Fall in Love with Good Chocolate: How to Be a More Conscious Cacao Consumer
Imagine falling in love with someone only to find out they eat crappy chocolate!?
We heard this joke from a few of our customers and we figured Valentine's Day would be the perfect time to share it! In all seriousness though, the quality of the chocolate that you gift (and eat) is important and something we wanted to bring to your awareness.
Sadly, most of the chocolate out there is not produced in a conscious manner. In most cases, there is very little actual chocolate (read: cacao medicine) in a bar filled with a bunch of less desirable filler ingredients, such as vegetable oil, sugar, or Dutch-processed cocoa, as well as artificial sweeteners and other chemicals.
Further, there are often unsafe and in some cases, downright inhumane practices against cacao farmers... including reported cases of forced child labor and exploitation, and other unfair issues in the industry that have been brought to light.
So what is the most loving way to share and consume chocolate? Below we've listed a few things to take into consideration:
1. The Source.
Where does the cacao come from? Is it Fair or Direct Trade? Keep in mind that while certifications can certainly assist your purchasing decision, many small-scale farmers and producers may not be able to afford labels like "Fair Trade." So as a general rule of thumb, take the certification into consideration, but know that not all uncertified chocolate is bad.
What process had the cacao gone through before it became a bar? Also, don't forget the individual ingredients, aside from the cacao. Where and how are THEY sourced?
2. The Medicine.
What are the ingredients in the chocolate bar? Do they have a purpose? The best thing to remember here is that less is more. Generally, the less manufacturing and ingredients, the better and more nourishing the chocolate.
3. The Company.
What are the company values? Opt to support small businesses who source single-origin ingredients to produce ethically made chocolate; the shorter the supply chain, the better. And bonus points to those companies who give back to the communities of which they are a part!
All this being said, there are so many good-hearted and well-intentioned companies out there producing amazing chocolate. Please keep these considerations top of mind next time you have the urge to buy a random bar at the grocery store!
At Live A Lot, we source our cacao from a fair-trade farm in Ecuador. We don't roast our cacao beans, which preserves the extraordinary health benefits of the cacao, and the rest of our ingredients are pure quality and fair trade. Every purchase supports our small women-owned business, as well as youth in the community through RISE Yoga!