hillary — 3 years ago
Would you pay more for fair trade chocolate?
In the stomach of the food movement things are beginning to stir. Consumers are becoming thirsty for knowledge about the products they consume and support. Where does the food I purchase come from? How does it get from the ground to my plate? What can I really do? Now don't get your stomach all in a knot. You don't have to become a detective to sort all this out, it just takes a little street wise and a thing we call google. If there is anything I have learned from School House Rock, "It's great to learn because knowledge is power!"
There are a few chocolate warriors in the depth of the 'socially just' chocolate movement. ChocoSol stands out in the front lines of the movement in Toronto. ChocoSol is not your average chocolate supplier, but a learning community and social enterprise. It works with horizontal traders and chocolatiers to produce chocolate that remains a symbolic product, not a commodity. It looks to ancient Mexico and draws inspiration from the tradition of chocolate as the food of the gods. ChocoSol works directly with 20 different indigenous communities in Southern Mexico. They allow the farmers of the cacao bean to make a dignified living growing the food of the gods. That means a fair price for their beans.
The relationship is more of a friendship and an exchange (the chocolate traders behind ChocoSol actually know the names of the workers, their families and the local community). The chocolate is made in the same tradition as used by the Mayans in ancient Mexico and uses horizontal trade (the beans are shipped by boat from Mexico to Canada and the good old pedal power of the bicycle to your local business too) to get the chocolate to your plate. They even have a bicycle powered bean grinder- now that's green.
I know what your thinking, "Thanks Hillary, but is there chocolate actually good?". Oh, my yes! Two green thumbs way up for their 5 chilli bullet chocolate. Dark chocolate that's soft on pallet but leaves a lingering kick to awaken your taste buds and fills the entire mouth with flavour. But don't be mistaken, ChocoSol isn't your average treat. ChocoSol chocolate wants to be known as a chocolate food as opposed to a candy or commodity. O.K. hippie dippie, what does this mean exactly? It refers to chocolate as a rare, spiritual food and experience. A rich, refreshing and nourishing food, not a sweet candy. Something that you savour, not gobble up in one go. Biting into ChocoSol chocolate satisfies your chocolate urge but leaves you feeling energized-content. And knowing that all of ChocoSol’s chocolate practices are socially aware just makes it all the more sweet. Or should I say refreshing and nourishing.
ChocoSol prides itself as being one of the lowest food miles and low energy footprint than any other chocolate carrier in Canada. If you bring your own Tupperware your purchase will impressively have had no food waste or plastic wrapping associated with the chocolate (from bean to bar) at all. OK so how can I get it? Check out your local Farmer's market or keep your eyes peeled at your local organic cafe. To my delight, one of my local haunts in the Junction has a jar of it at the counter! So indulge, it's hard to feel bad when all of your choices have been sooo good! If you want to learn more about how ChocoSol got started, check out my article on our website under shops!
Interested in learning more about raw food and fair trade chocolate? Be sure to check out our previous blog here