Chocolate! The Best of the Best Organic, Fair Trade Chocolates

Find out why organic and fair trade certification really matter when it comes to chocolate, and how our editors ranked the best of these treats.

| Feb. 26, 2009

  • Organic Chocolate
    Not only is organic, fair trade chocolate better for everyone — from planting the cacao trees to popping a morsel into your mouth — the flavor trumps that of conventional chocolate every time.
    ISTOCKPHOTO

  • Organic Chocolate

Sweet, bitter, spicy, smooth — these are just a few of the dozens of ways to describe chocolate.

But if you want really great chocolate, chocolate that makes you feel as good about buying it as it makes your tastebuds feel about meeting it, there are more decisions involved than simply what flavor makes your mouth water. To make the best decisions (and discover the best quality), consider a few questions such as: Where is it grown, how it is grown, and by whom? Does the farmer earn a living wage? Are pesticides used on the cacao trees?

These are tough, but important questions. The good news is we’ve made answering them easier for you.

Most of the chocolate on grocery store shelves isn’t anything like pure, real unadulterated chocolate. Filled with high fructose corn syrup (and, therefore, possibly mercury), grown with pesticides, and sometimes including wax and other decidedly unappetizing ingredients, common chocolate pales in comparison to that made with real food ingredients. If Big Name chocolate is the only chocolate you’ve tried, I’m sorry to inform you that you’ve not really had chocolate. Not the kind that’s worth its weight in silver (or even gold) or that Aztec emperor Moctezuma would offer to Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes. And certainly not the kind that merits its own diety, the Myan god of cacao farmers, Ekchuah.



So how do you find such chocolate and find answers to all those questions? Fortunately, there a couple of qualified certification logos you can look for that quickly and easily separate the bean from the husk: Fair Trade and Certified Organic.

What is Fair Trade chocolate, and why is it important?

According to Reonne Haslett, co-owner of Earth’s Sweet Pleasures chocolate company, Fair Trade means that farmers receive a guaranteed fair price and good labor conditions, including safe working conditions and fair living wages. Plus, middlemen are eliminated, which allows farmers to strengthen their organizations and be competitive in the global economy.

lljj
2/10/2011 6:06:42 PM

ha ha ha ha, that's funny! a whole article on the benefits of Fair Trade and organic only to find that most of your choices can't really be described as either! maybe Mother Earth News could redeem themselves with a "round two" or a "do-over"!


Rodney North
2/10/2011 3:58:06 PM

I’m an worker-owner at the Equal Exchange co-operative and I’m sorry that you left us off the list, especially as we might sell more dual-certified organic, Fair Trade chocolate than anyone in the U.S. If necessary I’d be happy to send the Mother Earth staff some samples! Just holler. Besides Ten Thousand Village stores (thank you Kristen!) you can find our chocolates at many food co-ops, Whole Foods, and online at our webstore (Shop.EqualExchange.com ) But I should also point out a few things. For a review of the “best organic, Fair Trade chocolates” there are some glitches here – namely: - Most Lake Champlain chocolates are neither organic nor Fair Trade - Newman’s Own chocolates are not Fair Trade, either (they use the less-demanding Rainforest Alliance certification system) - Only 1 of the 15 different Dagoba bars are Fair Trade, and they do not – to our knowledge – even use Fair Trade sugar. - Ithaca Fine Chocolates unfortunately went out of business. (They used to make “Art Bars”)


eddy_2
3/7/2009 12:43:47 PM

this form doesn't appear to accommodate comments from outside the us...???







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