CHOCOLATE WITH A CONSCIENCE
Amelia Rope Chocolate has just been named by the London Evening Standard as one of the best for people who care about where their favourite foodstuff comes from. See here:
Colombia is where the best chocolate grows – it’s official (see below). And it’s had enough of being associated with another famous crop. If they can pull it off, that has to be fantastic news all round.
So the Colombian government is encouraging cocaine farmers to switch, adding incentives on top of the appeal of keeping their families safer – and I’m doing all I can to support this brilliant initiative (with the added bonus of making my chocolate even better).
The company I buy from runs a training school to teach chocolate farmers about sustainability and quality. It also shows new farmers, switching from cocaine, the basics – which are quite different from the crop they’re used to. They also run a school for the cocoa farmers’ families, many of whom I met – and I still cherish the memory of all those blue beakers ready to be with hot chocolate as fresh as it comes. And yes, I have pics. Lots of them.
THE BEST YOU CAN BUY
When I say it’s the best chocolate, it’s not just my (admittedly rather special) taste buds that are judging. While over 90% of the world’s crop comes from Africa, it’s pretty much universally recognised that the best stuff comes from Central and South America, with Colombia right up there with the best.
The trial plantation I visited is near the border with Panama, and it’s there you’ll find the people we’re supporting, seeking the most robust plants with good crop yield and good disease resistance.
Because I believe so much in the country, I insist that my chocolate is made entirely within Colombia using local vanilla, sugar and soya as well as cocoa - maximising revenue for a developing country that’s trying its best to cast of the shadow of cocaine.
It deserves all our support – and cleverly helps its own cause by being completely, uniquely, irresistibly delicious.