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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Eating Chocolate Bon Bons ... A Guilty Pleasure, But at What Price?


 

 
(Norman Love Confection - left)

"What do you think I do ... sit home and eat Bon Bons all day?"  That's the retorted question often flying off the lips of stay-at-home Moms aka "family managers" and home-based business owners when a jealous nine-to-fiver question their time.  

Well, if you can afford to eat Bon Bons all day long, you'd want the gourmet kind made from natural and fresh products like real cream, butter and fruit.   

What?  You know I have to get in my chocolate lovers' text- webisode early.  Last year, we went the edible chocolate fashions and accessories route ... remember?  This year, our chocolate feature comes with a purpose ... chocolate enlightenment.  

Kiki here ... Miracles and Blessings, how are you holding up with the Winter chill and snow blast?  Hang in there!  I can't believe January's almost over.  Get ready ... Valentine's Day is just a smooch away.  I was flipping through a Consumers Digest Magazine the other day, and couldn't turn the page. 



My eyes refused to move past this unique display of chocolates that look like something you'd see in a modern art gallery.   Norman Love Confections won the top slot in Consumers Digest Weekly Chocolate Confection Test. 

 (Kraftmaid)

 That's what inspired me to offer chocolate-making classes today in both kitchens.  Fantastic idea!  iCafe Woman Moderne regulars flocked to it like pennies to a magnet .. all shiny and new ... ready to taste, see and proclaim themselves Queen Chocolatiers.  Needless to say, I'm on my own for the moment, until I'm called for some important taste-tasting.  Like they'll have to call me twice.  You can't mess up chocolate ... can you? 

I'm so glad you enjoyed my niece and the rest of the young divas in the "All About the Prom Dress" and "All About the Vintage Evening Bags" text-webisodes."  A little birdie told me, they had a blast.  They'll be back for more prom-planning text-webisodes ... so stay tuned Sophmores, Juniors and Seniors. 

It's not difficult to understand why Norman Love Confection ranked number one in the Consumers Digest Chocolate Confection Test.  Talk about innovative, they create their fine chocolates like art pieces in eye-catching colors, shapes and abstract designs found nowhere else.  They make unique chocolate gifts.

Their claim to fame ... intense chocolate flavor, the use of real cream, butter and exotic purees like passion fruit, key lime and even peanut butter and jelly.  Many of the concoctions are taken from our favorite food and drinks, like the peaches and cream white chocolate (top left) - peaches drenched in heavy cream and coated in white chocolate - caramel apple (below it), peanut butter caramel ganache and fresh tart apples covered in a white chocolate shell. 

Norman Love's new collection BLACK, are fine dark origin chocolates from the premium growing regions where the cocoa beans originate.
Madagascar  - trinitario cocoa beans
"Created with cocoa beans of the trinitario variety from Sambirano, Madagascar, an island off the southeast coast of Africa, this fruity chocolate has a roasted hazelnut aroma and wild berry notes with subtle hint of clove and cedar."

As I revel in these sweet creations, I remember my first visit to Ten Thousand Villages shortly before Christmas, where I first heard about fair trade chocolates, which they only sell.  

Fair Trade Chocolate Brands

As I wandered the shop munching on a brownie made from Organic Fair Trade Chocolate, I came across a running video that gave me an upclose and disturbing picture of the impoverished laborers used to harvest the cocoa beans mostly grown and imported from Africa, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Venzuela...  This report focused on Africa.


I checked Norman Love's website, and there was nothing mentioned about Fair Trade practices, but that doesn't mean they're not involved.  When in doubt ... ask.  Find out where your favorite chocolate company gets their chocolate and what are the labor conditions and trade practices.  If you can't get answers directly from the company, then put on your detective's hat and hit the Search Engine trail.


 (Cranberry & Almond Nut Clusters)

Fair Trade Chocolates

Endangered Species Chocolate, Savor Chocolate, Savor Our Planet ... tells you right away who they are and what they believe.  


Endangered Species Wolf, Dark (72%) with Cranberries & Almonds, 10-Count Individually Wrapped Pieces (Pack of 6)

Endangered Species Wolf, Dark (72%) with Cranberries & Almonds, 10-Count Individually Wrapped Pieces (Pack of 6)

Endangered Species Chocolate believes in conservation, using sustainable products, giving back to the community and participation in Fair Trade practices:  ethically traded cacao farms ensuring fair trade, responsible labor practices and sustainable farming.  Also ten percent of all sales go to conservation efforts. 


      
THE DELECTABLE DARK COLLECTION
Everything tastes better covered in chocolate! Feast on an assortment of dark chocolate drenched almonds, cashews, pretzels, and more. Plenty of chocolate bars tucked in to conquer cravings only a solid bar of chocolate can satisfy!
 



Who They Are in Their Own Words:

Ethical Trade Standard

The ingredients we choose represent our commitment to species, habitat and humanity.  Cacao used to create our All-Natural and Organic Chocolate products is grown by farm cooperatives that foster responsible labor practices, community enrichment and sustainable farming.  Our ethical trade criteria ensure fair wages for cacao farmers.  No slave labor is used in the growing and harvesting of cacao used in our chocolate. Learn more. 

 Supporting Farmers

Cacao used to create our All-Natural and Organic Chocolate products is grown on farm cooperatives that foster responsible labor practices, community enrichment and sustainable farming.  Our ethical trade criteria ensure fair wages for cacao farmers.  No slave labor is used in the growing and harvesting of cacao used in our chocolate. 

 Supporting Forests

We only buy cacao grown in the natural shade of rich, biodiverse forests.  Choosing our ethically traded chocolate is one way you can help support sustainable forest farmland and the species that flourish there.

Today, there are more companies selling Fair Trade, Organic Chocolate, so you can indulge your chocolate craving at no one's expense.

(16-piece assorted Truffles)

Vintage Plantations
An independent company that supports the small chocolate industry in countries where the chocolate originates by re-designing the cocoa commodity chain by helping farmers adopt better farm management practices, protect the environment, ensure crops are free of harmful chemicals and maximize their income in order to encourage the farmers' optimal re-investment in the development of high-quality chocolate.

(Nine Piece Chocolate Hearts)

Theo Chocolate

Make your wedding, birthday party or any special event even more special knowing that your favor was purchased through fair trade practices ensuring that cocoa bean farmers are paid with wages that will help their family and community thrive.

(Dark and White CHocolate Favor - above)
(Theo Casanova 12-piece Caramels below)



Where to find them:
  • Global Exchange carries a wide range of Fair Trade Certified products, including chocolate, coffee, tea, crafts, clothing, jewelry, and more.
  • TransFair USA maintains a list of national cafes, restaurants, and retailers carrying their Fair Trade Certified food products.
  • The Chocolate Room carries some organic and fair trade chocolate bars.
  • You can find Vintage Plantations fair trade chocolates at World Wide Chocolate online.
  • Ten Thousand Villages

















 













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