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Fine cacao and chocolate products have proliferated in recent years, and at the same time concerned consumers have sought more education and transparency in relation to the food they eat. The development of meaningful and widespread standards for social and environmental responsibility is ongoing in the chocolate industry, and the Good Food Awards chocolate category recognizes those bean-to-bar makers who are leading the way, creating truly quality bars in every sense.


The Good Food Awards rely on the expertise of the chocolate community to create the tasting, determine judges and set standards for the category. Read on to learn who has been integral to building the category, as well as what the chocolate standard are and who will be judging this year.


Charlotte Blumenthal

Community & Support Coordinator at Replate – Berkeley, CA

Charlotte is the Community & Support Coordinator at Replate, a tech nonprofit that redistributes surplus food from businesses to communities in need. She got her start in food by working for a CSA program as an undergrad, which is where she realized how disconnected most of us are from the food that we eat. Through her work at Replate she is able to heighten awareness of food waste and the environmental threat that poses. Charlotte is also a (relatively) recent college grad whose first post-grad gig was at the Good Food Foundation. She is thrilled to be back supporting socially and environmentally conscious food producers as a co-chair.


Brian Cisneros

Founder and CEO at Northwest Chocolate Festival – Seattle, WA

Brian Cisneros is founder of the Northwest Chocolate Festival, Northwest Chocolate Week, and the Chocolate Makers UnConference. Brian works to introduce the craft of chocolate making and cacao agriculture to consumers; and to organize the chocolate industry toward high quality products, transparency in the supply chain, visibility in the manufacturing process, and corporate accountability for sourcing practices. Brian has worked with cacao farmers on value-added initiatives for cocoa, provided support for farmer-lead chocolate manufacturing, given lectures on chocolate at museums, met at round table discussions with indigenous cacao farmers, and convened industry working groups for developing cacao quality standards. Brian has directed the NW Chocolate Festival and the NW Chocolate Awards program for 10-years. The Festival, critically acclaimed as the top show for chocolate in North America, produces the world’s largest education program on chocolate that is open to the public. In his spare time, Brian is completing the Q-Grader Certification for specialty coffee, practicing yoga, and developing new communication channels within the cocoa supply chain.

Lawrence Nussbaum

Sustainability Consultant at Sustainable-Source – San Francisco, CA

A passionate chocofile and sustainable food advocate, Lawrence has served as the Education Director for the Northwest Chocolate Festival in Seattle since 2015. He organizes numerous chocolate tastings, workshops, and events and has traveled throughout the tropics, immersing himself in cacao culture and sustainability. With a master’s degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Lawrence has spent the past 20 years working with mission-driven businesses in food and agriculture, as well as a variety of other sectors, to reduce environmental impacts, support social equity, and make credible claims in the marketplace. A portfolio of projects could be seen at www.sustainable-source.com.

Committee Members

Heather Dunbar, Marketing & Events, Brother David’s


To be eligible for the Good Food Awards, chocolate entries must meet the following standards:

  • Made by the entrant from bean to bar in the USA or US territories.
  • Free of artificial ingredients, including colors, flavors and preservatives.
  • Free of genetically modified ingredients.
  • All ingredients are grown with minimal or no use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers.
  • Adherent to the FDA standards of identity for chocolate.
  • Available for retail sale in the 2019 calendar year, prior to September.
  • Made by a crafter that is an upstanding member of the good food community, oriented toward growing their business in harmony with a better food system.

Cacao must be sourced in compliance with the following standards:

  • The origin of beans must be traceable, ordinarily to a particular growing region of a country and ideally to a processing facility, farm or cooperative.
  • Bean sourcers must ensure that price premiums meet or exceed Fair Trade minimums relative to the world commodity price, either through direct trade or through publicly stated policies and in-place processes.
  • Sourced with price transparency throughout the supply chain.
  • Wherever possible, sourced from farms or cooperatives where transparent, documented practices ensure fair and humane work standards for all laborers.
  • Sourced from farms or cooperatives with a transparent, documented emphasis on sustainable farming practices including: water conservation and minimizing or eliminating use of synthetic inputs.


Other ingredients (cocoa butter, lecithin, vanilla, milk powder, flavorings, inclusions, etc.) must be sourced in compliance with the following standards:

  • Traceable.
  • Wherever possible, sourced from farms or cooperatives where transparent, documented practices ensure fair and humane work standards for all laborers.
  • All dairy and other animal-derived products should be sourced in compliance with the GAP guidelines that define “good animal husbandry.”*
  • Sugar must be organic.

* For ingredients that cannot be traced for animal welfare, such as milk powder, organic certification will be accepted.
**Bean-to-bar makers may enter flavored or inclusion bars in their choice of the Chocolate or Confections category.


Additionally, chocolate entries must fit within one of the following four subcategories of bars, containing no ingredients other than those listed:

  • Dark chocolate bars (may not contain ingredients other than cacao, sugar, cocoa butter, lecithin, vanilla).
  • Milk chocolate bars (may not contain ingredients other than cacao, sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids, milk fat, lecithin, vanilla).
  • White chocolate bars (may not contain ingredients other than sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids, milk fat, lecithin, vanilla). Cocoa butter must be pressed in house.
  • Flavored or inclusion bars** (containing at least one ingredient other than those permitted for dark, milk, or white bars).


Amy Sherman

Freelance Writer and Cookbook Author

Karen Cogan

Flavor Manager, Dandelion Chocolate

Bryant Terry

Chef-in-Residence, The Museum of the African Diaspora

Lily Riesenfeld

Co-Founder, Futurewell

Alice Medrich

Writer, Consultant, Pastry Chef

Ruth Kennison

Chocolate Educator, The Chocolate Project

Christine Doerr

Owner/Chocolatier, NeoCocoa

Silvia Baldini

Founder, The Secret Ingredient Girls

Mike Koch

President & Co-Founder, FireFly Farms

Brian Wood

Owner and Manager, Starter Bakery

Francesca Grazioli

Professional Officer, Bioversity International

Anna Baxter

Owner, West Coast Provisions

Kristine Insalaco-Gaioni

Co-Owner/Master Chocolatier, Sapore Della Vita

Jessie Nguyen

Owner/Operator, Little Window

Sasha Lopez

Program Associate, La Cocina

William Rosenzweig

Faculty Director, Sustainable Food Initiative, UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business

Fiona Lee

Co-Founder and COO, Pod Foods Co

Meaghan Tobin

Reporter, South China Morning Post

Mary Rocca

President, Palace Market

Kathleen Eder

Director of Sales and Marketing, Quince

Chelsea Huson

Manager, Entrepreneurial Programs, Family Farmed Good Food Accelerator

Larissa Zimberoff

Freelance Journalist

Vanessa Chang

Marketing Director, Cowgirl Creamery

Jack Epstein

Owner, Chocolate Covered

Megan Hile

Founder and Head Chocolatier, Madison Chocolate Company

Maya Shoop-Reuten

Owner / Chocolatier, Chocolate Maya