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Monday, August 3, 2009

Noe Valley Shop First in U.S. to Carry Camel Milk Chocolates

Posted By on Mon, Aug 3, 2009 at 3:24 PM

click to enlarge The camel-milk chocolates: One hump or two? - J. BIRDSALL
  • J. Birdsall
  • The camel-milk chocolates: One hump or two?
Over the weekend, Noe Valley sweets peddler Chocolate Covered (4069 24th St. at Castro) became the first U.S. retailer to carry a line of chocolates made with camels' milk.

On Friday, shop owner Jack Epstein received his first order of the premium chocolates from Dubai-based Al Nassma, which recently began exporting the bars and molded chocolates. Epstein's shipment included all five camel milk bars, including a spiced version, one filled with dates, and a 70 percent dark chocolate bar. A 70 gram bar costs $12 -- in line with other high-end chocolates in the shop. "A third of the cost is shipping from Dubai," Epstein said.

SFoodie sampled the classic camel milk chocolate and Arabia spice bars. The milk bar had a creamy texture and a slightly perceptible gaminess. The Arabia bar had a pronounced taste of coriander and cardamom.

Epstein told SFoodie that interest in the luxury chocolates has been overwhelming. He's gotten calls from as far away as New York. "I'm mailing out a couple of boxes today," he said. "One guy called and wanted 100 of the molded camel shapes to give out to his clients. I told him I wasn't carrying them." Epstein expects to sell out of his initial order quickly, but hopes to secure a regular supply from Al Nassma. "There seems to be an excitement about trying them." Chocolate Covered also stocks chocolates made with goats' and sheeps' milk.

But, Epstein said, Al Nassma chocolates represented a particularly exciting opportunity. "Chocolate is a great non-oil product coming out of the Middle East," he said.

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