World Chocolate Day
Tuesday, 7 July 2020 | Joanna
My Mum - who's partial to a couple of squares of dark chocolate of an evening - swears chocolate is good for you. There is some evidence that dark chocolate has a positive effect on the brain, heart and circulation. It can help prevent depression, strokes memory loss and diabetes. And perhaps most importantly it tastes good, so it can lift your mood and cheer you up.
Chocolate originates in central America and was used by Olmec, Mayan and Aztec civilisations with chilli and other spices but without sugar as a drink. This is the form it took for many years after the Spanish conquistadors brought it to Europe. Adding sugar was a game changer and hot chocolate drinks became increasingly popular.
The oldest recipe for a bar of solid chocolate was found in Coney Street,York - just a few metres away from the Spurriergate Centre where we have a regular stall. The Quaker chocolatiers of York bore all the hallmarks of a fair trade campaign - led by women like Mary Tuke and Mary Ann Craven, they were doubly discriminated against by the guilds which controlled commerce in the city - first as non-conformists and second as women. But they persevered and grew into dynasties. The Victorian and Edwardian chocolate factories of York were renowned as benevolent employers, paying well, building good housing and providing education and healthcare for workers and their families.
At the same time European colonialism was in full flow, and plantations of cocoa started to spring up in West Africa. Empire was all about getting maximum profit for Europeans off the backs of the labour of people in far away countries. Growing cocoa is hard work, and the prices we in the global North are used to paying for chocolate mean the average cocoa farmer in Cote d'Ivoire earns as little as 74p a day.
So Fairtrade is vitally important to cocoa farmers. It gives a guaranteed minimum price and 10% on top as a Fairtrade premium which is invested in community projects like schools, healthcare, training and better equipment. Some of the Fairtrade premium is being spent tackling the coronavirus with an emphasis on increasing access to clean water, soap, hand sanitiser and social distancing training. For more information about how Fairtrade helps farmers the Fairtrade Foundation has put together this handy list.
At All's Fair we have chosen to stock some of our favourite chocolate brands. Divine and Traidcraft are two of the pioneers of Fairtrade chocolate. Their unstinting desire to put power back in the hands of the incredible people who grow cocoa and sugar is second to none.
Seed & Bean is renowned for quality, flavour and care for people and planet. All Seed & Bean chocolate is both Fairtrade and organic and the interesting flavours make it a really distinctive Fairtrade chocolate brand.
Tony's chocolonely is a relative newcomer to the UK Fairtrade chocolate market. Their mission is to tackle slavery in the chocolate industry by educating consumers about the benefits of Fairtrade. Their bars - which at 180g are double the size of our other bars - are designed so that you have to work harder to divide them fairly, just like chocolate companies have to make a conscious effort to make sure the profits from their chocolate are spread equitably between farmers and workers throughout the supply chain.
So this World Chocolate Day 7 July you can make a conscious decision to choose Fairtrade chocolate and support farmers all around the world, knowing that not only is it good for you, it's good for them!