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*This is a collaborative post*
Chocolate is one of my favourite things, like ever. But I’ve never really thought about where it comes from, with Valentine’s Day approaching quickly, followed shortly by Easter, I thought it would be a great time to share this. I previously shared a post all about Fair Trade Coffee and you all seemed to enjoy it. Let me know in the comments your favourite chocolate bar!
Research has suggested that each year, Britain consumes 660,900 tonnes of chocolate (and that’s just me alone, just joking), which calculates to 11kg per person — or three bars each week. This highlights just how popular chocolate is, but like me, if you’re curious as to where it comes from, all will now be revealed. The Fairtrade System currently works with more than 1.65 million farmers across 74 different countries around the world to bring us some of the most delicious treats known to man — one being chocolate. There is a lot to consider when it comes to determining what type of chocolate person you are; do you opt for magnificent milk chocolate or a delicious dark chocolate bar? I’m all about the milk chocolate myself, however, I am not opposed to white chocolate either, that stuff is amazing.
Where does chocolate start?
The creation of chocolate requires very specific environmental conditions with every bar that is produced — which makes Bolivia a great place for production. However, there are six million growers, farmers and processors across Africa, Asia and Latin America to meet the demands of the rest of the world.
Chocolate is the result of hard workers from one of the world’s poorest country; Bolivia. The nation has an estimated population of 10.89 million people and sits alongside Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, and Peru. The entire country has a history of cultivating cocoa, which started in the 1960s, but most growers tend to be from the Alto Beni region. Although many farmers grow cocoa, some have started to grow organic bananas, citrus fruits and vegetables, too.
It’s time for some chocolate-related trivia, who’s ready?
Giving you the answers to the chocolate-related questions, which you may or may not want the answers to, but, you never know when the knowledge might be needed. Pub quiz anyone?
What are the main differences between traditional and raw chocolate?
Raw chocolate usually contains fewer ingredients than traditional chocolate — such as cocoa powder, cocoa butter, coconut blossom sugar, and raw fruit or seeds. Traditional chocolate can contain milk, soya, sugars, sweeteners, soya, and a host of artificial flavourings and preservatives. While Traidcraft’s may not be raw chocolate, it’s kept its recipe as natural as possible — fair trade, organic, and free from GMOs, cheap emulsifiers, cheap oils, artificial colours or preservatives.
Not only that, did you know that cocoa beans that are used for raw chocolate are never heated above 42 degrees? In commercial chocolate, the cocoa beans are roasted at a temperature between 130 and 400 degrees. When drying cocoa beans for raw chocolate, some cocoa growers just leave their beans outdoors to dry naturally in the sunlight!
Have cocoa farmers ever tasted chocolate?
The majority of cocoa farmers have never tasted chocolate. Beans are shipped almost instantly as if chocolate was created in these typically warm countries, it would melt! Many cocoa farmers will have never tasted chocolate in their lives. In 2017, Traidcraft hosted Linda, a cocoa farmer from the co-operative Kuapa Kokoo (and who grows fair trade cocoa for the Divine Chocolate Company), and she reminded us that any chocolate left lying around in Ghana would just melt anyway!
This makes me sad to hear, although it makes sense, I wish they could experience the goodness of the product they spend hours growing.
What are the main differences between cocoa and cacao?
Cocoa and cacao are technically the same plants. Though the words cocoa and cacao are often used interchangeably, generally cocoa is the term used for cacao that’s been fermented, dried, and roasted at high temperatures. It’s then pressed until all the oils are separated and the solids that remain can be turned into a dry powder — cocoa powder. Cacao powder is made in a very similar way but at a far lower temperature.
Where is cocoa originally grown?
The Theobroma Cacao has been used throughout time for nutritional and medicinal benefits and is native to Central America. This scientific name for the tree actually translates as ‘food of the gods’. These trees produce pods which contain 20-40 cacao beans — and it’s these beans that eventually get turned into chocolate. Theobroma Cacao trees grow most successfully in a narrow band called the Cocoa Belt or the Chocolate Belt. This band extends up to 20 degrees north and south of the equator.
*This post is a paid guest-written post, however, I had full editorial rights over the post and made it my own.