Tuesday, February 16, 2010
This was my Valentine's Day gift from my hubby. Two bars of chocolate that we can both feel good about! Both are made by Alter Eco (their website, www.altereco.com is in French for those who would like to test their French, but they have a link to their North American website, www.altereco-usa.com, which is in English). The bars have information on their packaging about the chocolate, where it comes from and how purchasing their product helps farmers.
The cocoa is from the El Ceibo cooperative in Bolivia, and benefits 800 families/small-scale farmers and promotes sustainable agriculture and improved living standards, while protecting their environment. Interesting, funny tidbit - the cocoa is from Bolivia, the chocolate was made in Switzerland, and it was distributed by Alter Eco Americas out of San Francisco. It's a world-wide production!
The packaging also contains information about the ingredients. I loved reading the ingredient list: four ingredients in the Dark Chocolate Almond, and five ingredients in the Dark Chocolate Velvet - and I could pronounce them all without a degree in science. Isn't that refreshing? No preservatives, no -oses, no -ates, no -ides, no partially hydrogenated ANYTHING! Just cocoa mass, unrefined or raw cane sugar, cocoa butter, almond, whole milk powder and melted butter. And, all ingredients (except the melted butter) were Organic, with most of them also being Fair Trade Certified. The Almond was also labeled as Vegan and GMO Free, while the Velvet was labeled Gluten, Soy and GMO Free. I can feel pretty good about that!
Oh Yeah! The taste! It tastes wonderful! My husband is not a fan of dark chocolate, and I myself would probably choose it last if given a choice of the 3 chocolates (milk, white or dark). I think that might be a result of the bitter taste I've experienced in the past (which may - for all I know - come from the processing with chemicals or from preservatives) AND how I tended to eat chocolate as a youngster. By the handfuls! Oh, come on, we all ate chocolate that way. They don't sell bite-sized, individually wrapped chocolates in a huge bag for no reason! And, I cannot eat just one. In my younger days, a whole bar of chocolate would be devoured in one sitting. Now that I am older, I savor my chocolate like a good wine paired with the right meal.
This dark chocolate was really good, though. The bittersweet-ness was there, but it was much more subtle and just at the beginning. As the chocolate melted in my mouth, the creaminess became more apparent, and the chocolate flavor was sweet but not too sweet. I was so happy to receive this as a gift, and it was so special to me that we have shared one square each for the past two nights, just to make it last longer. And, you know what? That one square of lovely chocolate is almost enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. Then, I open the other package, take a square from it and then I'm good! :-)
So, in summary, it is delicious, and simply made with no preservatives, 100% natural, and organic and helps small-scale farmers protect their environment and practice sustainable agriculture. What's not to love?