Slideshow: 6 Ways to Celebrate American Chocolate Week

Cook with Chocolate
Cook with Chocolate
If you're looking for an awesome cookbook, I've already mentioned a couple of my favorites—and though I could spend several posts going through my favorite chocolate books, a few more I can recommend are Making Artisan Chocolates by Andrew Garrison Shotts; Chocolate Obsession by Recchiuti/Gage/Caruso; and Fine Chocolates: Great Experience by Jean-Pierre Wybauw.
Get Informed
Get Informed
American Chocolate Week's official website is sponsored by the National Confectioner's Association, and is actually quite comprehensive as far as growing and processing goes. It offers a look at some of the farms and communities involved in growing cacao, as well as the economic and social implications of fair wages and prices for farmers. I found some of it difficult to navigate if you're looking for specific information, but it's a neat site to browse around and has a lot of useful info.

The World Cacao Foundation is an organization dedicated to promoting sustainable cacao-growing practices, both by ensuring fair wages for farmers and encouraging environmentally responsible and effective growing methods. Lots of resources and information can be found here, including teaching materials, information on scientific research programs, and initiatives addressing child labor in West Africa. Fairtrade International offers information on Fairtrade labeling, what it does and doesn't mean, and standards for labeling and certification.

Eladio Pop on his cacao farm in Belize. [Photograph: Liz Gutman]

Meet Like-Minded Chocolate Folk
Meet Like-Minded Chocolate Folk
If you're looking to connect with other chocolate-minded nerds, The Chocolate Life is an amazing website run by all-things-chocolate expert Clay Gordon, offering a little bit of everything—classes and workshops, meetups, chocolate-centric trips, scientific discussions, equipment discounts, blog roundups, and more. I originally joined it while looking for a specific piece of equipment, but have since found it to be an invaluable resource if I need a recommendation on something, or just have a question I can't find the answer to anywhere else.
Buy Some Chocolate and/or Accoutrements
Buy Some Chocolate and/or Accoutrements
If you're looking for a little gift (for someone else or yourself), Amazon is always a good place to start if you're looking for everyday stuff and small utensils like tempering thermometers, scales, saucepans, etc. Sugarcraft offers a lot of inexpensive plastic molds that can be used for chocolate or hard candy. If you're looking for the sturdier polycarbonate molds, JB Prince has a huge selection, plus a bunch of other stuff you don't need but will probably really want.

For chocolate itself, World Wide Chocolate carries every major brand of high-quality chocolate I've ever heard of, and a bunch that I haven't. Blocks, chips, cocoa powder, gift baskets...it's pretty much all there. Good luck leaving the site without buying something.

Chocolate molds from jbprince.com.

Head to Your Local Chocolate Shop
Head to Your Local Chocolate Shop
But really, truly, honestly—the best way to celebrate American Chocolate Week is to go out and eat some chocolate. And the best place to start doing that, in my humble opinion, is in your neighborhood. Look up a chocolate shop near your place and make a trip—try some stuff, have a chat, ask questions. At the very least it's more interesting than a trip to the grocery store, and you'll likely discover a new favorite spot to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Inside Jacques Torres' shop in New York City. [Photograph: Robyn Lee]