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Hi Everyone,
I use unsweetened chocolate in a few recipes I make. I use Callebaut but as I become more aware of abuses of chocolate workers I wonder about fair trade issues. And I also want to use chocolate grown with as few chemical pesticides/fertilizers as possible. I understand that chocolates may not necessarily have a fair trade or organic label, but will still be grown in ways that are not harmful to the workers or the planet. All that said,
a. Does anyone know how Callebaut fits these standards?
b. Does anyone have an unsweetened chocolate that fits these standards to recommend?
Thank you!

Tags: chocolate, fair, organic, trade, unsweetened

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Hey Michael-

Major commodity producers such as Barry Callebaut tend to use "self certification" i.e. they make a statement for their company to abide by in terms of ethical labor and sustainability.

"Barry Callebaut has a long-term commitment to the economic and social development of the cocoa farming communities; to a supply chain free of the worst forms of child labor and forced adult labor and to a mutually beneficial partnership between farmers and the industry."

Callebaut IS certified by Fairtrade to produce a range of cocoa and chocolate produce but most of these are already processed goods that are sold as such on the market by their purchasers. So for unadulturated unsweetened chocolate, Barry's not your man.

Also, I don't know if Barry's commitment "works" in terms of the standards you are looking for. I personally have to stop and wonder, am I really promoting fair trade and ethical labor if I am purchasing a fair trade product that only makes up a small part of a very large and powerful company that is not completely devoted to the issue I am trying to press? Seems strange, you know?

You are very right that not all companies participating in fair trade, organic chocolate production. For example, if the company is based in a cocoa producing nation or selling directly from the cooperative, there is no use in participating in "fair trade" thus requiring them to pay themselves more. Too complicated and expensive!

I know equal exchange makes an organic dutch process cocoa powder also try Dean's Beans or Sweet Earth.
Thanks so much for your thoughts on this, Alexandra!

Thanks for the suggestions as well. Dean's Beans only does cocoa, not unsweetened chocolate. But I will order some from Sweet Earth. If anyone has tried their product, let me know what you think!

Thanks again, Alexandra.

I love Michel Cluizel and exclusively use their chocolate. I trust the company's ethical and environmental standards. Their Noir Infini is 99%, though it does have a tiny amount of sugar.

Pralus makes a 100% bar that is also excellent and they are big on high standards of manufacturing as well.

Both of these more or less unsweetened chocolates can be eaten out of hand, which is rare for such high percentages and a true testement to their quality.
Hello Michael

Late to the game here, but thought I'd add a little teaser for a new product we (Cocoa Camino) will be launching in the fall.

We will be producing for retail and commercial use a 100% unsweetened conched baking bar. (We will also be releasing a 55% semi sweet and a 71% bittersweet baking bar)

Organic, Fair Trade and Kosher Pareve certified (no dairy in the plant)

This will be an expansion of our existing Cuisine Camino line of home baking products.

Keep your eyes peeled for this in the fall.

Not only are the above mentioned products Fair Trade, Organic and Kosher certified, they are produced at the Coop in Peru, thereby meeting one of our main goals with Fair Trade, which is helping build the capacity of our producer partners to assist them in moving away from traditional agricultural product sales towards producing and selling value added products.

Fair Trade and organic premiums paid on their beans has directly contributed to them being able to build this capacity.

Rodd Heino
Worker Owner
La Siembra Coop, makers of Cocoa Camino products.
Hi all

Some clarification seems to be in order, as I have received an email off list regarding our intentions with this new line of couverture/baking bar.

We of course are not a chocolate factory, and buy semi transformed goods for resale, as well as have finished retail goods made for us in both Canada and Europe. I do hope that this was clear, and if it wasn't it is now!

We will continue to sell our Fair Trade and organic European line of couvertures, powder, butter and liquor in addition to the products produced in Peru. The exciting thing is that the baking bar we will be selling in the three flavours (100%, 71% and 55% cocoa solids) at retail will be the same recipe as the couverture that we will be selling in 10 kg cases for commercial clients. So there will now be a readily available (we are sold in 3500 retail locations across Canada) Fair Trade and organic couverture line in smaller consumer sizes (200g).

We have existing relationships with many clients using our European produced couverture, butter and liquor, and while they have all been given samples of the products from Peru, and we have had much positive feedback on it, some will transition to the new and some will stay with the current products.

Any further questions, I can be reached at rodd at or 613-235-6122 x330


Rodd Heino
La Siembra Coop


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