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Indulge With Locally Made Organic Chocolate

by Elke Erschfeld

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The Hudson Valley is a great travel destination with many amazing restaurants. A few times a year, I try to visit the Culinary Institute of America and last time I finally made it to Beacon as well. While meeting a friend at The Hop, a microbrewery that also serves locally sourced cheeses and charcuterie, I picked up a bar of organic chocolate by Oliver Kita as a souvenir.
The packaging featured a picture of the Hudson Valley and mentioned that it’s handmade within the region. As it turns out, Oliver Kita is a chocolatier based in Rhinebeck, which is another cute town on the Hudson about an hour north from Beacon. It also featured the USDA Organic Seal and the International Fairtrade Certification Mark. Both are qualifications I look for in addition to shopping local, when discovering new products. Buying organic promotes sustainable agriculture that eliminates the use of pesticides and herbicides or any other toxic chemicals. In addition, at Oliver Kita Chocolates no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives are being used. Fair traded chocolate supports fair prices for farmers and safer work conditions. Oliver Kita’s skillful chocolates are handmade with Valrhona organic chocolate. The farmers who grow the cacao beans for Valrhona receive fair prices through a direct trading system instead of using corporate middle-men or women. This means money from the sales of cocoa beans goes directly to the farmers.
Another creation by Oliver Kita that uses organic chocolate is the Woodstock Buddha made with 70% solid organic chocolate. It also comes as a miniature Buddha filled with organic peanut butter. Then of course, there’s no better cure for the winter blues than organic hot chocolate. You can add it to hot milk, soy milk, or rice milk and forget how harsh the winter in the Northeast has been so far. It comes in a green rice paper lined resealable pouch made from recycled plastic. Now you know, where you’ll find me during my next trip to the Hudson Valley.

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