NORTHAMPTON — In a celebratory post on Facebook, Firetype Chocolate announced that they are representing Massachusetts as a 2024 Good Food Award finalist in the Confections category for their Passion Fruit Caramels.

The Good Food Awards, which are presented by the Good Food Foundation, recognizes artisans across the nation “who push the boundaries of taste, quality and ethical production,” according to the Good Food Foundation website.

This year, a pool of over 1,650 entrants across 18 categories were judged by 200 Good Food Awards judges.

“We’re honored to represent Massachusetts in the confections category and share the honor with so many incredible makers,” read the social media post. “Thanks to you for your support and our incredible team for making this happen.”

Dan McKenney, the owner of Firetype, said that the chocolate shop has been carrying products with the Good Food Award symbol on them, but this is the first time the business has submitted one of their chocolates for consideration.

After workshopping a couple different ideas, McKenney and his staff came up with a delectable dairy-free vegan concoction that includes passion fruit, mango, coconut cream, the organic fair trade dark chocolate and some sour candy as the cherry on top. In an interview with Reminder Publishing, McKenney said that he commends his staff for having a desire to include Passion Fruit Caramel on the menu.

“We’ve tried our best to make as many vegan confections as we can in addition to our more conventional ones, and we just felt really, really confidently about this one,” McKenney said.

The 2024 Good Food Award Winners will be announced on April 29th at the Good Food Awards Ceremony in Portland, Oregon, alongside the Portland Mercantile on April 28. McKenney said Firetype should know if they have won by the end of the month, and if they do, he said he plans to be in Portland.

When asked how he feels receiving this type of national recognition, McKenney called the honor “reaffirming.”

“I got hired here in 2013 just as a cashier, and over the years, left this place, came back, eventually came into ownership and worked at various companies that earned awards like this,” McKenney said.

“So, to get to the point where, ‘oh, we can place and we can rank among that stuff in blind tasting with judges that are at the height of their fields,’ it’s honestly unreal.”

Firetype Chocolate is located on the first floor in Thornes Marketplace. According to their website, they make signature truffles and caramels by hand in-house making. They also carry a bevy of vegan treats and imported chocolates from around the world.

McKenney, who was also a former manager of Firetype, has an extensive background working in chocolate, studying under SoFi and Good Food Award winning confectioners and helping to open shops in the re-designed World Trade Center, The Oculus.

According to McKenney, a lot of their products, like the Passion Fruit Caramel, are available at the shop year-round, while some of their inventory is changed out seasonally or weekly to keep things fresh.

Readers can learn more about Firetype by visiting their website: https://firetypechocolate.com/.

rfeyre@thereminder.com | + posts