You May Be Surprised That Florida Makes Some Of The World's Best Chocolate

This bean-to-bar chocolate has won numerous prestigious awards.
05/03/2017 06:02am ET
Castronovo Chocolate
From the Castronovo Chocolate website: "We found this remarkable cocoa on the coast of Venezuela nestled high in the mountains where there is a village founded by runaway slaves. The name of their village, Patanemo, is derived from "Paz tenemos" which means, "we have peace." This is a chocolate to savor with evolving flavors of apricot, cherry, floral jasmine, cashew, coffee and caramel. It is a journey of flavor when you let it melt in your mouth. It is comforting with a long-lasting finish."

Florida might be the land of spring breakers, bizarre crimes and voting mishaps, but it turns out the state also makes some of the world’s best bean-to-bar chocolate. Seriously.

Denise Castronovo, creator of Castronovo Chocolates, set up shop in Stuart, Florida in 2013 to make her chocolate, and her journey has been one filled with praise and accolades. She is in fact the only U.S. female chocolate maker to have ever been honored at the International Chocolate Awards, taking home awards in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Castronovo Chocolate
Denise Castronovo in her element.

Castronovo’s chocolate has won over 26 awards ― the Sierra Nevada chocolate alone has won eight awards, including the prestigious gold metal in the International Chocolate Awards World Finals. The chocolate is unique because it’s made largely with heirloom varieties of cocoa beans. Castronovo credits this to her location ― Florida has given her access to a host of heirloom varieties she otherwise wouldn’t have because of its closeness to Latin America.

You don’t have to take a trip to Florida to get your hands on this sweet stuff, just check out their website. But you can only get a taste of their fast-selling chocolate chip cookies ― made with their chocolate, of course ― on site. And some cookies are worth traveling for.

Castronovo Chocolate
Chocolate chip cookies at Castronovo Chocolate.