One of the things I love about selling craft chocolate is the amount of information and transparency offered by people in the industry. I always ask about the beans makers are using and more often than not I receive extensive information, data and footage from the farms. Curating our January subscription box was a classic example of this - I asked Kylie at Cuvée Chocolate for information about the beans in their Soleo bar, and rather than just the country of origin or cacao varietal, I received stories of the farmer (Lenard) and his family, the farming techniques used and the exact location of the farm. It was a similar story with the bars from Shirl & Moss and Juan Choconat - stories of the farmers and their family history, along with incredibly specific data about the cacao. And when I spoke to Alejandro at Revival Cacao to find out about the beans in the Miann Mexico bars, oh-my-lord what a wave of information and footage! An eleven page report detailing the stories of the farmers, how much they are paid, the genetic and flavour profile of the beans, fermentation data tables, you name it! And all of this alongside a huge selection of photos and video footage from the farms and fermentation facilities.
All of this might sound extremely geeky (it is) but the reason it matters so much to us is that transparency is the foundation of trust. If you buy industrial chocolate at the supermarket, or chocolate from chocolatiers using mass-produced couverture, you’d be lucky if you could even find the country of origin, never mind the name of the farmer and how much they got paid. Often industrial chocolate makers don’t even know this information themselves; they buy their cacao from brokers without asking too many questions about where the beans come from, because it’s easier to plead ignorance and wash their hands of responsibility for any wrongdoing.
Personally, I like to know where my food is coming from, which is why I choose to celebrate transparent, ethical trade. It’s such a joy to work with people who embrace this ethos, and to feel truly connected with my favourite treat. I hope I can help all of our customers to experience that same connection and trust.