January boxes – Direct trade

A sample box of direct trade bean to bar chocolates.

This month we were delighted to feature 4 chocolate makers who source their beans through direct trade.

Spencer Cocoa has a long-term relationship with a few farmers in Vanuatu, and Luke visits twice a year to purchase beans. He then brings the beans back to the workshop in Mudgee where he makes his chocolate from scratch. While we love trying chocolates from all around the world, we particularly love to support Australian small businesses such as Spencer Cocoa. We featured their both their dark and milk bars in our boxes this month. The dark chocolate has a lovely toasted flavour, while the milk chocolate is a classic creamy bar that is sure to please.

Willie’s Chocolate is a big name in the bean-to-bar chocolate scene. He started his chocolate journey as a coca farmer in Venezuela, and continues to use the connections he developed then to assist in direct trade with cocoa farmers around the world for his beans. Since he bought a cocoa farm in the Venezuelan cloud forest in the early 1990’s he has been a pioneer of promoting the true flavour of chocolate. Subscribers received two different Willie’s chocolates this month – most got a plain dark (Madagascar) or Milk of the Stars bar, plus a flavoured bar. We had ginger & lime, hazelnut and raisin and sea-salt flavour options.

Duffy’s chocolates are single origin bars, often from exotic places. Duffy Sheardown was one of the founding members of the Direct Cocoa organisation. Established in 2012, they are seeking a better way to ensure fair prices for farmers than Fair Trade. For those who received the dark Duffy’s bar, it was a single origin Guatemalan bar, with light berry and earthy notes. The milk chocolate option was a creamy Ecuadorian chocolate with the added crunch of cocoa nibs and the subtle tang of oak smoked sea salt – a lovely combination.

Finally, FairAfric chocolate is really the epitome of what so many people are doing to try and improve the conditions for cocoa farmers around the world. Rather than growing the cocoa in Ghana and then exporting the beans, FairAfric are committed to keeping the value adding processes in the country, so that the community can benefit from the full lifecycle of chocolate. They only have a dark chocolate at the moment, so all our subscribers received this. It has an almost fudgy flavour, with rich, roasted cocoa notes.