I was walking along the Embarcadero in San Francisco earlier this week, and spotted a familiar sign on the side of one of the enormous piers that juts into the harbor. It said simply “New American Chocolate” and next to it, "TCHO." Then I realized I had just read a huge profile about the company in last week’s Dining section in the New York Times. I recalled their commitment to single-origin cacao beans, sourced from specific farms within about 15 degrees of the equator. Like most progressive coffee companies, they adhere to a strict “fair trade” ethos, and like a lot of wine producers these days, speak of the terroir of the beans, describing their finished chocolates in terms of their associations with citrusy, fruity or nutty characteristics.
I walked inside, and introduced myself to the guy working behind the counter (a former Second City/ImprovOlympic guy from Lake View, by the way), and he agreed to talk to me a bit on camera about the company and its philosophy. Best of all, you can find it locally in Chicago at a number of places, such as Fox & Obel, Marion Street Cheese Market and Southport Grocery, to name just a few local outlets. Easier still, just go to www.tcho.com to order directly.