When collaborative energy is channeled and harvested (sometimes literally), the results offer a bit of delicious perspective on the region’s many offerings. Such sweet success is evident in the collaboration, started in 2012, between Fruition Chocolate and Westwind Orchard, the result of which is a tempting collection of chocolate bars infused with the homegrown flavors of the Hudson Valley.
“There’s such a bounty of great artisanal food producers here,” says Bryan Graham, who, with his wife and business partner, Dahlia Rissman Graham, owns Fruition Chocolate. Their award-winning small-batch bean-to bar-chocolate is a bit of a paradox: The cacao beans are sourced from fair trade, organic growers in the Caribbean and Central and South America, but a great deal of their chocolate’s character comes from regional ingredients like Ronnybrook butter and Tuthilltown bourbon. Always on the lookout for local producers who share their commitment to quality and sustainability, the Grahams sensed an immediate kinship with Fabio Chizzola and Laura Ferrara, owners of Westwind Orchard.
Located in Accord, New York, Westwind Orchard is a historic property that dates back to the 1930s. Chizzola, a fashion photographer, and Ferrara, a freelance fashion and beauty stylist, bought the property almost 14 years ago. In addition to apples, they currently cultivate berries, garlic, onions, summer greens, squash and pumpkins. Each of the four bars in the collection emits a whiff of the makers’ terroir. Westwind Orchard’s sweet raspberries, gently dehydrated to a light crunch, are folded into Fruition’s Hispaniola 68 percent—what Graham calls “an accessible dark chocolate”—and another version contains Westwind-grown spicy red chiles; Dark Milk chocolate is studded with toasted pumpkin seeds and dusted with an intense powder made from Westwind’s pumpkins and warming spices; Toasted White chocolate, with notes of caramel and brown butter, is further enriched with a mix of maple granola and finely diced dried apples. Each of the nuanced bars is balanced to showcase both Fruition’s chocolate and Westwind’s complementary farmed additions.
Find the chocolate collection at both Fruition Chocolate and at Westwind Orchard’s farm store and online shop; at Saraghina in Brooklyn; and at Nectar in High Falls. —L. Silverman
3091 Route 28, Shokan
and 17 Tinker Street, Woodstock
215 Lower Whitfield Road, Accord