Since two of the world’s largest chocolate companies, Mars Inc. and Barry Callebaut, declared recently that, “the world is running out of chocolate”, there has been a stream of news coverage over the last few days labeling that as both crazy and credible. This supposedly looming shortage of the beloved cacao/cocoa and its many chocolaty forms is due to climate change, price fixing and demand out pacing supply among other factors. Yet, at the San Francisco annual Fall Luxury Chocolate Salon, there was no deficit of chocolate on hand. Organizers, vendors and guests assert that there was indeed an abundance of chocolate, chocolate pairings, chocolate samples, choco-aficionados, chocoholics and the choco-curious at this year’s event.
Some of the chocolate makers and vendor at the salon thought that the recent coverage of the so-called-chocolate shortage was a bit of hyperbole. Sam of the Cowboy Toffee Company from Oakdale, CA stated, “it’s a lot of hype…they said similar things in the 70’s about chocolate and sugar and we survived.” She added that her company, whose website boasts, “toffee with down home flavors that’ll take you back to the country”, does not expect any direct impact to her business.
On the other hand, Karen, of the one-woman operation called Flying Noir in Emeryville, CA, is rather concerned because she is seeing prices rise for fine, dark chocolate she gets from the Americas. She is a member of the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA), an international group that supports the art of fine chocolate making. In response to all the recent coverage of the chocolate shortage, the FCIA has issued a call to action to save heirloom cacao, the diamonds of cacao, endowed with a combination of history, culture, geography and flavor.
TasteTV, a digital food, wine and lifestyle media network, hosts the semi-annual chocolate salons in San Francisco at the Fort Mason Center. These salons are chock full of artful displays, varied tastings/sampling, unique gifts and chocolate galore. Also, TasteTV is the host of Chocolate Television that demonstrates how to enjoy the dripping, melting, solid or crunchy pleasures of chocolate.
The fall popular chocolate salon has over 30 chocolatiers, confectioners, wineries and other culinary artisans and coincides with the start of the holiday shopping season. Despite the coverage that chocolate is chipping away, there is no sign of that here in the Bay Area. Both the fall salon and its bigger and bolder cousin, the springtime San Francisco International Chocolate Salon, show chocolate lovers that it may melt in your mouth but not out of your lives.