Fairfield County treat makers to take part in NYC chocolate show

A job done well is certainly its own reward, but when you work in the chocolate industry it seems the reward can be a bit more sweeter.

For the second year in a row, Noteworthy Chocolates of Bethel will be providing the medallions that will be presented to this year’s Legends of Chocolate on Sept. 28 during the Big Chocolate Show in New York City. Crafted from fair trade chocolate from Guittard Chocolate Company, the treats will showcase the innovative custom chocolate engraving technique of this two-year-old company.

“We had a great time last year and met so many interesting chocolatiers,” says Jennifer Sauvageau, who runs Noteworthy Chocolates with her husband, Michael.

In addition to the medallions, the company also is engraving edible business cards that will be handed out at the press preview.

The duo have hit upon a groove, even though they are constantly refining and improving product. It took about a year of trial and error to figure out how best to use a laser to make one-of-a-kind chocolate gifts.

“We went through a lot of chocolate,” she says, laughing, as she recalls the research and development phase of the project. The couple utilized the laser in the Danbury Hackerspace to determine the fonts and designs that would work, as well as the process that would keep the sweet treat from burning or becoming a big pool of melted chocolate. “We had to figure out the settings for the design, and how to figure out how to design for chocolate. It’s not the same as it is for paper.”

A successful Kickstarter campaign later, and support among new customers has led to success. “We just keep trying to figure out ways to make it better.”

Noteworthy Chocolates is not the only area business expected to make an appearance at the show, which was launched in 2016.

Shirley Delicious Confections of Stamford will be exhibiting on Saturday, during the show, which is being held at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel. It runs Friday, Sept. 28 to Sunday, Sept. 30. The company will join more than 200 chocolatiers, chefs, authors, purveyors and experts, according to organizers. Throughout the weekend there will be tastings and demonstrations.

Shirley Delicious Confections is run by Shirley Viscarello and her two daughters, Sophia and Ava. It launched late this spring during an event at Stamford’s Museum and Nature Center.

“We are still building and figuring out our market,” she says, noting that the show will help to see a larger-scale response to their goodies, which include English toffee and “CEJO’s.” The latter, which actually is an acronym (Can’t Eat Just One), is made of organic pretzels, milk chocolate and candy-coated pieces.

By profession Viscarello is a nurse practitioner, who works with her husband, maternal fetal care specialist Dr. Richard Viscarello, at Maternal Fetal Care, PC, the private practice he runs in Stamford that specializes in high-risk obstetrics.

“I have helped to deliver babies for 25 years, but I have also baked forever,” says Viscarello, who initially thought about marketing and selling her chocolate chip cookies. The toffee and Cejo’s won out, however, and so far has been picked up by some brick-and-mortar stores, too, such as Upper Crust Bagel in Darien and New Canaan, Bedford Gourmet in Bedford, N.Y., LaRocca’s County Markethttp://lcountrymarket.com/ in North Stamford, Back 40 Mercantile in Greenwich and the Stamford Museum and Nature Center.

If Viscarello and her daughters find they have time to check a demonstration, they might be able to catch another local chocolatier, Francois Kwaku-Dongo, executive chef of the Roger Sherman Inn and culinary director of Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company. He will be talking about his work with chocolate, which utilizes single-origin chocolate produced in Africa. He is set to speak at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

“I’m looking forward to the show,” Viscarello says. “I didn’t start out in this field or have the expertise, to it will be good to see what is out there. I believe it will be a good mix of consumers, as well as wholesale buyers and other professionals.”

Christina Hennessy