…bean-to-bar chocolate makers obsess over the character and ethical origins of their beans.
This is in marked contrast to mainstream industrial chocolate, in which the beans are a commodity product, bought in bulk for price, not quality.
The best bean-to-bar chocolate makers (also called craft or micro chocolate makers) choose beans the way chefs choose tomatoes — obsessively, often visiting the farms where the beans are grown. They roast and grind the beans themselves before making them into chocolate bars.
The pastry chef and author David Lebovitz, who wrote “The Great Book of Chocolate,” compares bean-to-bar chocolate to natural wine. “It’s exciting and alive in a way that even really great regular chocolate isn’t,” he said. “It can surprise you.”
Her article gives information about the terrible human rights and planetary problems in the chocolate industry, such as child labor and deforestation — Ivory Coast has lost 90% of its forests due to bulk cacao cultivation using environmentally harmful methods — which we see in the commoditized cacao supply chains used by big chocolate brands that are found in grocery stores and other large outlets.
Happily, the article doesn’t stop at the problem as some other stories on these grave topics do; Simran shares some exciting solutions or alternatives in the form of slavery-free, sustainable chocolate options for Valentine’s Day and beyond, made from ethically-sourced specialty cacao that so many of us rave about (and that I love to put on my grapefruit : ) .
For example, the article highlights the delicious Dick Taylor drinking chocolate in my photo at the top of this post — made from just 2 ingredients: organic cacao and organic sugar, all you need! — plus other choices by chocolate makers I’m also honored to call clients or friends!
You know that all of the craft chocolate brands I represent as a broker, consultant, or distributor meet my 5 Ss:
soy-free and lecithin-free
Enjoy Simran’s excellent article. Chocolate is love!
The head of the Chicago chapter asked if I could speak on chocolate and gender, and in fact this is a topic with interesting historical aspects. For example, would you be surprised to know that Aztec emperor Montezuma drank chocolate before visiting his wives, or that today much of the work on specialty cacao farms that grow some of the best cacao in the world is done by women?
Click here if you’re curious to see slides I shared during our delicious afternoon (my notes or video links to various relevant YouTube videos are in the comments to each slide)!
Need a “sweet speaker” for your group? Click for my speaking engagement info or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Here are my slides again from this presentation, and thank you to all who made the event possible and all who attended!