For the love of chocolate….go the extra step

While I feast on this midnight snack of home-made chocolate cake, cacao nibs, a square of mint chocolate and a piece of plain dark, I’m thinking about what you all will buy today, in terms of chocolate, for the ones you love.

chocheart

I know it’s difficult to think about the ethics of each purchasing decision when you’re out and faced with time and convenience and patience constraints. I ate chocolate cake out at a restaurant this past weekend for my birthday and confess I don’t know where the chocolate was sourced from. I was just hungry for dessert and I didn’t think to ask.

It’s hard to be constantly mindful. I get it.

And…on a day when many people are thinking about expressing their affections through the purchase of, perhaps, some chocolate, I think there’s a huge opportunity to make an impact and choose this day to CARE. Because he/she’s worth it. 

Above all, you have the power to choose what to consume. Use it!

Will you take the extra step today of looking up a store near you where you can get really delicious, ethically sourced chocolate, and go a step further than just picking up a fair trade bar and calling it good? As you may know, there are amazing bean to bar small batch producers that go beyond fair trade but do not have the certification, because it’s expensive, or for other reasons. And on the flip side, there are some corporations that are able to get certifications just by assuring a minimum percentage of their end product is sourced sustainably. It’s hard to know.

But I’ll tell you most of the bars I know and love are not certified fair trade, yet they embody the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) more than any single certification. So, I’ve done some of the work for you. I know it’s easy to just want to stop by your grocery store or pharmacy to pick up available ‘candy’ but does candy evoke love? I think not.

In Seattle, we can buy Theo everywhere (what a relief for the last minute v-day shoppers). As for the rest of the country, and elsewhere in the world, I know not what your options are, but I bet you can find somewhere you can splurge on real chocolate. If just for today.

There are fancy options for your special someone, and there are mini wrapped chocolate bars for office distribution. Ditch tainted candy and choose your impact:

My love is real, my intentions are long-term. I want to make sure the chocolate I buy will show my passion for high quality, ethics and unique flavors:

My love is ambivalent, I’m not quite ready to commit but I do care. Ethical sourcing is a must, I have some standards. I want to make sure the chocolate I buy today is economical, can be shared with many people and is easy to find:

My love is luke-warm. I am busy and don’t really care, but I do want to show up with something that isn’t tainted with slave labor or pesticides. I want to make sure the chocolate I buy today is cheap, available at my pharmacy and wrapped in red:

  • If  you must choose this, go for the large companies’ certified lines…like Hershey’s Bliss, Dove’s Promises, Cadbury’s fair trade bars.

You can also check out this extensive list from the Food Empowerment Project. They single out mostly vegan companies, and have essentially asked all the listed chocolate companies to disclose where their cocoa is sourced from. I don’t agree it’s as easy as picking a company that is not associated with slave labor, but there are so many companies on this list, it’s worth a look.

Happy day of love. Celebrate chocolate today. Real, well-made, responsibly sourced chocolate. It is not as hard as you think.