies, potato chips and, dare we say it, bacon. 
They meet consumer demand by practicing fair or direct trade with the farmers. They become actively involved in learning where and from whom the cacao beans originated, which is not only more ethically sound, but also provides an added experience for the buyer.
Chocolate is delicious like nothing else — Granite State Candy owner Jeff Bart says it’s because cocoa butter melts at body temperature — but if you take the time to listen to New Hampshire’s chocolate people, you may find the stories behind these flavors are just as juicy, complex and nutty.
 
Chocolate Renaissance
Yes, there’s more high-grade chocolate available right now. To explain, Tango-Lowy dipped into some basic chocolate genetics and history during an interview at his Manchester chocolate shop.
He says chocolate is about 6,000 years old, but there are no records of it till around 2000 B.C., when, in Latin America, people began to consume, drink and cook with it seriously. (At one point, they paid for things with it, too — cacao beans were circulated like cash.). 
After the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs in the 16th century, Spain imported cacao to Europe. Take note: this was before both coffee and tea. If you wanted to do business, Tango-Lowy says, you’d go to a drinking chocolate house.
This early chocolate was made from criollo strains, a complex bean type thought to have originated in Central America. It’s very rare and sensitive to climate — i.e., very hard to grow. 
So when, sometime around the 18th century, somehow, some way, a new source of genes was introduced to the chocolate industry — a strain that was not only more robust but also cheaper and easier to grow — chocolate makers embraced it. 
These strains, called forastero, were of lesser quality than the criollo. When fermented and roasted, they had a sour quality and different aroma. But that could be fixed with more sugar.
Then, something really weird happened.
“In the 1700s and 1800s, these criollo strains and very hearty but bitter strains of forastero hybridized in Trinidad and created a hybrid we now call trinitario,” Tango-Lowy said. 
The criollo element in the world’s cacao plantations began to shrink, according to The New Taste of Chocolate by Marieel E. Presilla (recommended by and borrowed from Tango-Lowy). It was replaced by forastero and trinitario, which were heartier and easier to grow. There are hundreds, even thousands of varieties developed from these original strains, but according to Presilla, forastero accounts for more than 90 percent of the cacao used by the world’s chocolate manufacturers. As for the criollo strains, people thought they were gone.
“But the last 20 years, we’ve seen that some of these really early strains are coming back. And it’s a big deal,” Tango-Lowy said.
There’s also a sort of renaissance in the way people are sourcing and producing chocolate. 
If you were to crack open a cacao pod, you’d find white, slimy cacao fruit and cacao seeds. Each seed is about half liquid (cocoa butter), half solid (cocoa powder). After processing (fermentation, drying, roasting, cracking/winnowing), if you were to grind (or, as chocolate makers call it, “conch”) the two together with a bit of heat, it would form a chocolate paste.
Years ago, large manufacturers discovered cocoa butter wasn’t only delicious, but also could be used in makeup, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Cocoa powder, on the other hand, could be used in foods like chocolate syrup and hot chocolate. 
Oftentimes, these large manufacturers will separate the two, take what was needed for other products, then blend back together with varying proportions of milk, sugar, soy lecithin, etc.
But when you do this, you’re mixing butter and solids from different kinds of beans, and more importantly, missing the true flavor of the bean, Cohen said. 
“The old way is to take the beans and grind them on a stone slab until it’s become chocolate,” Tango-Lowy said. “The bean has everything you need to make chocolate. There’s no need to take it apart.”
Many local chocolate people are going back to this. (Though maybe not always with a stone slab.) Tango-Lowy is working directly with farmers internationally, and L.A. Burdick is purchasing some of its beans directly from farmers in Grenada while processing in Walpole. Cohen’s Peterborough factory has a machine that grinds up the beans like this, too, and she says you can taste the difference. 
“We like to showcase the true flavor of the bean itself,” Cohen said. “When you’re doing that, you can actually taste the terroir.”
 
 
Origins and terroir
These rediscovered genes and back-to-basics processing techniques play a huge role in the new flavors available to chocolate makers and chocolatiers. 
But so does basically everything else about where a cacao bean is grown, fermented, dried, roasted and processed. Sometimes, if it’s done correctly, you can taste where it comes from.
“If you think about single-origin coffee or certain wines … you can actually taste the flavors of the terroir, the region where it’s coming from. Bolivian cacao beans are different from Ecuadorian cacao beans,” Cohen said. “If you taste them next to each other, it’s really mind-blowing. It’s like wine tasting — they’re so different.”
Indeed, you may even taste what was near the cacao trees.
“In Guatemala, if they get too much rain, it tastes like coffee. … If they over- or under-ferment it, you’re going to get those notes. … It also depends on how it’s dried. Some places will line beans up on the side of the road, and you can taste the oil in them, if you pay attention. In Africa, they’ll put down a layer of banana leaves, then put the cacao on top of it, and then another layer of banana leaves,” Tango-Lowy said. (Cohen said this is how they do it in parts of South America, too.) “In Papua New Guinea they do a fire roast, and you can taste it. It tastes almost like barbecue.”
You’ll taste terroir in chocolate from New Hampshire companies like Dancing Lion, Vicuña, L.A. Burdick, the Chocolate Shop of Hanover and most any chocolate maker who emphasizes a “single origin” stature in a chocolate bar. When they label food like this, it means they want you to taste the banana leaves, the rain, and the coffee growing nearby.
Tango-Lowy says his favorite chocolate is the kind that actively changes in your mouth, from the first nibble to 10 minutes afterward. It adds interest to the story and experience for the customer. 
“We specialize in tasting stuff. It’s part of our model that we never repeat anything, and we never make anything before we make it the first time. And to do that, you have to know what things taste like,” Tango-Lowy said. “We go out of our way to source the most interesting chocolate we can find.”
These varieties can come at a price. Tango-Lowy said during the interview he once paid $24 a pound for a discontinued strain from Venezuela. Traditional chocolate bars at Dancing Lion can cost $10 to $15 per bar, more or less depending on the type of chocolate you buy. (The rarer, the pricier.) Cohen sells her chocolate bars at $9 a bar, and L.A. Burdick’s are between $9 and $13. But eating this kind of chocolate is like tasting a fine wine. It coats your mouth, and its flavors are active even minutes after your first bite. 
“You have to have a fair amount of guts to charge what we charge, but you have to when you use the kind of chocolate we do,” Tango-Lowy said.
 
Farmers and sourcing
Cacao grows between about 20 degrees north and 20 degrees south of the equator all over the world. Demand is reaching an all-time high; an estimated 4.4 million tons of cacao are produced annually, according to Forbes, and that demand is expected to grow 30 percent in the next few years as countries like China, India and Brazil have begun to eat and enjoy chocolate. 
“Asia is just starting to hit the chocolate market now,” Larry Lachance, a chocolatier at Van Otis in Manchester, said during an interview. “Quite a few Japanese companies have contacted us to send chocolate overseas.”
This increased demand is putting more pressure on farmers, many of whom are already making slim profits. The Mariposa Museum’s recent exhibition, “World of Chocolate,” details these issues, as does the 2010 documentary The Dark Side of Chocolate by filmmaker Richard Quest, which also discusses the exploitation and slave trading of African children to harvest chocolate. 
According to the Forbes article, many of these farmers live on less than $2 a day, while big manufacturers are capturing the vast majority of profits. It’s a difficult business to be in — Tango-Lowy says many farmers also live far from hospitals and schools and lack resources like education and machinery that might help with production.
Fair trade helps sometimes — a certification that indicates fair prices for farmers — but there are flaws here too.
“A lot of people ask us, is your chocolate fair trade? The reality is, it costs more to certify fair trade than most of these farmers make in a year,” Tango-Lowy said. 
But the fact that people want to be more aware of what they’re consuming is a step in the right direction. Susan Mazzone, owner of Ava Marie Chocolates, says she’s often asked about fair trade, too. 
“People are more conscious, and it’s great to see that,” Mazzone said. 
The latest thing in ethical chocolate is direct trade; in this practice, chocolate makers and chocolatiers form direct relationships with the farmers they work with. They pay higher prices, but in return, their farmers produce higher-quality cacao. It cuts out the middle man, so you know where exactly all your money goes.
Tango-Lowy recently joined the board of the Fine Chocolate Industry Association, an international committee focused on preserving and protecting fine flavor chocolate.
“The Fine Chocolate Industry Association really works to educate and support that entire line, from fine cacao farmers to chocolate makers and chocolatiers. It helps them work together, and it helps them improve the state of farmers on the ground, to make it easier for chocolate makers to work with the farmers, and make it easier for the chocolate makers to work with the chocolatiers,” said Tango-Lowy, who knows and has visited many of his cacao farmers. Photos of them are plastered along the shop’s walls.
“I can tell you the stories of all our chocolates,” Tango-Lowy said. “I think that’s important because fine chocolate is really at risk. It’s not easy to grow. Some of those original strains are rare, and if they’re gone, they’re gone forever.”
 
Making Chocolate
Chocolate makers and chocolatiers are two different things.
Tango-Lowy and the people at Van Otis Chocolates, Granite State Candy, Unbridled Chocolates, etc., are all chocolatiers. They create the truffles, bon bons, chocolate-covered Oreos and chocolatey art to your liking, usually with special effort to present the treat in a way that best fits the beans’ intrinsic characteristics. The chocolate itself they buy from chocolate makers. L.A. Burdick in Walpole does roast, conch and create a portion of its single-origin chocolates, but the rest is processed elsewhere.
It’s a lot of work — Granite State Candy owner Jeff Bart said offhand during an interview at the Concord storefront the company would need a space probably three times the size to properly roast and conch the volume of chocolate it uses.
Until October, there was really nobody making chocolate full-time locally. 
New Hampshire native Neely Cohen opened Vicuña Chocolate in Peterborough in mid-September. She makes all of her chocolate bars by hand.
If her name sounds familiar, it’s probably because you watch Food Network and saw her win Sweet Genius in 2012. 
Her product, perhaps, isn’t as intricate as those made by some other local chocolatiers — she sells no truffles, no bonbons, just chocolate bars, drinking chocolate and a couple of pastries that feature her chocolate — but she does everything by hand. Even the packaging.
Cohen went to culinary school at Goddard College and attended the National Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York City, where she also worked with a pastry chef in Manhattan. Her focus there: pastries and  chocolate treats.
“I’m really fascinated by the process. It’s a totally different art from chocolatiering, which I’ve done in the past and love as well,” she said. “But when I was making things out of chocolate [as a chocolatier], I felt there was this missing piece. … I really wanted to know how to make the chocolate itself, which is what drove me to live and work in Peru for a half year.”
She lived in Cusco, Peru, where she worked at a cacao and chocolate museum and on a cacao farm. She learned everything she wanted to know about chocolate farming and chocolate making.
Initially, she thought her move to Peru might be permanent but was drawn back to New England in 2011. Upon her return, she worked as a pastry chef in Cambridge and thought she might find a space around the city, but when she visited back home — Peterborough, where she grew up and graduated high school — something clicked. So in February, she began renting and renovating a space for her bean-to-bar business.
Her supplies are limited — she eventually hopes to purchase some machinery to speed up the process — but locals are excited. Her company Facebook page, facebook.com/vicunachocolate, contains hundreds of comments, ‘likes’ and wishes by customers that she was open on more days than just weekends for now.
“We are a factory first and foremost. Making the chocolate and focusing on the wholesale is really the bulk of the business,” Cohen said. 
When the cafe is open Saturdays and Sundays, she sells handmade chocolate bars with cacao from Bolivia, locally-roasted coffee brewed in the pour-over method, pastries that highlight the chocolate, chocolat husk tea and drinking chocolate so thick you can only sip it.
“It’s so much work. … I have to sort the beans by hand. … When the roasting happens, the smell is intoxicating. It smells like brownies in here all the time, with thick clouds of chocolate in the air. It’s very labor-intensive, roasting small batches by hand,” Cohen said.
She’s a one-woman operation with lots of help from friends and family — her mom comes to help wrap the chocolate bars — but there are so many directions in which she wants to go. Her cafe, though only open on the weekends, is large, and the hallway leading to the back factory contains educational charts and books, even a plastic cacao tree, that help describe the steps that go into chocolate-making. Eventually, she’d like to regularly house tours and school groups, to teach locals about the process.
She doesn’t have the time just yet; she’s working to raise money to buy machinery to make the job go along faster. (One of her machines, a winnower, is homemade; a real one would cost thousands of dollars, but hers is put together with tubing, a vacuum and a water jug.) 
Right now, she purchases fair trade, but she’s aiming to go direct with the same farmers she met in Peru.
“It’s a huge labor of love,” she said.
 
Chocolatiering traditions
Many New Hampshire chocolatiers have stories to tell, having been in the chocolate business for decades.
Granite State Candy in Concord (which has a second, newer store in Manchester) and Van Otis Chocolates of Manchester, for instance, are both more than 75 years old. 
“We’ve been in business 87 years now, since 1927,” Jeff Bart, owner of Granite State Candy, said during an interview at the Concord store. “We are located in the same place … And we’re still owned and operated by the same family.”
Bart grew up in the chocolate shop, and he remembers watching his father and uncle make candies and chocolates.
“To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think I was going to be doing this. I went to college, got a degree in economics. When my uncle decided to retire, I had to decide if I wanted to get back into the business,” Bart said. “I’ve been here ever since.”
There are new elements, though. Need to make a good impression on a client? Granite State Candy can make you a chocolate business card with your name printed on the front. The space has expanded enormously, and the company physically produces more than ever, but the heart of the business remains the same.
“Our core line of chocolate products have gone on virtually uninterrupted,” Bart said. “The cream [inside a chocolate] we use today is going to be virtually the same as what my grandfather used to make. … In a specific business like this, you can’t really get knowledge in a classroom. This isn’t the kind of business you can go to school for. … I think you need to learn from someone who’s done it.”
What Granite State Candy is to Concord, Van Otis is to Manchester: full of memories and delicious flavors. 
“We’ve been around since 1935,” said Danielle Maxwell, who works at Van Otis as a manager. “I think everybody has a tradition of coming to Van Otis Chocolates, for their pieces for the holidays and for friends and family.”
This company, too, makes chocolate the same way as it used to. Popular here: sea salt caramels and Swiss fudge. If you attend one of the shop’s regular factory tours, you may get samples of items in production, though you’ll have to do so while wearing a hairnet. (At the time of Hippo’s visit, they were making chocolate-covered potato chips.) Sprinkled about the tour are history relics: original kettles and index cards with the original recipes scratched on.
“We do an awful lot of tours. People don’t realize how much goes into it until they come in,” Maxwell said.
Mazzone of Ava Marie Chocolates embraces the old-time feel of her shop, too. Her business is only 11 years old, but it’s designed like a 1950s chocolate and ice cream parlor. She moved to the space shortly after opening when she discovered having two kids and a house full of chocolates wasn’t the best combination. (They’re both teenagers now; the business was named after her daughter, Ava Marie, and her son is currently president.) She spices things up, still, with artisan chocolates decorated with cocoa butter and interesting flavors.
“A lot of younger crowds are into more unique candy bars with wasabi, ginger, pistachio, cranberry, blueberry. … They’re up for trying different things. Older generations are still going for pecan turtles, truffles and toffees,” Mazzone said.
Common practice among the chocolatiers interviewed is sourcing ingredients locally. Granite State Candy’s milk comes from Contoocook Creamery, its apples (for candy apples) from Gould Hill Farm. At the time of a visit to Dancing Lion, chocolatier Samantha Downing had just created bonbons whose ganache was made from locally grown sugar pumpkins.
Bart says there’s a friendly business network in New England sweets. Granite State Candy is a member of the New England Retail Confectioners Association and Retail Confectioners International. They’re not afraid to help one another out.
“This past Christmastime, I was looking for particular hard candy-making equipment. Something really silly, a candy-pulling pump. I couldn’t find mine, so I sent out an inquiry in the NERCA group. Within a day, someone said, ‘I’ve got one sitting on my shelf, you can have it.’ And he sent it to me,” Bart said. “If someone in the store is looking for something we don’t offer, I’ll tell them someone else within my organization that can do it for them. It’s that kind of give and take — I’ll rub your back, you rub mine — that still exists within the retail confectionary business, certainly in New England and across the country.”
Being based in New Hampshire helps, too.
“It seems that in New Hampshire, I see more entrepreneurial spirit than in any other state,” Mazzone said. “New Hampshire seems to be very aware of buying local.”
 
Chocolate's future
The news portrays the future of chocolate with uncertainty. The Mariposa Museum’s “The World of Chocolate” is a three-floor exhibit that details what’s going on with the world’s chocolate trade. It’s playfully presented in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and it offers relics that help tell the story of chocolate. But it also talks about how things need to change.
If New Hampshire’s culture is any indication, things are changing. People are supporting businesses that support farmers, who in turn will support the preservation of fine chocolate. Proof is in the way Cohen was able to raise nearly $16,000 through Kickstarter to help get her company running, and how business owners like Tango-Lowy and Mazzone know some of their customers, chocolate makers and farmers by name.
They support these businesses because, well, chocolate is delicious, but also because their stories are interesting. The Currier Museum of Art has hosted Tango-Lowy at events many times (and will again at the museum’s After Hours event Nov. 6 from 6 to 9 p.m.). They present tours and classes and information sessions on how to get the most from each bite. There’s more appreciation for what you’re eating, said Mariposa curator Karla Hostetler, when you know the journey it’s taken, from cacao tree to candy bar wrapper.
“What fascinated me,” Hostetler said, “is that when you look at history, you see that this human desire for taste has changed the world many times over.”
Now, it seems, the focus is on finding the best quality and savoring it.
“I think people think, ‘If I’m going to eat a dessert or a sweet, I’m OK with that, but I want it to be delicious,’” Bart said. “It’s a question of, ‘Am I going to sit down and eat gummy bears? Or am I going to sit down and eat some delicious chocolate?’” 
 
As seen in the October 30, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





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