Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chocolate Kisses

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and I am in love with chocolate. Here are some interesting, perhaps unexpected options. Give them to a friend – give them to yourself. Enjoy!

Go Green Go Local
A number of stores sell organic chocolate (Dad’s Organic Market, Herbs ‘n’ Health Foodport). An excellent Canadian choice is Denman Island Chocolate from Steep Hill Co-operative.

It’s difficult to find a truly local chocolate bar as we can’t grow cocoa beans in Canada. Denman Island Chocolate is, however, manufactured in Canada.

Daniel and Ruth Terry moved to the Gulf Islands, British Columbia, in 1998. They turned to chocolate, “a shared love that dated back to their search for the perfect fuel while bicycle touring in northern France.”

The company practises environmentally sustainable practises – from using recycled wrapping paper to wrapping the chocolate melter in a cocoa cozy. They donate 1% of their gross income to local environmental conservation groups.

You have lots of flavour choices – from a fruity Razzle Dazzle bar with freeze-dried raspberries to Holy Molé, which I’ve been told packs a lot of heat from the chipotle pepper. The chocolate is made in Europe, and all the ingredients are organic.

The website emphasizes what you will NOT find in their chocolate bars – no waxes, salts, preservatives, artificial ingredients, and less sugar.

Go Global Choose Free Trade
Ten Thousand Villages has an expanding collection of international food products. I picked up a Divine chocolate bar, which describes itself as “Heavenly Chocolate with a heart.” I’m not usually a fan of white chocolate as it tends to be poor quality, but the Divine white chocolate with crispy bits of freeze-dried strawberries is truly excellent. I will definitely be going back to try out the other flavours.

According to Ten Thousand Villages, chocolate is big business with over 14 million people directly involved in the production of 3.6 million tonnes of cocoa. Prices fluctuate wildly, and it’s hard for individual farmers to make a living as they lack the bargaining power to negotiate fair prices.

In 1998, a British fair trade company and a Ghanaian cocoa cooperative came together to form the Divine Chocolate Company. Divine is now a leading fair trade brand in the UK competing successfully with mainstream brands. The cooperative has over 40,000 members organized in approximately 1,300 village societies, and they own 45% of the shares in Divine.

Go Geeks Techie Special
Not only do iChoc chocolate bars have a name and a shape very similar to the iPhone, the whole business is run from an iPhone app!

According to Discover magazine, the iPhone turns the mixers and grinders on and off, and every part of the operation is videotaped and streamed live to the internet.

The chocolate bars are available at Dad’s Organic Market and Steep Hill Co-op. The chocolate is organic and flavours include Go Go Mango and Chillout Caramel.

Alternatively, you can download the iChoc app and eat piles of virtual chocolate without gaining an ounce.

Go Crave
Valentine’s Day arrived a week early when I received a special delivery of Crave Cookies and Cupcakes Valentine specials. What a treat!

The kirsch and sour cherries really enhance the chocolate in the chocolate cherry cupcakes, and there’s a decadent swirl of chocolate ganache icing on top. And don’t miss the chocolate tarts filled with gooey caramel goodness.

Plus there are heart-shaped cookies (custom message) and assortments of cupcakes in pink, white and chocolate topped with tiny heart-shaped candies.

Go Chocolate
Wishing you all a Valentine’s Day rich in chocolate and laughter. Have fun!

No comments: