True chocolate lovers like me have long bemoaned the dearth of chocolates that properly symbolized a sweet New Year. Indeed honey and chocolate always seemed to keep a healthy distance from one another. This year — finally! — Rosh Hashanah’s traditional honey meets chocolate for the High Holidays in the form of several new goodies.
Lacking for so long, an impressive group of novel chocolate-honey temptations dotted the aisles at this summer’s Fancy Food Show at the Javits Center in New York. Some had honey fillings in place of the usual caramel ones; honey replaced sugar in another, and another schmeared cocoa powder into its Whipped Honey Chocolate (KSA certified kosher). Most were kosher, made with ethical practices and high-quality ingredients.
If you like caramel with a kick, check out Lake Champlain Chocolates’s 2016 offering, It’s Hot Honey. Chocolate enrobes a local Vermont honey-based caramel spiced with habañero chili pepper. While the company committed to using local honey in a couple of products several years ago, marketing director Meghan Fitzpatrick emphasized that this is the product with the “most forward honey.” Certified fair-for-life and kosher dairy with organic ingredients, this bar contains both sugar and honey. It won a SOFI Bronze Award at the 2017 Fancy Food show.
If you are hankering for chocolate sweetened only with honey, try the patties from Heavenly Organics. Amit Hooda founded the business with his father. They have been combining chocolate with honey in Iowa since 2008. The company improves the economy of his birthplace by working with 600 farmers in an area of conflict in Northern India. Heavenly Organics seeks to combine the prebiotics and antioxidants of the simple two ingredients into a functional food. The products bear multiple formal certifications (USDA Organic, Non-GMO Verified, Fair for Life Fair Trade and OU Kosher).
If wildflower honey-based caramel appeals to you, Money on Honey by Droga Chocolates oozes with it. Its gluten free, fairtrade, OU D kosher certified, bite size, dark chocolate selections include peanuts, crispy brown rice or French sea salt. Now nationally distributed, its founder Michelle Crochet says: “… I love honey. It’s just delicious. I saw a honey stand at my local farmer’s market, seeing the smooth, liquid gold as a possible great replacement to corn syrup…” Droga Chocolates use fair-trade ingredients, is OU Kosher certified and donates to support bees. Also, if you like crunch with your chocolate-enrobed honey, the Honeycomb bar from Chuao chocolate caramelizes the honey in its fair-trade certified bar.
If you are looking for an elegant, honey-based collection of flavored truffle/bon bon, plus tzedakah all-in-one, you may prefer the Gather Chocolate line from Harbor Sweets in Maine developed in 2016. The honey-comb shaped gift box offers up a flight of six flavor experiences using local wildflower honey. Each purchase supports the Pollinator Partnership protecting pollinators and their eco-systems. When Phyllis LeBlanc, owner and CEO of Harbor Sweets, learned about bee hive collapse and devasted colonies she determined that the company would donate 2.5% of Gather Chocolate sales to protect pollinators. As Jon Porath, marketing director, explained by phone: “Gather evokes the image of what pollinators do to gather pollen in order to make the honey. It also symbolizes what we do with friends and family, people gather and share with others.”
Enjoy a honey-chocolatey infused 5778 as these treats embellish your festive gatherings.
(Disclosure: Gather Chocolate and Droga Chocolate shared delicious samples.)
Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz speaks about chocolate and Jews around the world. Her book, “On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao,” (Jewish Lights) makes a great gift, especially bundled with chocolate. She is co-curator of the exhibit, “Jews on the Chocolate Trail,” October 20, 2017 - February 24, 2018 for Temple Emanu-El’s Herbert and Eileen Bernard Museum, NYC. (Free admission.) She blogs at onthechocolatetrail.