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New York, New York
Chocolate is one of the most decadent treats nature has to offer, and we have hard-working farmers and a very interesting tropical plant to thank for it!
But first, what is chocolate and what does it have to do with produce? The cacao tree (Theobroma cacao, or "food of the gods") is native to Central and South America, but is mainly grown in West Africa today. The seeds and the fruit are its two edible parts, and chocolate is a confection made from its fermented, ground, sweetened seeds and the cold-pressed oil of the cacao bean, called cocoa butter.
Cacao (the raw product) is brimming with antioxidants, flavonoids, and minerals like magnesium, calcium, and iron. One of the best ways to experience cacao and enjoy all its nutritional, mood-boosting benefits is through raw cacao products like nibs and ground cacao powder. (Cocoa powder is processed at higher temperatures and has sugar, dairy, and other things added).
That's where our partnership with Cocoa Compassion comes in. Founded by chocolate lover Joy Batashoff Thaler as she sought to address the social injustices surrounding her favorite comfort food, Cocoa Compassion sources single origin, fair trade cacao for their "bean to bar" products.
This socially responsible company ensures that the farmers who grow cacao trees are treated ethically and paid fair wages for their labor. Their products are traceable from the point of origin, with full transparency from the farming of the plants themselves to the delicious end results. Cocoa Compassion's cacao is primarily grown in Tanzania, Africa, where sunny and humid conditions are ideal for growing and drying the beans by natural solar power (open air and sunshine!).
Cocoa Compassion's products include chocolate bars, drinking chocolate, paleo marshmallows, and cacao nibs. Nibs are a rich, fruity topping for smoothies, yogurt, and morning oats. Their flavorful, healthful crunch is filled with fiber, protein, healthy fats, and minerals with none of the sugars and additives of many conventional chocolates. Cacao nibs are nuanced in taste, with notes unique to each season and terrain, just like wine.
We love working with mission-aligned companies like Cocoa Compassion to bring sustainable, ethically-sourced, healthy treats to your table.
Photos courtesy of Cocoa Compassion.