Wednesday, October 18, 2017

VeganMoFo 2017 #18: Cheerful Chocolate



18th: Chocolate – Today is Chocolate Cupcake Day, but you can make anything you want with chocolate!

Chocolate Cupcake Day... sure thing America! I am endlessly amused by the different food days that the US always seems to have, they sound like so much fun! Some are also oddly specific (I'm looking at you spicy guacamole day and blueberry cheesecake day...).

Child slave labour is a huge issue in a lot of chocolate production, and since the beginning of the year I have been trying to only buy chocolate that is truly 'fair trade'. The Food Empowerment Project's Chocolate List has been hugely helpful with this. The good news is that all of my favourite chocolates (Justins, Theo, Endangered Species, Eli's Earth Bars...) are on the approved list! The bad news, none of these are available in Australia. But I have been having fun exploring some of the options that we do have here. A note, I am a very picky chocolate eater. In general I like my chocolate dark, angry and bitter with the world. I find a lot of the vegan 'milk' chocolates to be far too sweet, and don't even get my started on the abomination that is white 'chocolate'. Even a lot of supposedly dark chocolates are not dark enough.

Alter Eco chocolates are quite widely available, even in supermarkets! Most of their dark chocolate varieties are vegan, and I am happy to report that their very dark chocolate (not pictured here) is excellent. Although they could be a little darker for my idea world, I also very much enjoy their sea salt chocolate and crunchy quinoa chocolates. There is a decent amount of salt in the salted one (I love salted chocolate, but a lot of them don't have enough). The quinoa one in any other incarnation would be on the too sweet side, but it is redeemed by the delicious, crunchy quinoa puffs through it. It is super fun.

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Seed & Bean is a British (I am pretty sure) brand that is very hard to get (I only seem to find it in Melbourne) but that I really like. Smith & Deli normally have some flavours in their shop, but last time I was in Melbourne I stumbled into a random shop that seemed to have almost the entire range! Most of the dark chocolate ones are vegan. Again, they could be a bit darker for my tastes, but their flavours make up for that. My favourites are the sea salt and the fennel (tastes like liquorice bullets!).

I never through I was a raw chocolate fan (Prana is a popular brand here, but I just don't enjoy it), but Loving Earth converted me. They have a range of flavours in blocks and single serve hearts, and they recently released a fancy pants range as well. My favourite is the Buck and Berry in the fancy pants range, and the Turkish Delight is very nice as well. They also do a very good 85% dark chocolate block. They have a lot of other fun flavours as well, though they tend to err on the side of too sweet for me. But I don't mind a little snack on a raspberry or hazelnut heart now and then. Loving Earth is becoming pretty widely available here, so that is good. Speaking of raw chocolate, The Chocolate Yogi also makes an amazing dark salted Astral bar that I love.

Chocolate Haul


I was sent this amazing care package from my amazing friend Dana, who lives near Boston. Dana is one of the researchers for the FEP, and sent me a fun selection of local to her chocolates. So far I have eaten the chocolate orange one (always a good combination) and the lavender sea salt one (really nice and floral!). I have been saving the maple pecan one for last because I suspect that one will be my favourite, but I haven't gotten to it yet. She also sent me a bunch of other fun stuff - Buffy, cats, Hufflepuff. She knows me well.

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There are a couple of local chocolate makers that I also enjoy (Treat Dreams, Noosa Chocolate Factory), their information indicates that they use fair trade chocolate. However as I have discovered from FEP, just saying something is fair trade doesn't necessarily make it so. I am going to ask FEP to contact them to confirm. I really hope they are! I bought this stash of Treat Dreams chocolate on the last Vegan Day Out, and I am looking forward to trying them.

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This is a work in progress for me, I certainly am not perfect at it. I still sometimes order chocolate desserts when I am out at restaurants or cafes, and who know where that came from. Sometimes if I need to make something chocolate-heavy for a bake sale I will use a chocolate brand from the 'working on the issue in various ways' list because of the amounts involved (also very hard/impossible to find a FEP chocolate chip here). I subscribe to a vegan mystery box for the first half of the year, and it includes chocolate sometimes that are not on the FEP list. But I have definitely come a long way and I am going to keep on trying.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post - Month of Sahara

Sahara serious face


Sahara has her serious face on to remind you that even if they are FEP approved, no chocolate is approved for cats as it is toxic to them!

15 comments:

  1. Americans justlove to celebrate their food, don't they? 😜
    In argentina we just have the 'Gnocchi Day' (which is the 29 of every month).
    I think we don't give enough thought to the whole issue of slave labour in the food (and clothing!) industry. It's really sad... But it's great to see some changes being made little by little! Not where i live though 😢

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    1. We do what we can, where we can, how we can. It is all little steps that add up to a bigger change.
      I love the sounds of a gnocchi day EVERY month!

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  2. I love the Alter Eco chocolates. I am with you, I try to buy ethically sourced chocolate too but sometimes I fail. But it's definitely a work in progress.

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    1. Alter Eco is also not too expensive (relatively) here, which I like. Can't get enough of that crunchy quinoa!

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  3. Nice post. I love Loving Earth chocolate. This post gives me a good idea of something chocolatey to send you!

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    1. Ooooh. Inspiration. :)
      Loving Earth is such a great brand.

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  4. You are like the opposite to me, chocolate wise. I prefer anything sweet, and white chocolate is the best!

    I do like Seed and Bean though. They are indeed British and you can even find them in places like garden centres here, which is great for snacks when you're in the middle of non-vegan territory. They have a lavender one, which I think is lovely, and my husband thinks tastes of chocolate soap.

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    1. I saw the lavender one and I do want to try it, though I think anything lavender runs the risk of tasting like soap. They are $8 each here, so I have to use restraint!

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  5. Ha! I also prefer the sweet stuff, like Emma! ^

    I am a complete dark chocolate wimp. Also a MoFo wimp. It's kicking my butt after only four days! I don't know how you do it. The only logical explanation is that Professor McGonagall gave you a Time Turner and you're using it to kick MoFo butt.

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    1. I wish I had a Time Turner! This MoFo has definitely been the hardest in a while.

      And that's OK, that just means that I will eat all the dark chocolate and you can eat all the sweet chocolate and the world will be in perfect harmony!

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  6. I remember enjoying the chocolate orange one! The lavender sea salt chocolate sounds really good, too!

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    1. Chocolate orange is such a classic combination. I used to love getting those actual chocolate oranges when I was a kid, so it always reminds me of that.

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  7. "I like my chocolate dark, angry and bitter with the world"
    XD I wish I could mail you the one Trader Joe's chocolate bar. I know they aren't on the FEP list, but this one bar lists the origin of the beans. And I get chocolate there because as you mentioned it can be hard getting chocolate chips or baking goods that are approved. I try for the next best thing- avoid the major companies.

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    1. I have seen some bars not on the FEP list that list the origin as being apparently OK, so I think they are OK? The FEP list seems to be focused on chocolate coming from specific places to avoid.

      Is the Trader Joe's one very dark?

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    2. They have tons, they range drastically. But I am thinking of a very specific one that is from one origin. It is super bitter. I forget everytime I buy it, and am always shocked. XD

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