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eat chocolate. do it for the children.

I love this chocolate.* The reason you should love this chocolate too is it’s from single-source heirloom organic cacao beans, and the cacao is gathered by a cooperative of families on a small island in the Ecuadorian Amazon rain forest instead of by child slaves in West Africa. If you haven’t read about slavery in the chocolate industry, you should go read that link now. Kallari (pronounced kahl-ya-di) is a Kichwa (aka Quichua) word that means “to begin;” they are a small company of indigenous Kichwa chocolate makers, and the profits all go back into the collaborative. Could there be a better cause to support than a chocolate one?

The best part, aside from the fact that it is on the Food Empowerment Project’s list of acceptable chocolate producers, is that Kallari is absolutely the most delicious chocolate I’ve ever eaten. It’s fruity and almost floral, but with a spicy finish, and it has a creamy texture without the addition of milk (it’s vegan, if you care about such things). Even the 75% cacao chocolate bars aren’t as bitter as I expected them to be, yet somehow they are able to use half the sugar of standard chocolate because of their unique varietals. They grow the cacao in a canopy of other plants that are supposed to give extra flavor–e.g. banana, mahogany, and scores of others–to the beans. It’s one of the only places where cacao growers are also making their own chocolate. Kallari chocolate is sold in some Whole Foods and other food markets in the US (search here for a location near you), or you can also buy it on Amazon and other online sellers. You can read more about the company in this NY Times article

Whether you choose to buy this brand or another, the next time you reach for some Nestle’s Tollhouse chocolate chips, I hope you’ll reconsider; along with child slavery, Nestle suffers from numerous other human rights and product safety issues. They aren’t the only company with problems, just maybe the largest and most visible. Unfortunately, even Clif Bar and Trader Joe’s, two companies I love and routinely purchase chocolate-containing foods from, refuse to disclose from where they source their chocolate. Bummer.

I think perhaps I’ll make these chocolate chunk cookies with the rest of my Kallari chocolate. Mmmmm.

*I’m not just saying that because they gave me some for free. But they did. Ha.