Let’s Talk Chocolate!

I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s day, personally. That’s a different rant altogether, though. Fact is, the chocolate is out in force this weekend, so I want to tell everyone about my FAVORITE chocolate. I also want to introduce the Badger, while I’m at it!

The busiest grocery in our little town is the WalMart. I just came from a quick errand there. While I was in, I dropped by the “fancy chocolates” aisle. It was crowded, of course. But I managed to pick up a bar of every single brand that they had for sale there, to check it for a “Fair Trade” seal. Not One. Not one single chocolate bar of their really huge selection carried a fair trade seal.

The good news is that a Fair Trade certification is not the only way to be reasonably confident that your chocolate is not supporting human trafficking. I was concerned about the matter, so I emailed the company that produces my personal favorite chocolate bar, Firecracker by Chuao Chocolatier. This is the response I received:

Dear Chandra Rambo,
Thank you for contacting us, regarding our fair trade status. Our products are not fair trade certified as there is currently no fair trade certification available for Venezuelan cacao. However, our chocolate is responsibly sourced.  Venezuelan cacao trades at 2 – 3 times the price of world cacao, which assures us our farmer’s receive fair price. The Aguasanta Growth Initiative is our vehicle for social responsibility in Venezuela, allowing us to contribute time and funds to La Fundación Proyecto Paria, a local Venezuelan NGO (Non-government organization) devoted to the growers of cacao in the Paria Peninsula (the location of the Aguasanta farm).
I appreciate that you have already taken the time to review our Aguasanta Growth Initiative, and sustainability commitments. I have attached the sustainability link, as well as the link with additional information about the founders, if you are interested in reviewing these again. As natives from Venezuela, and with family still living in the area, our founders are dedicated to revitalizing one of the world’s finest cacao growing regions.
Sustainability:  http://www.chuaochocolatier.com/sustainability_project.html
Founders:  http://www.chuaochocolatier.com/about_founders.html
Thank you again for contacting us, we appreciate our customer inquiries and feedback. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can assist you any further.
Nichol Vann
Customer Service Representative

 Chuao Chocolates are sold at WalMart, also at Whole Foods (for those of you lucky enough to have one nearby – I’m jealous), and a variety of other retailers, as well as on their site. They are pricier than your average Hershey bar, but they are amazingly good, rich and full-bodied with no hint of bitterness even in their very  dark varieties. Their flavor combinations are unique; if you aren’t ready for chocolate with chipotle pepper (the Spicy Mayan bar, super yummy) then try something milder, like hazelnuts and almonds (the Caracas). Every variety that I have tried so far is wonderfully good, and I trust this company’s transparency and commitment to both environmental sustainability and slave-free cocoa harvesting.

Enjoy Chocolate!

And welcome to my new category, The Finicky Badger. I thought about making it a whole new blog, but I’m not sure that is necessary just yet. Maybe in the future. The thing is, I am a research FREAK. I love to do research. Is that weird? You don’t have to answer that. I love badgers (one of my top three all time favorite animals, along with barn owls and American Pit Bull Terriers), and I think the image of something tenacious, that will dig until it finds what it is after, suits the kind of research I like best.

I also love to find companies that are socially and environmentally responsible, who produce and sell really good products. So the Finicky Badger is my voice to tell my friends the happy news when I run across such a product. Hope you like it!

1 Comment

  1. May 28, 2011 at 12:15 am

    […] like: misinformation campaigns, spreading of unsubstantiated fear rumors, or child labor slavery in the chocolate industry – well, maybe it would be nice if I took time to mention some things that I do like, very […]

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