Thursday, June 7, 2012

Food Review: Fair Trade 72% Dark Chocolate (★ ★ ★ ★ ☆)

This week things are going to be a little different.  

I'm featuring my first food review.  :)

Don't get all huffy and puffy.  I'm a recreational baker.  Not a machine!

Plus, this 72% Belgian Dark Chocolate from Trader Joe's is so good--it really deserves all the praise that is forthcoming:

I love chocolate.  Love it.  I once gave up sugar...lasted all of four months...but even then I still allowed myself to indulge in the "dark" varieties.  Because living an unhealthy, chubby existence is better than living a life with no chocolate at all.  

I'm proud to say that I've worked my tolerance level up to 85%.  Anything higher really does taste like dirt (Ya you, 90%) and...up until a few weeks ago...I believed that anything lower tasted too sweet.  

Trader Joe's carries a pretty good 85% Dark Chocolate bar.  It's actually two bars packaged in one box for under $2.  (That. is. a. steal!)  I keep a stash of these on hand for all my chocolate emergencies.  

My mom likes to buy me little gifts every now and then.  So when she found out my hoard was running low a couple weeks back, she called me and told me to "check" the table when I got home.  This Fair Trade 72% bar is what I found.  

I wasn't disappointed exactly...turning up my nose to chocolate just isn't in my nature, but it definitely wasn't what I expected.  

"72% huh?" 

"Welp, this should hold me know, for now."

What I didn't expect was to be swept off my feet.  Full on twitterpation happenin' here.

This bar is excellent.  

Its got just the right amount of sweetness.  Even those who haven't been able to join the ranks of the Dark Chocolate Elite can enjoy this bar (Don't worry guys, it's okay if you like your chocolate weak sauce style.  "70% Plus" isn't for the faint of heart.) 

It's smooth.  Incredibly creamy.  And has a distinct berry essence.  Honestly, this is one of the best chocolate bars I've had - ever.  I mean there was that one "Novi" chocolate bar in Italy - but we won't talk about what could've been, alright?

And to top it off, it was organic and fair trade.  

Quick disclaimer.  I've never cared enough about organic or fair trade to go out of my way to purchase such goods.  Now, don't label me completely cold hearted...these items haven't been all that impressive either. 

But when something is this good AND attempting to impact the world in some way, praises should be sung.  Dancers should be jubilating.  Church bells should be rung at hourly intervals. (Too much?  ...Ya, too much.)  

This is what Fair Trade should be.  

Not, "Hey, here is some tolerable chocolate, but clap for us because we didn't use slave labor." 

But, "Here is some dang good chocolate. We challenge you to find something better.  Oh, and guess what?  It's organic and fair trade.  Schooled."

If you are interested in justice and fair trade, I found this really cool site devoted to raising awareness and ending slavery in the chocolate industry: Slave Free Chocolate.  There is even a cool grid that lists fair trade and organic chocolate options and where to buy them.  

On a broader scale, my best friend runs Justice Is A Verb, which is a slave free lifestyle blog.  The focus is on fashion, do-it-yourself projects, and just plain, good ol' practical advice.  Plus, she has a love for all things, brownie points.

So, to wrap up this very wordy review:

1) Find a Trader Joe's. ASAP.   
2) Dear Fair Traders, please school me.  I beg you.  

Next week, back to your regularly scheduled baking win/fail.  It really is a toss up with me, isn't it?

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