I've actually been aware of the problem of child slave labor and cocoa for quite a few years now, and as I'm a huge chocolate lover I've had a lot of experiences trying out fair trade chocolate brands. So, today I'm sharing my top picks of these brands for those not as well versed in the world of fair trade chocolate. Some of these can be ordered online directly from the manufacturer, whereas others are readily available at nationwide grocery brands. I hope that you'll consider trying some of these brands in lieu of mainstream brands that are not ethically produced, or seeking out other fair trade brands--there are so many companies out there producing fair trade chocolate, you're bound to find something to your taste!
Best Milk and Best Specialty Flavors: Theo Organic
Theo's chocolate bars are super smooth and creamy, but still have a snappy texture as opposed to the soft or chalky texture of many lesser-quality bars. They also have the perfect amount of sweetness and an excellent roundness of flavor. Plain varieties are available in 45% milk, 70% dark, and 85% dark, and many more adventurous flavors are available as well. I especially love their milk chocolate bars and their dark chocolate bars with salted almonds--the latter is somewhat addictive! Theo Organic bars are available at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide and online at Theo's website--shipping varies with the amount of chocolate you're ordering.
Best Dark: Equal Exchange Organic
Equal Exchange is a company that also produces coffee and tea, and their dark chocolate bars come in wider variety of cacao intensities than any other brand I've seen. This is great for those who like lower intensities of cacao, since most fair trade brands start around 70% while Equal Exchange starts at 65% in plain and 55% in flavored. The one drawback to the Equal Exchange brand in my opinion is that they only offer milk chocolate with a hint of hazelnut, rather than just plain, but others may like the added flavor. Equal Exchange products are available at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide and online at their website. Shipping is a very reasonable flat rate of $7.95 per order during cool weather months.
Bargain Bar: Whole Foods Market
If you're on a really tight budget, the prices of some fair trade/organic chocolate bars can be a little off-putting. Luckily, Whole Foods makes an in-house brand of chocolate bars that is very reasonably priced--usually at least a dollar or so cheaper than fair trade name brands--but still produced ethically. They're not the greatest quality, but will do in a pinch. They're available exclusively at Whole Foods Market stores.
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