If there's a treat that can bring sunshine to a rainy day, it is chocolate. Even better is chocolate made with love. And a step above all of that is chocolate that was also grown and harvested fairly and with kindness.
We all love chocolate, right? There is, however, a darker side to the chocolate industry that we rarely ever hear about. Who would want us to know? Certainly not the big companies that use these beyond-questionable practices to bring us their sweet treats.
Chocolate has a long history behind it, with cocoa beans once being used as currency. It has always had value and a little magic around it. But not all chocolate treats are created equal.
Much of the chocolate supply you'll find at your grocery store is the result of less-than-optimal child labor practices, where the trees themselves are loaded with chemicals and the children who harvest the cocoa pods are, well, children. The majority of child slave labor chocolate originates in Africa. Beyond the 12-14 hour work days of the children, commonly between the ages of 6 and 12, the farms consistently deal with prolific insect populations and spray the pods with massive volumes of industrial chemicals. In Ghana, children as young as 10 spray the pods with these toxins without wearing protective clothing.
What Can You Do? Always check for country of origin of your chocolate. Latin America and Mexico are typically better options. And look out for the fair trade symbol on your chocolate. The one to the right is the most common in North America, but could vary based on where you live.
Even better and more fun, get to know the artisanal chocolate makers at your local farmer's market, or take advantage of the opportunity when you're travelling to go straight to the source.
On our trip to Bali this past winter, Josh and I had the chance to meet Benjamin Ripple, the real life Willy Wonka behind Big Tree farms who makes the best chocolate you ever had (and who might just be the source of your favourite raw cacao powder and coconut sugar!)
Let your treats truly be sweet, through and through.
And now, try making these!
- ⅓ cup cacao powder
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ¼ cup cocoa butter
- OR 100 gram bar of fair-trade bakers' chocolate
- 3 Tbsp raw honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- + Your filling of choice (I split between crushed raspberries in half the batch, and a lightly salted blend of coconut butter, brazil nut butter and cashew nut butter)
- Melt cacao powder, coconut oil and cocoa butter OR baker's chocolate over low heat using a double boiler method (large pot with water, smaller pot inside the larger pot for melting chocolate, keeping direct heat away from pot with chocolate). Stir in honey and vanilla.
- Line one muffin tin, or two mini tins with liners and spoon chocolate into cups, just enough to cover the bottom. Transfer to freezer to set (about 10 minutes).
- Remove and add a dollop of your filling of choice.
- Spoon more chocolate over top until filling is covered
- Place in freezer to set (15-20 mins)
Want more chocolate inspiration?
- Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Chocolate Black Bean Brownies
- Summer Mint Truffles
- Superfood Chocolate Cups
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE TREATS? SHARE YOUR LINK OR PIN BELOW.