[keen to be green] Keeping Chocolate Sweet

Meyer McArthur

There are very few things I love more than chocolate, so when we visited Seattle’s Theo Chocolate factory last month, I was in heaven.

Theo Chocolate specializes in organic, fair trade chocolate. As it also has the same name as our son and was founded in the year he was born, we were excited to visit this righteous company.

We took a factory tour with a wonderful guide who explained to us the entire bean-to-bar process of chocolate making, Theo Chocolate’s production techniques and the principles upon which it was founded.

It is important that the ingredients are all organic, but much more critical to the company—and unusual for any chocolate maker—is that it only sources its chocolate from Fair Trade growers in Peru, Panama and the Congo.

To gain this designation from the Switzerland-based Institute for Marketecology, growers must prove that they are treating their workers fairly and paying them decently for their labor.

Sadly, many growers employ slave labor—including children—to harvest their cacao, which seems particularly tragic in the case of chocolate making. These children never taste the final product.

I loved my chocolate factory tour, but it changed the way I approach chocolate. I can’t just buy a chocolate bar anymore.

Even though I still believe chocolate is the most wonderfully luxurious foods available to humans, unless I know that it was produced without causing pain and hardship to others, I can no longer find it sweet.


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