By JENNIFER FITCH
7:21 PM EST, January 27, 2013
A Zoe’s Chocolate Co. truffle recently took the family business’ owners on a sweet trip across the country to accept an award for using local and natural ingredients.
Zoe’s Chocolate Co., which has stores in Waynesboro and Frederick, Md., won the Good Food Award for confections Jan. 18 in San Francisco.
The Good Food Awards were created through a collaboration of food producers, farmers, food journalists and independent grocers organized by Seedling Projects, according to the contest’s website.
“At the end of the day, to be recognized for something we believe in ... it felt really good,” said Zoe Tsoukatos, adding that the experience was humbling.
The company, which opened in 2007, emphasizes local and organic ingredients, Tsoukatos said.
Zoe’s products use local eggs, herbs, honey and fruit, Tsoukatos said. The ingredients are natural and organic, and do not include preservatives, she said.
Tsoukatos said her family’s focus on natural foods dates to her childhood, when her parents cooked at home. They froze meals for her while she studied in college because the processed foods there upset her stomach.
One of Zoe’s vendors mentioned the Good Food Award contest in a previous year, and the chocolatier’s “raw bar” (extra dark chocolate with roasted cocoa nibs) was named a finalist.
Zoe’s Chocolate Co.’s sesame tahini crunch truffle won it the award this year from 1,300 entrants in various categories. The Tsoukatos spoke on behalf of confections during the event, which featured chef Alice Waters.
The family sold products and offered samples in a marketplace the next day.
“In general, people love the story; they love where we’re from,” Tsoukatos said.
The policies about ingredients seem to resonate with customers, too, Tsoukatos said.
“There are a lot of people paying attention to what they’re eating nowadays,” she said.
Zoe’s Chocolate Co.’s stores will hold a “man sale” the evening of Feb. 12. It will provide an opportunity for men to shop for combinations of flowers, chocolates and spirits prior to Valentine’s Day.
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