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fair trade
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blue_bear_666
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April 17, 2005 - 7:40 am
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Does anyone know the major fine chocolate producers positions on fair trade ? I realise that they charge a premium price but (in general) they provide very little information as to their trading policies - I am interested especially in Valrhona, Callebaut, Chocovic, Domori, Amedei, I'artisan du Chocolat and Marcolini. [?]

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Hans-Peter Rot
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April 22, 2005 - 6:07 am
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I do not know the exact statistics, but I have realized a pattern and correlation with fair trade and the countries from where the cacao is sourced. As you may already know, most cacao is sourced from countries fraught with political strife, disease, famine, and poverty, which are all features that compound the detrimental effects of each other. For example, poverty results in food insecurity, which in turn causes starvation and famine. Starvation weakens the immune system and individuals die from diseases that are easily cured, such as measles and malaria. Indeed, a vicious circle. Such countries are Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Cameroon. However, most cacao deemed fair trade comes from the Caribbean nations and parts of South America. Now, a lot of these nations have had their fair share of problems in the past, but their levels of disease, famine, poverty, etc. are nowhere near those of African countries and even Madagascar. For example, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics published a report of the 50 most impoverished and malnourished nations with corresponding percentile rankings (I attend an agricultural university). Here are some statistics, and although I don't know how they relate to cacao, I'm pretty sure that cacao growers aren't being treated fairly:

Percentage of entire population impoverished/malnourished:

Nigeria: 39%
Niger: 39%
Tanzania: 43%
Madagascar: 51%

Now look at the Caribbean:

Domincan Republic: 11%
Trinidad: 4%

The other Caribbean nations don't even register, which implies that the greatest trouble with fair trade and slave labor lies in the African nations. Another interesting point: Although Ivory Coast is known for slave labor, it ranks only 20th in terms of poverty and malnourishment. And out of all the cacao-producing nations, who has the worst rankings? Madagascar.

So, if I were extremely conscious about fair trade and where my chocolate comes from, I would feel much safer eating a Caribbean chocolate than an African one. But again, I am not certain how this corresponds to cacao, but since cacao is a fairly lucrative business in these countries, assumptions can certainly be made.

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Polarbear
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April 22, 2005 - 7:21 am
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Very interesting, Monte!

Generally, I think manufacturer is more important than country, however. These are the chocs I know - or think I know - are fair trade:
Amedei Chuao - Venezuela
Chocolate Society/Claus Meyer - Madagascar
Grenada - Grenada (obviously![:o)])
Pronatec - Dominican Republic
Domori - everything(?)
Green&Blacks Maya Gold - Belize (but there were some rumours on the forum that other G&B's were neither very fair or organice any more)

Corrections are welcome...

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
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chocolatero
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April 22, 2005 - 8:35 am
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It is a very interesting topic and even we find it hard to get information
from our suppliers. From talking to Opera, which is one of our main suppliers, they tend to work with the same people over the long term (i.e. not blend) so they have to usually compensate them better and when they like a harvest, buy the whole lot in 1 go so that the farmers don;t ahve to split and bargain with other manufacturers. They also work in the long term to ensure that the beans are properly fermented etc. So chocolate that is not blended is by nature more fair.
We are constantly looking out for local manufacturers like grenada choc company. In fact we are getting some from Madagascar, let's hope the quality is good. that is for me the ultimate and less gimmicky fair trade
I thought divine was also fair trade
Also galler in belgium has launched a fair trade choco
As far as I know choc society is organic but not fair trade, unless it is another one.
I think apart from G&B, the other ones are fairer trade... whether they are fair, hard to say...

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Masur
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April 22, 2005 - 9:44 am
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A few other fair trade companies:
Divine Chocolate from the Day Chocolate Company (Britain)
Gepa brand produced by Ludwig Weinrich (Germany)
You can also buy Fair Trade chocolate from Bolivia. In Sweden they sell a brand called Mascao..

Domoris Chacao for sure is fair trade and all beans from Hacienda San José also could be called fair trade. French companies like Bonnat, Michel Cluizel, Pralus and Valrhona also care about long term relations with plantations.
Companies like Amedei and Domori are afraid that image and status might be affected if they call their best chocolate organic or fair trade. Nobody want's to be first because they are concerned about the world market reaction.

The cocoa industry has traditionally been government controlled in many cocoa producing countries like Grenada. Times are changing but I think this still could be a problem in some countries.
Another problem is what is guaranteed with fair trade labeling. That is far from what we are told by Fair Trade organizations. Minimum prices are guaranteed and no slaves have been used but not much more can be guaranteed. Is it the landowner or the worker who gets the extra money?

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
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Hans-Peter Rot
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April 22, 2005 - 4:27 pm
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This is a very tricky and touchy subject, and I do support fair trade in a very big way. Although Domori, Amedei, Cluizel, etc. do not openly claim their chocolate is fair trade, we (the chocolate connoisseurs) know by virtue of their claims of, "we work directly with farmers and compensate...," that their chocolate is indeed fair trade. In a way, the fair trade association exists, but it's merely implied rather than openly stated. And again, I think this is due mainly to the "snob appeal."

However, I was just noting that the most-oft cited fair trade cacao is predominatly grown in countries which are not as impoverished, etc. as others. For example, as I pointed out and as many of you have provided further fair trade countries, many are Caribbean nations while many African nations are left out. I wish I could explain this, and I'm sure many factors have to be considered. And all this alludes to my question of, "Why are mainly Caribbean nations being singled out as fair trade, and not other nations, such as Tanzania, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, etc.?" Factors such as 1) consumer cacao preference; 2) consumer base; 3) ease of establishing relations; 4) political situation; 5) health, etc., etc., etc. all have to be considered, of course.

I also note that many of these African nations are stricken with disease and famine, which certainly do not appear as picture-perfect as the tropical environments of Honduras, Dominican Republic, or Trinidad.

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blue_bear_666
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April 22, 2005 - 4:55 pm
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Thanks for the information folks, this is extremely helpful. I have heard aout the new fair trade from madagascar so am looking forward to trying it - has anyone else tasted it as yet ?

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Hans-Peter Rot
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April 22, 2005 - 5:09 pm
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I thought Divine was produced by a German company, or that Divine is German.

Dagoba, a US chocolate brand, is organic and they have fair trade chocolate as well. Their new line of single origin bars (sourced from Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Peru, and Ecuador) is fair trade.

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Masur
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April 22, 2005 - 6:54 pm
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The Day Chocolate Company (Divine Chocolate) is a unique partnership between small-scale cocoa farmers in Ghana and organisations in the UK that support fair trade. They cocoa beans are processed by Ludwig Weinrich in Germany.
[url]http://www.divinechocolate.com/who.htm[/url]

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
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Hans-Peter Rot
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April 22, 2005 - 11:09 pm
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Oh okay, I remember trying their chocolate before, but I wasn't too impressed. The local natural food store has their dark, milk, and white bars with some other organic chocolate, such as Rapunzel, Tropical Source, Endangered Species, and Equal Exchange, all of which I heard isn't that bad. I've been meaning to give them a spin but haven't gotten around to it.

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alex_h
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April 23, 2005 - 2:21 pm
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bear, do u mean malagasy chocolate? i think martin should know more about that.
monte, funny that u get rapunzel but no vivani.

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Hans-Peter Rot
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April 23, 2005 - 8:55 pm
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Check this out:

http://www.ife.co.uk/page.cfm/.....sID=68/t=m

And this (different date with some additional information):

http://www.ife.co.uk/page.cfm/.....sID=62/t=m

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Hans-Peter Rot
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April 23, 2005 - 9:11 pm
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Yeah, it is quite strange, alex, but I recently did some research and found an American importer of Vivani. Apparently, it is available in the US, but its distribution is fairly limited as far as I can tell.

Btw, the links above are directed to two articles regarding Malagasy. Their official web-site is:

http://www.malagasy.co.uk

Only the intro page is up, but it's nicely done.

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blue_bear_666
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April 24, 2005 - 7:42 pm
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yes. just got hold of malagasy bar samples - there are two - one is quite good (Mora Mora) for what will be an 'everyday price' or so I believe, not sure about the other yet - will have to try again.

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chocolatero
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April 25, 2005 - 9:51 am
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Funny madagasy contacted us recently
and i just received the samples. Not bad for fair trade.
Mora Mora was OK, Sambirano for me tasted mouldy/or very very earthy
Anyone tried?
We were in dusseldorf for the weekend for the biggest chocolate equipmenttrade fair in the world. From roasters and conche to tempering, one shot machines, the whole lot. God, we could spend millions there!
Saw one interesting machine, combined conche and post refiner to produce chocolate, not from beans yet, but from cocoa liquor.
from very small batches of 300kg....
so one step closer to make from beans but not fully and at a much smaller investement. They had some choc there made on this from liquor
and it was very smooth... Can't buy it this year though but very interesting,should encourage more small artisan chocolatiers to make
from liquor at least. *liquor is after roasting and refining but before conching for those unfamiliar with industry jargon...
Price around 100 000 Euros...
chocolatero

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ellie
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April 25, 2005 - 1:13 pm
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Oh, must've been exciting and exhausting... The artisian chocolatiers production could be so much more individual, if one to start with a liquor, couldn't it? would you have more control over end result, or a bit more frustration? Is the liquor easily obtainable?

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Hans-Peter Rot
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April 25, 2005 - 3:30 pm
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I've tried the Malagasy Sambirano. It's very atypical for a Madagascar, imo, i.e. it's very robust and noncomplex. Itstead of being light and sharp, it's robust and earthy, with flavors of sweet spice, cocoa, and a mere accent of cranberries. The length is too short, but it's still not a bad chocolate, though. On its own it's very good, but comparatively speaking, it falls short. It does, however, have an overall satisfying intensity and flavor. Maybe too many Forasteros in this bar, though.

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chocolatero
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April 25, 2005 - 5:48 pm
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I am not sure. Technology is changing fast so may be the machines
will create the market. I am trying to find out.
Because really there is no point to make from liquor if you can only buy the liquor from Callebaut! you'd end up with worse choc than if you bought couverture from a better supplier.
I should know more in the next few weeks/months
Chocolatero

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blue_bear_666
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April 25, 2005 - 8:53 pm
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chocolatero, do you have a uniformly bad opinion of all callebaut couvetures, including the single origin ?

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Nemeria
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May 3, 2005 - 9:58 pm
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Endangered Species is good. I have an 88% bar in my desk drawer. The website gives more info on where they get there beans, etc...

http://www.chocolatebar.com

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