We are grateful to be a part of this growing part of Utah food Culture.
THE CRAFT CHOCOLATE CAPITAL OF AMERICA IS...UTAH?
Forget the East and West Coasts—if you want to find the country's epicenter of chocolate innovation, you have to head into the desert
BY AMBER GIBSONPOSTED MAY 23, 2016
Maybe Brigham Young and the Mormons are right: Utah really is the Promised Land. At least if you’re into good chocolate. In the triangle lined by Salt Lake City, Park City, and Provo are eight bean-to-bar chocolate makers, so close you could visit them all in one day, making Utah one of the least likely but most dense capitals of quality, small-batch craft chocolate in the nation.
Sparsely populated Utah might seem like an odd place for a chocolate boom, but operating costs are lower than in major cities like San Francisco or New York, and for Mormons (who aren’t permitted to drink alcohol, coffee, or even tea) looking to participate in a burgeoning national food culture, chocolate is a smart option. Cheese, even subtly, suggests wine, but chocolate is perfect all on its own.
“Chocolate is the complete package by itself,” says Matt Caputo, owner of Caputo’s Deli where you can find 400 different craft chocolates—one of the largest selections in the country. “We have people from all different political and socioeconomic backgrounds participating heavily in the chocolate scene in Utah.”
You might first learn how to differentiate quality cacao from vanilla-flavored “chocolate” candy with Caputo at one of the introductory chocolate classes he’s been teaching for more than a decade at his shop; as someone who estimates eating up to a pound of chocolate a day on the job, he’s a trustworthy source.
For your next steps, consider joining the Utah Chocolate Society, which president Brian Ruggles, who eats a mere bar or two’s worth a day, describes as “an informal, welcoming bunch.”
“The Salt Lake connoisseur has a really open mind,” Caputo says. “Visitors from New York or LA, they’re more likely to have traveled to Italy or France and they’ve already decided what the best is. Salt Lake has this young, educated but more open-minded approach. Culturally, they feel like the best is still in front of them. That lends itself really well to tasting something new and saying ‘Whoa, this is different, delicious, interesting and I want to support it.’”
Here’s our primer of all eight bean-to-bar chocolate makers in Utah.
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