{eco chocolate} modern love: from bean to bar

Friday, February 12, 2016

i woke up with a mad craving for the sweet, savory taste of chocolate. i had just moved to france, i still hadn't found un monde vegan, and i needed chocolate. but not just any chocolate: fair trade, organic chocolate {the good stuff}. so the hunt began.

i set out to the local grocery store and stood in front of the massive wall of chocolate bars + chocolate desserts. i brought an oversize tote bag with me, like a child at halloween, ready for the spoils of the day. this is what i found on my chocolate adventures:

i easily recognized the green + white "agriculture biologique" label, certifying a product as organic, but trying to find chocolate that is also fair trade + dairy free was a little tricky. after an hour of picking up bars + reading ingredient lists, i finally left empty handed feeling a deep sense of chocolate defeat.

here's why not just any ole chocolate bar will do: three million tons of cocoa are produced each year to create the decadent foods that we love to indulge in throughout the seasons, especially during the holidays and at valentine's day. and why not? dark chocolate is full of antioxidant power {thanks flavanoids!} and rich in essential minerals such as iron + magnesium. and of course, it tastes great. it's easy to understand why people proclaim their love for this snack.

today, more than two million children in ghana + cote d'ivoire work in hazardous conditions farming the cocoa bean {the main ingredient in chocolate}, according to the u.s. department of labor. by choosing fair trade you are supporting better working conditions + living wages for farmers who depend on this industry for their livelihood. you also send a message to companies like mars, nestle, mondelez {cadbury/kraft} + hershey that you believe children belong in school, not in the fields, and you won't support exploitative labor as a conscientious consumer.

here's a great infographic that easily lays out the business of chocolate. and here's a tasty list of fair trade, vegan offerings by companies with deliberate and thorough stewardship at every stage in the agricultural and manufacturing process. these are companies that create chocolate bars with care. so you can go out and purchase with love, green hearts.

a few of my favorite companies creating chocolate with heart include the following:
1/ raaka chocolate: small batch + virgin chocolate experts. making chocolate + creating a more equitable global society in which communities have opportunities to improve their quality of life. yes, please

2/ theo chocolate: fair trade + organic chocolate pioneers. believe in celebrating, strengthening + finding inspiration within human connections, because every action has a result. and because, yes, we are all connected. sign me up

3/ equal exchange: organic + fair trade/small farm crusaders. creating a healthier, more equitable food system. believe consumer should be informed about where their food comes from so that they can make informed decisions. wrap it up to go, please!

4/ vego: vegan, fair trade + organic supporters. this company produces one lone bar that meets my every expectation. their extra large bar combines hazelnuts with italian chocolate, it's smooth + it melts in your mouth. i discovered this bar when i moved to paris; i've never seen it in the u.s. the way to my heart is through food, specifically chocolate, so it's me + vego from here on out. dear vego, you are the chosen one

there is something so utterly satisfying about this sweet culinary treat. it's no wonder the mayans revered the cocoa bean as the drink of the gods + aztecs used cacao beans as currency {if you're reading this and you owe me money, feel free to pay me in chocolate bars}. you can find these delicious treats online or at whole foods in america. find vego, my true love, at un monde vegan in paris.

{images by f+d}

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