I was looking forward to trying this single estate, Equitrade chocolate bar. It’s made by a family on Madagascar from the three ‘classic’ varieties of bean – Criollo, Trinitario and Forastero – and is harvested, fermented and made into chocolate exclusively on the island of Madagascar. It’s sold as a ‘Grand Cru’ and each bar is made from beans harvested in one season only.
It’s not cheap at all, by the way. This stuff comes at a premium price and the company that distribute it also produce another bar, couverture chocolate for caterers, spices, teas and coffees, all of which are Madagascan in origin. The whole company ethos is based on equitable trade, and much of the profits from sales goes straight back to the producers, so when you’re eating this chocolate you can feel good about where your money’s going as well.
The chocolate itself is a dark, 75% cocoa blend with superb woody, citrus tastes and a wonderfully soft mouthfeel. As it melts away, the citrus notes are amplified, and the finish is a slightly spicy, almost coffee-like flavour with dark, strong cocoa undercurrents. In short, it tastes fab.
As previously stated, the fact that this chocolate is made on the basis of equitable trade means that the people who made this get a fair chunk of the proceeds and as we are becoming more aware, cheap food comes at a price – usually to the producer. I have no objections to paying higher prices for top quality products, provided my money is going to the right people – i.e. the farmers and workers who produced the stuff in the first place.
This bar (and it’s sister, the Mora Mora bar) are readily available in Sainsbury’s here in the UK. If you’re looking for a treat for a special treat and want to be part of the whole fairtrade revolution, then I recommend this on both fronts.