I’m excited to see a very diverse lineup of candy makers and bean to bar chocolate makers as finalists in 2014 Good Food Awards. Congrats to all! The winners will be selected at a ceremony in San Francisco in January. Many of this finalists have won accolades in other food competitions as well. (Here’s the full lists of finalists across categories.)
In the meantime, for holiday buying or parties, these lists help you choose some of the best sweets vetted as “tasty, authentic and responsibly produced.” If there’s ever been an excuse to indulge…
Our judges had nearly 200 confections to taste, and they gallantly evaluated each one for taste, texture, appearance, and overall impression. What trends do you see?
Becky’s Blissful Bakery, Salted Beer & Pretzel Caramel, Wisconsin
Bixby & Co., To the Nines Chocolate Bar, Maine
Cacao Art Chocolates, Tupelo Honey and Cardamom, Florida
Chocolats Latour LLC, Rosemary Almond Brittle, Ohio
Christophe Artisan Chocolatier, Dark Chocolate Espresso, South Carolina
Coco Delice, Beer Bon Bon, California
Feve Artisan Chocolatier, Hazelnut Crunch Bar, California
Fiore di Capra Inc., Pumpkin Pepita Chevre Caramels, State
French Broad Chocolates, Indian Kulfi Truffle, North Carolina
Fruition Chocolate, Brown Butter Bourbon Caramels & Toasted White Chocolate, New York
Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery, Preserved Meyer Caramel Sauce, Washington
Nosh This, Almond Toffee & Honey Walnut Fleur de Sel Salted Caramel, California
Nutty Steph’s, Inc, Salted Caramel Bar, Vermont
Patric Chocolate, Mint CRUNCH Chocolate Bar & PBJ OMG, Missouri
Sapore della Vita, Caramel Sauce, Florida
Serendipity Confections, Chocolate Covered Butter Caramels with Fleur de Sel, Colorado
Sweetdragon Baking Company, Pistachio Vanilla Brittle, California
The Simple Farm, Salted Goat Milk Caramels, Arizona
Theo Chocolate, Mint Ganache, Washington
WR Chocolatier, Mocha, North Carolina
Xocolatl de David, Raleigh Bar & Brown Butter Bar, Oregon
Zoe’s Chocolate Co., Dark Chocolate Orange Neroli, Pennsylvania
What a nice array of bean to bar chocolate makers from all over the United States !
Amano Artisan Chocolate, Cuyagua 70% Dark Chocolate, Utah
Askinosie Chocolate, 62% Dark Milk Chocolate, Fleur de Sel & 70% Ecuador, Missouri
Blue Bandana Chocolate Maker, Madagascar Wild Pepper 70% Dark & Madagascar 70% Dark, Vermont
Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate, 72% Belize, Toledo, California
Fresco Chocolate, Peru, 70% Light Roast, Washington
Fruition Chocolate, Dominican 70%, New York
Guittard Chocolate Company, Collection Etienne Eureka Works Meritage Blend #27 | 100%, California
Madre Chocolate, Triple Cacao, Hawaii
Patric Chocolate, Signature 70% Blend & Mocha OMG, Missouri
Potomac Chocolate, Upala 70% with Salt, Virginia
Rogue Chocolatier, Porcelana, Jamaica & Sambirano, Massachusetts
Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, San Juan de Cheni, 78%, California
Videri Chocolate Factory, 90% Dark Chocolate Ecuador Camino Verde, California
Seedling Projects is proud to announce the 2014 Good Food Awards Finalists, who represent the best from America’s growing movement of talented and socially conscious food entrepreneurs. From Nebraskan Juniper Salami to West Virginian Barrel Aged Gin to Ethiopian Nigusse Lemme coffee roasted in Oklahoma; tasty, authentic and responsible food is taking the nation by storm. Chosen from amongst the Finalists, 100 Good Food Award Winners will be announced January 16, 2014, at a gala in San Francisco. Dr. Zeke Emanuel will be master of ceremonies; Nell Newman, founder of Newman’s Own Organics, will give the keynote address; and the awards will be presented by renowned chef and Seedling Projects board member Alice Waters.
This year’s 1,450 entries—double the number since the awards launched in 2009—came from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The growth reflects the vitality of the country’s food crafters committed to the values of the Good Food Movement, using sustainable ingredients and supporting their local economies.
“The 200 Good Food Awards Finalists are leading a cultural shift away from business as usual,” says Sarah Weiner, co-founder and executive director of Seedling Projects, which organizes the awards. “They bring the dedication and integrity of true craftsmen to all they do. Their ever stronger presence around the country proves that it can be done—there is a different way to feed our communities.”
The Finalists emerged from a one-day marathon judging session September 15 in San Francisco at the HUB SoMa, when 225 experts sampled entries in the 10 categories of beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, confections, oils, preserves, pickles and spirits. The top scorers were further vetted to confirm sound sourcing practices, good animal husbandry and transparency in all stages of the supply chain.
“These 200 businesses are a vital link in a healthy food system,” Weiner says. “When responsible cheese makers thrive, so do sustainable dairy farms. It was not easy to make it onto this list. Taste scores were higher than ever before, and nearly 10% of the top scorers didn’t fully meet the sustainability criteria to become Finalists. But over a dozen of them decided to make sourcing changes when they realized this, and it is very exciting to see more and more of the country’s most talented producers become the country’s most sustainable.”
The Awards themselves consistently bring recognition and sales to the winners. “Good Food Award Winners report growing their businesses 15% to 400%, increasing purchasing from local and responsible orchards, farms and ranches accordingly.” Weiner says.
The 2014 Awards Ceremony is followed January 18 by the public Good Food Awards Marketplace at the city’s historic San Francisco Ferry Building, where the winners will offer samples and sell their products alongside the hallmark CUESA farmers’ market, the largest in San Francisco.
Great Stories From Every Region
The Finalists offer a snapshot of how food makers are creatively changing the food space—and each one is a great story. Surprises include:
- American craft brewers are hot on sour styles, such as Jester King Brewery’s Aged Sour Red Ale (Austin, TX).
- Makers of charcuterie are using a wide variety of meats, such as duck, buffalo and goat, and playing with old-new-fashioned cuts. A top example: Formaggio Kitchen’s Pickled Beef Tongue (Cambridge, MA)
- One of the high scoring cheeses is made by a non-profit, Farms for City Kids Foundation (Reading, VT).
- Ethiopian beans are shining this time of year, beating out all other origins for the greatest number of finalists. A prime example: Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Idido from Kickapoo Roasters (Viroqua, WI).
- Beer bon bons and beer and pretzel candy? Confectioners such as Coco Delice Fine Chocolates (Emeryville, CA) are playing with savory flavors beyond bacon.
- While California dominates the artisanal olive oils, Midwest crafters embraces what they can uniquely offer; Hammons Black Walnuts (Stockton, MO) is producing stunning oil with wild black walnuts.
- Picklers are turning to the sea: From Olympia, WA comes Oly Kraut’s Sea Vegetable, a combination cabbage and seaweed kraut.
About the Good Food Awards
The Good Food Awards celebrate the kind of food we all want to eat: tasty, authentic and responsible. Good Food Award Winners will be announced on January 16, 2014 in San Francisco. On January 18, 2014, Good Food Award-winning products will be showcased at a 30,000-person public marketplace in collaboration with the San Francisco Ferry Building and the CUESA farmers market. The Good Food Awards Seal, found on winning products, assures consumers they have found something exceptionally delicious that also supports sustainability and social good.
Seedling Projects, a California public benefit corporation, organizes the Awards in collaboration with a broad community of food producers, chefs, food writers and passionate food-lovers. It is led by Sarah Weiner and Dominic Phillips, who have united their diverse skills to support the Good Food Movement. Through focused events and strategic models, it engages the public in finding better ways to feed our communities. Find more information at: www.seedlingprojects.org.
The Good Food Awards would not be possible without the continued support of its many sponsors. We would like to specially thank Founding Partner Whole Foods Market, together with lead sponsors Bi-Rite Market, Williams Sonoma and Dominic Philips Event Marketing. Also generously supporting the Awards are the San Francisco Ferry Building, Veritable Vegetable, GreenLeaf, The Hub SoMa, Wente Vineyards, Market Hall Foods, New Resource Bank and CUESA.