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Fair Trade Chocolate


moldy
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Hi all

I'm new here, and have just purchased the Peter Greweling "at home" cookbook. I was all ready to take my first steps into making truffles etc, when a documentary showed on the TV about children being exploited in the manufacture of cocoa. So now, I'm not sure what to do about chocolate. My girlfriend wants me to use FairTrade, but i'm not sure whether there are any suitable alternatives available.

Is anybody aware of any good FairTrade, or other ethical, chocolates that I might be able to get online or in Australia?

Many thanks in advance...

Richard

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The child labor issues are in the Ivory Coast. If you order chocolate directly from Latin America they should not have these issues: El Rey/Santander/Codillera are some of them. This should put you at ease when you use them + they are DELICIOUS! :biggrin::laugh:

:smile:Alexandra
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Also - since you are in Australia might see if you can get some chocolate from Bali where they are now growing Cacao....yep, Bali.

Try to focus on chocolates that are single plantation sourced or single origin...this way you should avoid some of the issues. Also, check out the artisan chocolate makers in the US ( there are about 5 of them ) They all pride themselves on practicing sustainability and ethics are way up there in where they source their beans from.Good Luck! :smile:

:smile:Alexandra
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Thank you very much for your quick replies. I will definitely examine the option of using regional chocolate if it is available. If I can find Bali chocolate (and it is affordable), I'll give it a go.

I wasn't sure on what the quality of these other chocolates was like, and given that postage will no doubt be hefty, am hoping to get it right the first time!

Thanks again, I'll head off to do some research!

Richard.

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Thought I might elaborate a bit further...

Several years ago in London I attended the book launch of "The Chocolate Connoisseur", by Chloé Doutre-Roussel (Amazon). She gave a 2 hour talk on chocolate and took audience Q&As afterwards. My favourite part was the gasps of horror from the audience when she said that even if she were locked in a room for a week with nothing but Lindt chocolate she still wouldn't touch it, and that Godiva chocolates (and most Belgian chocolates) weren't anything special either. She obviously has extensive knowledge of the chocolate manufacturing process and has personally visited cocoa plantations, her book is worth a read because it gives you a different perspective on chocolate than most other chocolate books I've seen. She specifically talks about organic chocolate in the book, and the question that you ask was also asked by an audience member that night and this is what I can remember her response being:

-Firstly, the quality of chocolate begins with the beans- the type of tree they are grown on, the way the beans are harvested, fermented and then dried. However this is a low-profit part of chocolate making, so there's little incentive for plantation owners to use expensive labour. If you're using premium quality chocolate then there is less of a chance that it was produced from low-cost plantations. However I should point out that Chloe's definition of quality is much more stringent than the average person's - she names Dagoba, Kaoka, Green & Blacks, Amadei, Domori & Pralus as manufacturers that are directly involved with plantations or own their own plantations and are concerned with quality over profit.

-Secondly, unfortunately the terms 'fair trade" and "organic" can influence customer choice (your post is a direct example of this!) however it is a long and expensive process to become certified as either fair-trade or organic. Also, being either fair-trade or organic doesn't guarantee that the chocolate is high quality. According to Chloe's book- in 1997 all the organic chocolates that were sampled by the French Chocolate Society were judged to be poor quality. What this means is that there are high quality chocolates which may be organic and/or fair-trade but aren't certified as such (thus nothing on the label) but also many chocolates that are certified (so big expensive declarations on the label) but are low quality.

So basically - what Alexandra said above!

Personally, Green & Blacks is the only chocolate available in Australian supermarkets that I like, and so it's what I normally use- when it's on special it's cheaper than Cadburys. David Jones food departments have a wider range of artisan chocolates at much higher prices, my closest David Jones stocks Michel Cluziel amongst others (possibly Pralus). And my local deli stocks Valrhona at about 4 times the price of Green & Blacks in the supermarket, special occasions only!

Any of the brands mentioned on this page should give you a clear conscience and a great result.

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ChrisZ and everyone else, thank you very much for your valuable information. I will use it happily. I suspect that down in Tasmania, my choice will be limited even further. Probably to Green & Blacks (if Woollies stocks it!). Probably might have to mail order!

I will definitely try to check out the book you mentioned.

Thank you to everyone for taking the time to give me your thoughts.

Richard

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Let me start first by saying that I used to be a pastry chef for Le Meridien Hotels, I am a Professional certified Chocolatier, I've written four books on chocolate and I am a food journalist focusing primarily on chocolate. My blog is My link

Divine is the first company to offer Fair Trade cocoa coming out of Ghana. All of their chocolate is Fair Trade. You can buy it through the USA or the UK. It's a fantastic company and I would trust them. Here's a link to their website My link

Equal Exchange also offers some exceptional chocolate and cocoa products. My link

There was a show on BBC1 that you can find on my site that proved that even though companies say they are Fair Trade, there are still tremendous amounts of child labor, human trafficking and more going on even where they claim it isn't.

Are you just interested in Fair Trade or Organic too? The Grenada Chocolate Company has some amazing organic chocolate, something that's been missing in the mix of things. My link

Keep me posted on what you're doing. I'd love to help more. These companies are most definitely the best that I have had the opportunity to taste and work with.

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The child labor issues are in the Ivory Coast. If you order chocolate directly from Latin America they should not have these issues: El Rey/Santander/Codillera are some of them. This should put you at ease when you use them + they are DELICIOUS! :biggrin::laugh:

Alex - what makes you say that?

-Seb

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I've also attended a Chloe lecture and have the book, and my take away from her lecture is that most high end chocolate is going to be untainted by child labor *and* the producers are getting better than Fair Trade prices for their chocolate anyway, because of the focus on quality. Two brands that are not labeled Fair Trade but are excellent chocolates and not sourced from child labor regions are Michel Cluizel and Valrhona. Both of these companies spend a lot of time working directly with their suppliers. These are the real deal, and excellent chocolates to work with for truffle making, etc.

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