It’s Fairtrade Fortnight and the nice people at the Fairtrade Foundation were good enough to send some samples of Fairtrade chocolate that we hadn’t seen before, so look out for more over the next couple of weeks.
Jme, if you weren’t aware (I wasn’t) is part of Jamie Oliver’s ever growing empire, although thankfully the packaging doesn’t have the words “Jamie” or “Oliver” on it anywhere.
We were sent a 100g carton of mini chocolate eggs and two milk chocolate bars.
All the packaging here is quite cute. It’s simple but eye-catching, although in the case of the eggs, the red-on-blue writing makes the ingredients list almost impossible to read. I did manage to work out that the milk chocolate is a healthy 37% cocoa solids, it’s certified organic, and 78% of the ingredients by weight meet Fairtrade standards.
The actual eggs are nice enough, but a little uninspiring. They’re simply solid milk chocolate. It’s a very passable milk chocolate, but it’s by no means the greatest I’ve ever tasted.
Next up, the two milk chocolate bars.
I’m not convinced by the names; “Smooth Operator” and “Hello Sailor” are obviously inspired by the Jamie Oliver vernacular, but I’m not convinced it’s necessary. The packaging itself, however is quite nice (aside from the cheap cellophane wrapping inside).
But the chocolate here is a bit different. Both bars are made with a whopping 56% cocoa solids milk chocolate. To put that into context, that’s almost three times as much as that other well known Fairtrade milk chocolate, Cadbury Dairy Milk.
The only difference between the two bars is that the ‘Hello Sailor’ bar contains a hint of sea salt to help bring out the flavour.
And it really works too. While both bars are pleasant, the salted bar is really quite moreish. It’s a rich and creamy milk chocolate that’s never too sweet and all too easy to eat in one go. I really quite enjoyed it.
That said, there is one negative for me. I have no idea where the cocoa beans in any of this chocolate came from, or who made it for Jamie Oliver. If I’m buying a product certified as Fairtrade, I’d like to know who manufactured it and exactly where the producers who got a fair price are.
Traceability is a real problem in the chocolate industry at the moment, and I’d really like to see the Fairtrade Foundation insisting this kind of information is printed on all packaging as part of the certification process.
But aside from that niggle, I’m fairly impressed with this chocolate – particularly the bars. At £2 for a 60g bar, it might be more than you’re used to paying for your everyday milk chocolate, but I do think it represents value for money.
Our friend Sarah Payne of Cocoa Loco tells us that they make the mini eggs:
“We make the mini eggs in the Jme fairtrade chocolate range, you asked about the origin of the beans, so just to let you know they are single origin beans grown in the Dominican Republic by a Co-operative of Cocoa Farmers called Conacado, if you want to find out more about the cocoa their website is www.conacado.com.do.”
Stephen at Seed & Bean tells us they make the bars, also using beans from Concado.