Chocolates have been a traditional Valentine’s Day treat for over a hundred years. In 1861, the English candy company, Cadbury, was the first to package their chocolates in a heart-shaped box for Valentine’s Day. Today, Gourmet magazine says that $1 billion is spent on chocolate for this romantic holiday; unfortunately, these delicious treats have a dark side.
Traditional chocolates can be bad for you and others. Mother Earth News says that most of the traditional chocolates that you buy in stores may contain high levels of saturated fat, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and food coloring that may harm your health. The International Labor Rights Forum reports that 40 percent of the world’s cocoa comes from Africa’s Ivory Coast where over 100,000 of the workers are exploited children.
If you are considering giving your sweetheart chocolate for Valentine’s Day why not give eco-friendly, fair trade, or organic brands a try. Fair trade chocolate promotes fair compensation to the farmers and workers who made the product. Organic chocolate is often made from cocoa that is grown using sustainable farming methods. These chocolates are also banned from using artificial colors or flavors. This makes the chocolate healthier for the farmers, the environment, and the consumer.
Are you in the mood for some guilt free chocolate?
Here are some brands that may satisfy your ethical sweet tooth:
- Dagoba Organic Chocolate. Since 2001 this company has created fair trade chocolate bars, hot chocolate, and baking chocolate. They’ve also partnered with Upala Cacao Cooperative in Costa Rica to help with forest restoration.
- Endangered Species Chocolate. They use cocoa that is 100 percent ethically traded. They have many options like chocolate bars, chocolate covered fruits and nuts, as well as vegan options.
- CocoaVino. Their chocolate bonbons and truffles are certified as both fair trade and organic. Their kitchens and their offices are also powered by wind energy.
- Pacari Chocolate. They offer organic and fair trade chocolate made in Ecuador. Their products include their raw chocolate and flavored chocolates like blueberry.
- Theo Chocolate. This company produces organic and fair trade chocolate in Seattle. Their products include chocolate caramels and hot chocolate powder with chipotles.