Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Divine Chocolate: Fair Trade

Name: Divine Chocolate
Brand: Divine
Place Purchased: sample from Equal Exchange
Price: ?0.65 (online)
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 162-165
Type: Chocolate

These little 45 gram bars are a wonderful example of how a niche product can break out big in the wide candy world. Made in the UK from fair trade cocoa beans, these bars come not only in the familiar milk and dark varieties, but also an orange flavored bar and they’ve also introduced a smaller bar for kids called Dubble.

The dark chocolate bar is smoky and rich and has a good, complex flavor to it. Very woodsy with a slight dry finish. The chocolate is smooth but a little waxy at first as it warms up on the tongue, but there’s no hint of grain at all. At 70% cocoa solids, this is a very chocolatey bar but doesn’t have that crumbly feel that some have. The snap was good and personally, I prefer a chunky bar to a flat one.

 

The milk chocolate bar is very European, with a strong dried milk component to it. It’s very sweet but has a good chocolate taste and is smooth and rich on the tongue. AT 27% cocoa solids, this is a very milky bar (using both dried milk and dried cream).

Again, you’re probably asking, why pay a bit more for the same quality? Well, in this case more money is going directly to the farmers who produce the cocoa beans. Farmers (by this I mean the folks who actually tend the plants, harvest the beans and prepare them for shipping) not only get a decent wage, they are guaranteed income through long-term contracts and the company supports education for children in the area. Economic stability provides political stability which in turn helps to turn the African economy to a more sustainable one not based on government aid where communities build themselves through their agriculture and small industry.

One note about how Divine and Equal Exchange differ - Divine is NOT organic. If you’re looking for a bottom-to-top socially responsible chocolate, go with Equal Exchange because its cocoa farming is organic and is working with cooperatives in multiple locations as well as using organic, unprocessed sugar. If you’re looking for a move in the right direction (or don’t have access to EE), then go Divine and support the widest possible marketing efforts (hey, buy some from both and help farmers in Peru, Dominican Republic and Ghana!).

Rating - 7 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:57 am Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyReviewDivine ChocolateChocolateEthically Sourced7-Worth ItUnited Kingdom

Comments
  1. Cybele's avatar

    (comments copied from previous version of blog)

    Samantha said…

      I think Divine and Equal Exchange are just wonderful ideas. I don’t often buy chocolate, but when I do, I’m going to make sure that the brand supports fair trade. It’s definitely worth the little bit of extra money. Thanks for reviewing these chocolates and enlightening people like me smile

      November 09, 2005 4:47 PM
    Porgy said…

      If you’re interested in another product along these lines you might want to keep an eye out for the Endangered Species brand. They purport to donate 10% of the profits to endangered species protection. The chocolate’s pretty good too.

      November 09, 2005 7:15 PM
    TG
    TG said…

      trying to be a mindful consumer isn’t easy; appreciate your bringing attention to products like this that help stop exploiting people and the environment

      November 10, 2005 12:18 PM

    Comment by Cybele on 11/16/05 at 2:11 pm #
  2. Cybele—You’re so awesome for educating people about these fair trade issues. I just hope that someday soon, fair trade choc reaches a scale large enough that prices won’t be so steep—

    Comment by green LA girl on 12/09/05 at 7:54 pm #
  3. I second Porgy’s recommendation about Endangered Species Company chocolate bars.  I particularly enjoy the Black Panther Bar with 88% cocoa content - the highest I’ve found!  Thanks for covering the fair trade aspect of chocolate.  We can all vote for a better world with our dollars!

    Comment by lauren on 12/10/05 at 5:57 am #
  4. In the last year, our family has become more aware of the need to buy fairtrade goods. We realized that a lot of the things that we buy that are the most exploitive aren’t even things we need or things that are good for us (coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa). We made an agreement as a family that we won’t allow the exploitation of workers for our personal enjoyment, and now if we want those treats we only buy fairtrade. It’s also important to read fruit and vegetable labels, and even think beyond food at where other products are manufactured. If you can find a local version, it’s always better. Anything made in a 1st world country will most likely be non-exploitive, as these countries have labour laws (Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, USA).

    Just some thoughts to digest and maybe decide whether it might be worth it to discuss your shopping habits with your families.

    A great place to order fairtrade sugar/coffee/chocolate and even amazing tropical dried fruit for decent prices is levelground trading (http://www.levelground.com). If you call up and order a full case (you can even mix and max to fill a box) you can get wholesale prices no questions asked.

    Comment by Leanne on 3/15/07 at 4:42 am #
  5. yes fairtrade is excellent, but what about the economical implications? Farmers are still dependent upon us,or rather the demand for fairtrade chocolate, and if they are still dependent upon us, how can they break free from the vicious circle of poverty? Then again More Economically Developed Countries cant thrive without third world countries or poverty in such countries. So sadly it is a no win-no win situation. However, ROCK ON FAIRTRADe. Or how about considering equitrade, where the product is manufactured in the country of produce, to help more cash flow down to the farmers and the country of produce?

    Comment by farah noor on 5/03/07 at 10:56 am #
  6. Farah - you bring up some good points about cash crops for export just continuing the cycle of poverty. However, good co-ops have been combining education with the programs. They teach farmers how to plant sustainably and with different levels of crops under the existing jungle canopy. A well planned plantation can have several cash crops (fruit trees, nuts and cacao) in addition to food for the families living there (local produce). The reduction of “monoculture” plantings makes for a more reliable source of income and also reduces the need for pesticides and other treatments because pests are reduced when the whole hillside isn’t covered with the same plants spaced closely.

    While the idea of locally manufactured goods makes sense with some agricultural products, tropical regions are not necessarily the best places to make chocolate, as it needs to be climate controlled after it’s made (but the beans are much more tolerant of temperature extremes).

    Comment by cybele on 5/03/07 at 12:39 pm #
  7. If any one wants to see an amzing and impacting film, watch “The Corperation”—you will become very ‘enlightend’ and really think twice about every thing you buy. I for one, agree with fair trade, organic, and local products as much as possible. After watching
    The Corperation, it really reaffermed being on the right track. Truth is, we CAN make a difference, and just like if eveyone in my nation sponsored a child or a family mircro enterprise (where they get funded enough to develope a small buisness that will bring in a sustainable income) 30-50$ a month people—thats just passing on a few latte’s a month—Would bring a huge impact on world poverty. Every little bit helps!

    Comment by jess on 11/04/07 at 5:43 pm #

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