by Aimee Levitt
The Good Food Awards celebrate food that's good in all senses of the word: tasty and ethical and responsible. That is to say, food that's all natural, made by actual people who respect animals and the environment and the seasons and the culture of the people who produce it. It's food that costs a little bit more, but you'll feel good about yourself when you eat it. Or, at the very least, smug.
This year, two Missouri chocolate makers have earned the Good Food Award seal approval, bestowed last week in San Francisco: Springfield's Askinosie for its Dark Milk Chocolate + Fleur del Sel Bar and Columbia's Patric for its 67% Madagascar Bar, 75% Madagascar Bar and The In-NIB-itable.
When Riverfront Times profiled Patric and Askinosie back in 2010, there were only six bean-to-bar chocolate makers in the US (at least by Shawn Askinosie's estimate). Now, says Alan McClure, proprietor of Patric, "I have heard there may be 50 or more of us."
This year, eleven of those chocolate makers were among the Good Food winners.
At the ceremony in San Francisco, McClure, whose chocolate won for the third straight year, was invited to speak on behalf of the chocolate makers.
"This is an exciting time to be a chocolate maker," he said, "and one filled with plentiful creativity and diversity."
For Askinosie, the award was also a recognition of the company's innovative business practices, which include providing scholarships to students in Springfield and hot lunches to students in Africa and the Philippines, and collaborating with chefs across the country, most recently Katherin Kagel, founder and chef at Cafe Pasqual's in Santa Fe, who helped create the new Dark Milk Chocolate + Ancho Chile & Pistachio bar.
"It's incredible to be recognized beyond a great-tasting product," says Lawren Askinosie, director of sales and marketing, "as a leader in sustainability and transparency."
Good Food Awards are also given to beer, spirits, coffee, cheese, confections, charcuterie, preserves and pickles.