Maine chocolatier wins food award in San Francisco


How sweet it is

Black Dinah Chocolatiers of Isle au Haut won a Good Food Award this week. The husband and wife confectioners wowed celebrity judges and were touted by food luminaries Alice Waters and Ruth Reichl in a ceremony Thursday in San Francisco for their ‘Cassis De Resistance’ chocolate truffle, which took the gold.

The winning truffle is made with piquant blackcurrant berries grown on Isle-au-Haut and Venezuelan bittersweet chocolate.

“We’re over the moon about this award,” said Black Dinah co-owner Kate Shaffer. “We’re passionate about creating the best, handcrafted truffles and chocolates we can.” She called the award “an honor and a tremendous vote of confidence.”

Kate Shaffer in action

Kate Shaffer in action

The awards, organized by the Seedling Projects “represent the forefront of American craft food, making products that are delicious, respectful of the environment, and connected to communities and cultural traditions,” a press release stated.

This year’s competition — 1,462 entries in a blind tasting with 182 judges —was stiff. Winners hale from 33 states and competed in 11 categories. From beer to charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, confections, pickles, preserve, spirits, oil and honey. Last year Portland’s Tandem Coffee Roasters won an award and Bixby Chocolate of Rockland was nominated.

The accolade comes at a good time for Black Dinah. The chocolatiers are on the move in 2015. Owners announced last year they were searching for production space in Portland. A company spokesperson confirmed that they have a location in Westbrook, where they expect to be producing chocolate in the second quarter.

In the meantime, get your Valentine’s Day orders in now!

Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.