Cheap Easter chocolate often comes at a price, but do you know what that price really is? In the Ivory Coast children are being sold into slavery or kidnapped to work on cocoa plantations because of our insatiable desire for cheap sweet stuff. While it may be more costly, choosing child slave labour free chocolate helps farmers, children and if often tastier too.
How can you be sure to choose ethically this Easter without becoming an expert? Well luckily there are several chocolate brands making their own chocolate from the bean using ethically sourced cocoa - and they are readily accessible.
Image Credit: Green and Blacks
Green and Blacks is probably one of my two main go-to brands of chocolate in the supermarket along with Divine. While they did not release anything new to the market for this year, they do have eggs and they source their chocolate from the Dominican Republic, an area free of child slave labour. Not only do they source this chocolate ethically and at a fair price, they also reinvest in the area, helping farmers raise the next generation of cocoa trees, improving fermentation facilities and building educational facilities. Green and Blacks have several eggs available including a Tasting Collection egg which has miniatures of their bars as well as an egg. Despite the take-over by Cadbury's and then my Kraft who hived it off into Mondelez, Green and Blacks remains true to its founders principles.
Another ethical chocolate company making their chocolate from bean to bar is Divine. This is probably the most ethical of all companies as the company not only buys its beans from a Ghanaian co-operative, but is also 45% owned by the farmers themselves. So they benefit by getting paid fairly and immediately for their beans (unlike too many other farmers), by getting their beans weighed fairly (which doesn't always happen), by getting training and information, and by being part owners of the company. Divine is probably the most ethical chocolate on the market this Easter and it is available not only in supermarkets but also Liberty London and other upscale shops. There is no more ethical way to help cocoa farmers make a decent living than to buy Divine chocolate.
One surprise bean to bar chocolate maker, buying beans from Costa Rica, Ghana and elsewhere - but not the Ivory Coast - is Godiva who turned 90 this year. It is a little known fact that Godiva make their own chocolate from the bean to use in their chocolate eggs, truffles and everything else. Chef Jean created a beautiful limited edition egg from their ethically sourced beans (as in, they are child slave labour free beans), designing a beautiful lacy egg for this Easter in one of the only ethical chocolate makers to produce something really new for 2016. He also created a brand new filled chocolate for the core Godiva collection reflective of this spring time - it is a dark chocolate square with rounded corners hiding a half rose, half raspberry ganache. I wanted to hate it but I loved it. Chef Jean also explained that none of their chocolates contain preservatives and instead of alcohol they control the moisture levels. For those sensitive to chemicals in chocolate looking for an alternative, or those who wish to ensure their chocolate is free of child slave labour, Godiva is an excellent option.
Image Credit: Hotel Chocolat
Last but not least, I'm a huge fan of the work Angus is doing with Hotel Chocolat and I hope the recent round of funding enables him to do more. His Rabot 1745 chocolate is absolutely Ivory Coast chocolate free and is an excellent, high quality chocolate. He pays farmers direct, as well as growing his own, and is working on being more than fair. The chocolate is ethical, delicious, high quality and I buy it for myself often. This egg pairs different origin dark chocolate with filled chocolates so is really only for the dark chocolate lover. Please do note that some Hotel Chocolat chocolate in other products is sourced from the Ivory Coast but I hope from farms with no child slave labour.
Easter is a time for children young and old and it is really easy (but not cheap) to vote with your wallet against child slave labour. This Easter please choose a company who cares enough to make their own chocolate from quality, child slave labour free beans.