A Noe Valley shop hopes to be among the first U.S. retailers to sell chocolate bars made with camel milk.
Jack Epstein, owner of Chocolate Covered (4069 24th St. at Castro), told SFoodie he only recently found out about the camel milk chocolate bars, manufactured by Dubai-based chocolatier Al Nassama. "The gentleman who manufactures it is an acquaintance of a very good customer of mine," Epstein said. "He tried it and likes it, and I trust his palate. I will try to carry it if it's possible." It's unclear when - or even if -- the camel milk chocolates might arrive. "Bringing it in from freaking Dubai isn't going to be easy," Epstein said. "I don't even know if they've done the work with the FDA to find out if it's even possible to bring it in."
A news report yesterday on the Al Arabiya news site described Al Nassama's global expansion, This week, the company is starting to exporthigh-end camel milk chocolates to Saudi Arabia. Al Nassama's general manager talked about his firm's ambitions to become "the Godiva of the Middle East." Established last fall, Al Nassama manufactures in partnership with the Austrian chocolate company Manner. It's government-controlled dairy farm keeps 3,000 camels. Camels' milk is said to be less fatty and contain more nutrients than cows' milk.
Epstein told SFoodie he thinks the camel milk chocolates are a good fit for his shop's existing line of non-cows' milk bars. "We're known for taking a chance on the exotic," he said, noting that the Mo's Bacon Bar from Chicago-based Vosges is the store's best seller. Epstein is also selling a sheep's milk bar from Austria, and has had success with goats' milk chocolates.
"A lot of people are attracted to different milk chocolates: the goat cheese people, the lactose intolerant people the adventuresome people," Epstein said. "But in order for this to work there's going to have to be some education. It's not every store that can carry it."