Chocolates of Choice: Organic, Fair Trade, and Delicious!

Reader Contribution by Miriam Landman
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Some people might call me a chocolate enthusiast…or, a chocoholic. I
crave chocolate. And I usually indulge this craving, because after all,
dark chocolate has been proven to have a slew of health (physical and mental/mood) benefits

I have a little bit of chocolate almost every day. Not a lot
on any given day, mind you…but since my cumulative consumption of
chocolate is considerable, I’ve been very pleased to find that many of
my favorite chocolate bars are made by companies that address the social
and environmental issues related to the production of chocolate.

The following chocolates are a few of my favorites; and they are all made with organic ingredients and/or their cacao has been sourced through fair-trade arrangements. Some of them also support other types of sustainability or conservation programs and practices, which are noted below:

1.  TCHO

  • Organic (certified by CCOF)
  • Fair trade (certified by Fair Trade USA)
  • Started the TCHOSource
    program “to obtain the best beans in the world while enabling the
    producers of those beans to earn a better living.” They “partner with
    growers and coops and transfer knowledge about growing and fermentation
    to enable farmers to escape commodity production and become premium
    producers and to create a relationship of mutual self-interest that goes
    beyond Fair Trade.”
  • They also “raise consciousness about the reality of modern slavery
    in our industry and in the world, and set an example by refusing to use
    cacao produced by slaves.”
  • Manufactured in San Francisco

I recently tried TCHO’s SeriousMilk Milk Chocolate “Cacao” bar
(with 53% cacao), and I think this has now become my #1 favorite
chocolate bar.  It’s the perfect balance between milk and dark
chocolate. I look forward to trying their other bars, as well.

2.  Newman’s Own Organics

  • 100% organic (certified by Oregon Tilth)
  • Rainforest Alliance Certified, which “guarantees that the cocoa in
    our Signature Series was grown on farms that meet comprehensive
    standards for sustainable farming, protecting soil, waterways and
    wildlife habitat as well as the rights and welfare of workers, their
    families and communities.”
  • “We have confirmed in writing that the cocoa products we purchase
    have been produced on farms that treat their workers fairly, and pay
    them a fair wage. Our suppliers do not and will not support any farms or
    plantations that mistreat children and adults or engage in Slave Trade
    Practices.”

My favorite Newman’s Own Organics bar is: Dark Chocolate (54% cocoa), which is a light/creamy dark chocolate.

3.  Endangered Species Chocolate

  • Some of their bars are organic (certified by Oregon Tilth)
  • “10% of net profits donated to charitable organizations supporting species and habitat conservation in harmony with humanity”
  • “100% ethically traded: Cacao used to create our All-Natural and
    Organic chocolate products is grown on farm co-ops that foster
    responsible labor practices, community enrichment and sustainable
    farming… On-the-ground endeavors, like Project Ecuador are helping empower communities in cacao growing regions.”
  • “All of our chocolate is shade-grown.  Shade-grown chocolate
    supports lush forests and the species that thrive there promoting
    biodiversity, providing shelter for migratory birds, and combating
    global warming.”
  • Information about an endangered species is provided inside each wrapper.

My favorite Endangered Species Chocolate bar (that I’ve tried so far) is: Dark chocolate with Cranberries and Almonds.

4.  Seeds of Change

  • Organic (certified by QAI)
  • “Directly contributes 1% of its net sales to sustainable organic farming initiatives worldwide.”

I’ve had their Milk Chocolate, and Milk Chocolate with Puffed Grains,
and they were really tasty. I haven’t tried their various dark
chocolate products yet, though I plan to. (One point against this
company’s chocolates: I don’t love that they put 3 small, individually
wrapped bars inside of the larger package. Though the smaller serving
sizes are good for portion control and for keeping the unopened
chocolate fresh, using that extra wrapping material seems a bit
wasteful.)

You can find many or all of these chocolates at most Whole Foods
stores and other natural foods stores. There are a number of other
companies that make organic chocolate and/or fair trade chocolate (e.g.,
Dagoba, Theo, Taza,Divine, and Green & Black’s — to name just a few). I haven’t gotten around to trying all of them yet, but I surely will in the near future…

P.S. Fine chocolate makes a great last-minute gift for any chocolate lovers you know! For other gift ideas, see my recent post on Green Gifts.

What’s your favorite kind of organic or “ethical” chocolate?


Miriam Landman
is an accomplished writer, editor, and sustainability advisor with
expertise in green living, green building, and sustainable communities.
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