A month ago, when the Eat Atlantic Co-operative released its list of finalists for the region’s food product of the year, Brent Smith didn’t pay it much attention.
The “chief chocolate officer” of the Newfoundland Chocolate Company was pleased to see the company’s chocolates vying for the award — designed to draw attention to food produced by companies in Canada’s Atlantic provinces — alongside the likes of Nova Scotia’s Scotsburn Dairy Hoofprints ice cream and New Brunswick’s Crosby molasses. But he didn’t start dusting off the trophy case.
“I thought, gee, Top 10, that’s great, and that’s very nice, but we’re up against Ganong and King Cole and some fairly big competitors, and so I really didn’t feel that we were going to be in contention,” he said. He added that a mention on the Chocolate Company’s Twitter account and an earlier mention in The Telegram is all the publicity the competition has received in Newfoundland.
Time to campaign
But now that he’s been informed by the Eat Atlantic Co-operative that the company’s in the Top 3, Smith figures it’s time to start actively campaigning.
“I know some of the other companies have put a fair bit of effort into getting on the list and going after it,” he said.
“To this point, to get in the Top 3, that’s been completely grassroots with our customers, out of the goodness of their hearts, getting out there and getting online, so now I thought, well, if we’re Top 3, let’s go for it. Let’s get the push on.”
Smith said he feels some responsibility to represent the province, since his operation is the only one from Newfoundland and Labrador on the list.
“It’s kind of cool to be representing Newfoundland, so we’ll put it out there to a bit of broader audience and say, vote for the Newfoundland Chocolate Company, and you’re voting for Newfoundland too, while you’re at it.”