How sweet it is for Exquisito Chocolates.
Among more than 2,000 applicants at this year’s national Good Food Awards, the Miami-based chocolatier took home the top prize in the snack category for its 73 percent agrofloresta brownie.
“To have people from all over compete and to be honored with this is quite nice,” Carolina Quijano, founder of Exquisito Chocolates, tells New Times. “And what is great is that the award is not only about taste but about sustainability and food sourcing.”
Held annually, the Good Food Awards feature 16 categories — from oils to spirits to grains — preliminarily judged with a blind taste test. From there, finalists are scored on various environmental and social responsibility benchmarks, and the winners are named by region. In addition to Exquisito Chocolates, Miramar-based Scobucha was the only other South Florida business honored this year, in the pickling category.
So, what makes this brownie so darn special?
“We self-produce all of our chocolates in-house and import all of our cacao beans from throughout Latin America and the Caribbean,” says Quijano. “We control the ultimate flavor of the chocolate, as we roast everything in-house and only roast in single-origin batches. In baking, we get so many different results and, in many cases, are wonderfully surprised.”
In the case of the 73 percent agrofloresta brownie — named for its Mexican origin and the percentage of cacao beans in it — the result is, in Quijano’s words, “a very rich and fudgy flavor” that’s deep, dark, and chocolatey with robust notes of whiskey. The brownie base includes organic eggs, flour, and sugar.
Exquisito Chocolates has a brick-and-mortar operation in Little Havana where the treat is currently available as part of a brownie flight with four total morsels for $14. To celebrate the brownie’s big win, until Sunday, May 7, all customers who make a purchase of $50 or more will receive a free 73 percent agrofloresta brownie.
Beyond brownies, bars, bonbons, and truffles, the homegrown operation is starting to roll out single-origin cacao ice cream.
“We’ve grown very organically, starting with a machine that produced ten pounds of chocolate, and now we’re making about 500 pounds in a single batch,” says Quijano. “As we grow, we want to keep improving the quality of what we do, pushing what we do with chocolate and never compromising.”
Exquisito Chocolates. 2606 SW Eighth St., Miami; 786-558-4580; exquisitochocolates.com. Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.