Craft chocolate maker Goodnow Farms Chocolate has won six 2019 sofi awards, sweeping the Dark Chocolate category and earning two of four Chocolate Candy awards.
This marks the first time a brand has won six sofis in a single year since the Specialty Food Association began presenting the awards 47 years ago. The sofis honor the best and most innovative products in the specialty food industry.
In another sofi first, the Sudbury, Mass.-based company’s handcrafted single-origin bars took the whole the Dark Chocolate category, with the Ucayali bar bringing home Gold, Asochivite receiving Silver, and Coto Brus earning Bronze. The Special Reserve Putnam Rye Whiskey bar was the only chocolate bar to receive two sofi awards this year: Best New Product and Silver in the Chocolate Candy category. The single-origin Almendra Blanca Hot Cocoa won Silver for Hot Beverage.
Goodnow Farms co-founders and head chocolate makers Tom and Monica Rogan credit the strong showing to the steps they take to make a product of exceptional quality.
“True cacao flavor starts at the source, which is why Monica and I personally visit each farm to ensure we’re sourcing the best, most flavorful beans,” Tom said.
“People don’t realize chocolate comes from a fruit,” Monica added. “The best chocolate craftsmanship brings out the unique flavors of each bean, in much the same way a fine bottle of wine reflects the flavors of the grapes from which it’s made.”
Goodnow Farms’ commitment to quality doesn’t stop with sourcing. Once the beans arrive at Tom and Monica’s chocolate kitchen, located on their 225-year-old farm, they spend weeks creating the perfect roast profile for each bean. All their chocolate is ground in stone grinders, a time-consuming process but one which allows them to realize the full flavor potential of the cacao.
The Rogans also take the extra step of fresh-pressing their own single-origin cocoa butter from the same fine flavor beans they use to make their chocolate. Adding this fresh butter into each batch of chocolate makes it intensely flavorful and exceptionally smooth.
Tom and Monica are also committed to ethical sourcing and pay a premium well above commodity and FairTrade prices for their cacao. For the beans used in their Asochivite bar they provided funds for the farmers to construct a new cacao fermentation and drying facility. “Making great chocolate is a collaborative effort,” Monica said. “Small farmers committed to cultivating and growing fine-flavor cacao trees need to be supported and fairly compensated for the great work they’re doing.”
The Ucayali bar is made with beans sourced directly from Ucayali River Cacao in Peru. Famers in the region previously grew coca but have in large part switched to fine-flavor cacao since premium prices have made the crop financially viable.
The beans for the Silver winning Asochivite bar are grown, harvested, fermented and dried by Q’eqchi Maya farmers in the small village of San Juan Chivite, Guatemala.
The Rogans’ newest bar, the Coto Brus, hails from a single-estate farm in southern Costa Rica and is the only cacao bean from that country to be given an official heirloom designation by the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund.
The double-award-winning Putnam Rye Whiskey bar is made with locally-distilled whiskey from Boston Harbor Distillery. Tom and Monica soak the cacao in more than 50 bottles of Putnam Rye, which imparts all the complex flavors of the whiskey into the chocolate.
The Almendra Blanca Hot Cocoa is made in-house, from 100 percent cacao powder the Rogans press themselves from single-origin cacao beans sourced from Tabasco, Mexico. Unlike most hot cocoa it is not alkalized, a process which removes the cacao flavor naturally present in the beans. Because of this the hot cocoa retains the true flavor of the cacao.
Tom and Monica plan to open their first brick and mortar space within Boston Public Market in June 2019, where they will showcase their single origin handcrafted chocolate, including several new chocolate bars launching this year.
Winners of the Dark Chocolate Category include:
- Gold Award - Ucayali 70%, Goodnow Farms Chocolate
- Silver Award - Asochivite 77%, Goodnow Farms Chocolate
- Bronze Award - Coto Brus 73%, Goodnow Farms Chocolate
Winners of the Milk and White Chocolate Category include:
- Gold Award - Coconut Milk Chocolate Bar, Askinosie Chocolate
- Silver Award - Brown Butter Milk 43%, Fruition Chocolate Works
- Bronze Award - Willie’s Cacao Milk of the Stars, Belgium’s Chocolate Source
Winners of the Chocolate Candy Category include:
- Gold Award - Croccante Al Pistacchio Con Cioccolato Bianco-Kant, Italian Products USA
- Silver Award - Special Reserve 77% Dark Chocolate With Putnam Rye Whiskey, Goodnow Farms Chocolate
- Bronze Award - Goat Cheese Walnut Truffle, Katherine Anne Confections
- New Product Award - Special Reserve 77% Dark Chocolate With Putnam Rye Whiskey, Goodnow Farms Chocolate
Winners of the Confection Category include:
- Gold Award - Rosemary Sea Salt Caramel, Katherine Anne Confections
- Silver Award - Apple Cider Caramels With Toasted Almonds, Little Apple Treats
- Bronze Award - Apple Cider Caramels With Rose Petals + Cocoa Nibs, Little Apple Treats