CHANGING THE WORLD - ONE TASTING AT A TIME
Chocolate has a history. A deep, rich history as beautiful as the lovely treat itself. Cacao (the fruit and bean from which chocolate is made) has long been revered as a "super fruit" of sorts, used by the Mayans and Aztecs as currency, a ceremonial offering, and a beverage. The French used it as a centerpiece for their social gatherings, contemplating deep thoughts over tiny cups of rich hot cocoa.
But modern, industrialized chocolate companies have altered the way chocolate is viewed. Industrialization would see to it that all cacao be treated the same in order to achieve low-cost, consistent mass production. Over time, cacao became a commodity, simply something to be bought and sold, rather than prized. Now, many of the cacao farmers in the world - about 6 million of them - are living in EXTREME poverty because Big Chocolate is paying so very little for the crops these farmers dedicate their lives to growing and harvesting.
Enter craft (artisan/fine) chocolate. The craft chocolate movement is not only about preserving and celebrating the individual flavors of cacao from different areas of the globe (origins). But it's about something so much bigger - building relationships with cacao farmers, ensuring they have the training they need to produce the best possible cacao under the best possible working conditions. Small-batch chocolate makers pay HUGE premiums for the beans they buy - not in the name of charity, mind you. The higher price paid is for a premium product: fine flavor cacao grown by highly skilled farmers.
When consumers support small chocolate, these artisan chocolate makers are also able to contribute to the communities in which they live, improving the lives of impoverished children and teens right here in the big cities of the U.S. through lunch programs and after-school programs. THIS is what ɡo͝od chocolate is all about. Changing society through chocolate.
Chocolate made by craft makers who have real, personal relationships with cacao growers is what I call ɡo͝od chocolate and the social change being brought about by these chocolate mavericks is why I've made it my mission to teach others about the choices we have in chocolate. Can we continue to buy cheap chocolate because it's cheap? Sure. But why, when your chocolate purchase can do so much more? Join me by making your chocolate choices ɡo͝od chocolate choices.