Is there really such a thing as too much chocolate? You might think it’s a strange answer coming from me, but I say yes there is. I feel this way every year at this time after I’ve been shopping at the Fancy Food Show looking for new delicious and different chocolate for Max’s. Two solid days of taste after taste (I know, sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?!?!) does really get to be bit much. One of the things that gets tough when you’re trying so many different chocolates is the ability to decipher the nuances between them (that’s where the coffee samples come in handy–cuts through the sugar!). Having said all of this, I’m happy to report that I did sacrifice my stomach (and waistline!) in the name of research that would allow me to expand our already fabulous (if I do say so myself) selection of chocolates.
So what did I find?
Gluten free, dairy free, soy free EVERYWHERE! As someone who is lactose intolerant, sensitive to soy and who just found out she has a pretty serious gluten sensitivity, this was really nice to see. The allergen-free messaging was abundant in just about every category of food, and chocolate was no exception.
In the world of chocolate there were chocolates that have sweeteners other than cane sugar which is great for people who want to eat a less highly processed diet and who are watching their sugar intake. Coconut sugar, beer sugar and honey are examples of alternative sweeteners. There were a fair amount of chocolatiers using safflower oil (and even one using pine tree oil!) and there were several using safflower lecithin instead of soy lecithin.
In addition to bringing some chocolate into Max’s that are using these different ingredients, we will also be expanding our selection in terms of the countries we represent–either in terms of the origin of beans, the place of manufacture or the style of chocolate being produced. Stay tuned for new arrivals from the U.K., Germany, Italy and the USA.
I’ve gone to this food show for 10 years and I really think that this year’s show was the best in terms of variety offered and products that excite me for Max’s. Our new selections will begin to arrive this month and you’ll be track their arrivals on FB and our Instagram feed. In the meantime, I need to go hit the gym!