One of the nicest parts of Christmas Day is surely waking up to find your Christmas stocking, which had been empty of Christmas Eve, magically full of little presents! Classic stocking fillers nowadays include ‘sacks’ of gold foil-covered chocolate coins, hidden treasure in the foot of the stocking.
Christmas is a time to think of others, hence the lasting power of Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol, in which the miser Scrooge is transformed through the visits of the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future and what they show him into a generous philanthropist. So, when it comes to Christmas chocolate, choosing chocolate with an ethical dimension is especially appropriate.
Divine is the only Fairtrade chocolate company which is co-owned by the cocoa farmers, in the form of Kuapa Kokoo, a co-operative of 65,000 cocoa farmers in Ghana who benefit from the arrangement economically not only from the sale of the beans but through a 45% share of distributable profits. This summer saw Divine bring out two new flavours in their 40g chocolate bar range which are the perfect size to slip into a Christmas stocking. The two flavours are nicely contrasted to appeal to different taste spectrums. Caramel Milk Chocolate, filled with soft caramel, for those with a sweeter tooth and 70% Dark Chocolate with Ginger and Orange, with a subtle ginger-orange spiciness to the flavour, studded with little flecks of orange.
Original Beans, founded by the conservationist Philip Kauffmann, have made a name for their high-quality, conservation-led chocolate, created by working with cacao-growing communities in countries around the world. With the mantra of ‘What we consume, we must conserve and replenish’, Original Beans replants a tree in the area of the cacao’s origin for every one of its 70g bars that are purchased. As well as environmental credentials, Original Bean’s flavour credentials are impressive, with chefs such as Richard Corrigan, Peter Gordon and Steve Parle among its users. The new boxed Original Beans mini bar gift set, showcasing chocolate from four different countries of origin – Congo, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador – each with a different and distinctive flavour profile makes a delectable Xmas treat for anyone interested in fine chocolate and conserving the world’s eco-system.
On the Caribbean island of Grenada, the Grenada Chocolate Company, founded by the charismatic Mott Green, who tragically died in an industrial accident earlier this year, pioneered the concept of cacao beans transformed into chocolate by the people who grow it in its country of origin. Historically, cocoa beans grown the tropics had always been bought and shipped and transformed into chocolate in countries far from its country of origin. Making chocolate in the tropics offers many challenges, partly because of the climate, but Mott together with the co-operative of Grenada organic cocoa farmers showed that it was possible and developed a loyal following for Grenada Chocolate Company’s chocolate, with Rococo the British chocolate company a hugely supportive partner in this process. In 2007, Rococo invested in an organic cocoa farm on Grenada with Grenada Chocolate Company. The Grenada Chocolate Company’s jauntily-packaged, cheekily named Nib-A-licious bar consists of 60% dark chocolate, with an appealing fruit flavour, studded with crispy cocoa nibs, adding an appealing texture. Rococo’s dainty 65% Organic Dark Bee Bar made from Rococo's house-blend, which includes chocolate from Grenada Chocolate Company, would be a delicious treat to discover in one’s stocking.