Local Company Wows Vegans With Chocolate Raw Almond Butter Tart

A local raw food company appears to be on the brink of becoming a nationally recognized brand, thanks to the confluence of a major industry award and a new distribution contract.

Hail Merry, maker of granolas, flavored nuts and macaroons, this week won VegNews' "Best of Show" title at Natural Products Expo West, considered the top trade show for natural and organic products. The magazine has previously bestowed the honor on Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter and heavyweight Amy's Gluten-Free Mac'n'Cheeze: The selection of Hail Merry's Chocolate Raw Almond Butter Miracle Tart, made with cold-pressed coconut oil, suggests the vegan judges might have a weakness for dairy flavors.

The prize represents a significant achievement for a proudly female-owned company that didn't exist three years ago.

Dallas raw food chef Susan O'Brien "started this out of her poolside cabana," regional marketing Vice President Angela Lima says. "We've just had amazing success."

Lima says Hail Merry's tarts are the company's bestselling product. They're available locally at Whole Foods and Central Market, and will soon be sold at Whole Foods stores across the country.

"We just got on with the largest natural foods distributor in the U.S.," Lima reports. "We'll be on the West Coast in two weeks and the East Coast in one month."

Lima anticipates Whole Foods will stock the winning tart, as well as new flavors currently in development.

"They're big, big fans of our tarts," Lima says.

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