FCIA 2023 Conference Videos

Below are videos from the FCIA 2023 Conference held on June 24, 2023 at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York, NY. 

Welcome of Overview: Announcements - tastings, glossary, exhibitors , chocolate lab open house, and Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund presentation.

Session: Growing Your Business-Think Outside the Box - FCIA Members, Erin Andrews, Indi Chocolate, Jody Hayden, Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate and Nate Hodge, Raaka share their outside the box creative and strategic thinking that has grown their respective chocolate businesses.

What will attendees learn: How a business owner can assess their situation and resources to determine which opportunities align with their company strategy, personal interests and objectives for new growth initiatives and sustainable profitability. You can learn what to do as well as what not to do.

Session: The Elephant in the Room: Businesses discuss their experience with cadmium and lead in cacao and chocolate - Join your peers in learning the paths businesses and professionals have taken to communicate and mitigate the issues raised by advocacy groups relating to heavy metal presence in cacao and chocolate. Through an introductory presentation, you will learn from medical and soil management experts on how lead and cadmium make their way to chocolate products and affect the human body. The following discussion will include items such as legal response experience and communication responsibilities from collectives in the frontline of this health crisis. 

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Session: Lunch and Learn - CHOCOLATE: "You keep using that word...I do not think it means what you think it means." - This very famous movie quote from The Princess Bride too often describes conversations we have with each other and also with clients interested in fine chocolate. This lunch and learn  workshop will introduce participants to the FCIA Glossary project, how it provides room for a conversation about what terms mean in particular contexts, how to contribute as an author or reviewer and the goals for moving the project forward to serve as a resource for the broader chocolate industry. During this time, we will facilitate discussion on prioritization of terms to define and encourage participants to identify terms that they might author.

Session: Chart the Taste of Chocolate: Guided Tasting Experience from Cacao Farm to Chef's Kitchen - With the launch of the Cocoa Flavor Map, fine chocolate professionals have a visual tool to illustrate the diversity of flavor profiles in cacao from Latin America. In this session two James Beard Award winning chefs transform beans making their debut in the US market into chocolate.

Chef Michael Laiskonis, Director of the Chocolate Lab at the Institute of Culinary Education, selected beans from four participating countries in MOCCA program to make chocolate. He will share his approach for expressing the flavor potential of these beans.

Chef, culinary historian and co-founder of International Institute of Cacao and Chocolate Tasting, Maricel Presilla, Ph.D., shares the history of each region and will guide the audience through a tasting.

Find out from Carolina Aguilar, Director of Cacao at Lutheran World Relief how to support the program and create opportunities for producers.

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Session: Selling more chocolate: Strategies for engaging the modern chocolate consumer - Engaging consumers is the key to success for chocolate businesses, and the growth of our industry. We know that consumer interest in chocolate remains strong, and from multiple perspectives – as an affordable indulgence, a healthy food, and a special gift. We also know the ways consumers shop are changing. In this session, Ecole Chocolat will bring together a panel of talented professionals from different segments of the fine chocolate industry, with different business models and experiences, to share what is working for them RIGHT NOW. They’ll share valuable tips and tricks to help you engage with consumers and generate sales.

Mark Bitterman, The Meadow
Michael Recchiuti, Recchiuti Confections
Michelle Novosel, Pizzelle's Confections
Monica Rogan, Goodnow Farms Chocolate
Moderator, Alysha Kropf, Ecole Chocolat

Session: Having More Fun Making Your Chocolate: Leveraging Your Numbers for Improved Profitability - With recent increases in ingredients, labor, shipping, utilities etc., two food industry consultants, Terry and Kathy Wakefield, will discuss how to assess and then enhance the profitability of your products and your business.

What will attendees learn: You will be shown how to use tools/templates to calculate the true costs of producing your products and running your business. You will also learn some concepts for analyzing your business so that your can make better decisions regarding allocation of your resources while having more fun and fewer headaches.
Video Coming Soon!
Session: Unlocking Heirloom Cacao: Tasting, Genetic Analysis, and Discovery - An interactive presentation exploring the fascinating world of heirloom cacao, uncovering its unique flavors and qualities. Experience an exciting tasting of HCP’s newest designee, HCP #17 led by Rich Tango-Lowy, HCP Board Member and chocolatier from Dancing Lion Chocolate. Gain insights into our genetic analysis techniques and the importance of preserving heirloom varieties from Lyndel Meinhardt of USDA-ARS. Witness the beauty of Kampura Farms and connect directly with the farmer behind HCP #17. Exciting things lie ahead in the world of Heirloom cacao!

Jacob Marlin, HCP President, Lead
Richard Tango-Lowy, Tasting Lead (Owner Dancing Lion Chocolate & HCP Board Member)
Lyndel Meinhardt, HCP #17 Genetic Analysis Findings (USDA-ARS)
Rodrigo Sevilla, HCP #17, Owner Kampura Farms
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Session: Closing RemarksThank you to sponsors, ICE - Michael Laiskonis; Curating culinary experiences w/chocolate and cocktail sponsored by Rizek Cacao and Barcelo rum; Daisy to provide an overview
Video Coming Soon!