Congratulations to Downtown Stuart’s Castronovo Chocolate! Semi-Finalists for the International Chocolate Awards next month.

Although San Francisco and Brooklyn are among the favorite American cities for foodies, it’s Stuart, a small Florida coastal town, which boasts a chocolate factory representing the United States in the finals of the International Chocolate Awards in London in November.

Castronovo Chocolate, one of only a few chocolate manufacturers in the United States owned and directed by a woman, will enter in the competition a dark milk chocolate bar that was one of two overall winners in the Americas semi-finals, leading up to this esteemed international competition against the European semi-finalists.

“It’s been described as winning an Oscar in the chocolate world,” said owner Denise Castronovo, an entrepreneur who previously founded an ecological consulting business that maps rainforest threats. With chocolate manufacturing Castronovo found a way to conserve rainforests by creating demand for chocolate made from the rare cacao varietals discovered in these remote areas of the world. Castronovo is also proud of the Slow Food award she received last year in recognition of her commitment to quality and product preparation.

The difference between Castronovo’s chocolate factory and chocolatiers (the vast majority of shops), is that Castronovo imports heirloom cacao and manufactures the chocolate before turning it into delicious products, while chocolatiers purchase chocolate elsewhere and create chocolate products from it.

Castronovo Chocolate is nut and soy free. It is available from the online store at and is available in gourmet shops in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Montreal and Vancouver. Castronovo Chocolate is located at 555 Colorado Ave, Stuart, Florida. For information call (561) 512-7236.