My name is Alexandra Portlock and I was invited to help Evington Echo with reporting. As my visit was before Easter, I decided to investigate ‘Chocolate’. I am particularly interested in buying chocolate in a way which will lesson worries about the environmental and the ethical purchase of chocolate.
Here is my article about buying guilt-free chocolate, even though we may still worry about the problems associated with mass production and about the calorie and sugar intake of chocolate.
Going fair-trade is a good way to support a system that ensures cocoa producers are respectful of environmental and human rights standards.
The Just Fair Trade Shop in Leicester
Adina Zoltai, director of the Just Fair Trade shop in Leicester, points out : “In big supply chains, people who work behind the scenes are not often cared for.” Just Fair Trade works with ethical suppliers around the world and has released its Easter collection.
Adina Zoltai is the director of the Just Fair Trade shop in Leicester.
Of course many fair-trade products can be found in your local shops, such as the Co Op, Morrisons or Tesco. But the advantage of going to Just Fair Trade is being able to access clear knowledge behind the product. Thanks to the expertise of the trained shopkeepers, the consumer can appreciate the people and the skills behind the label.
The Christian Aid shop next to the Cathedral sells Easter eggs that support the work of the diocese.
Also, supporting local businesses is a safe bet. The independent, family-run brand Cocoa Amore in Leicester orders most of its chocolate from Luker, a provider based in Colombia. Via an associate working on site, the shop owner Peter Gardner buys chocolate that has been produced in an ethical and sustainable way.
To give an idea of price, a 150g milk egg at the Christians Resource shop (7 Peacock Lane) costs £ 4.80. At Cocoa Amore, amongst a wide range of products, figures a half egg filled with handmade chocolats, £ 9.50 for 300g.
It goes without saying, F air Trade and artisans’ chocolate are more expensive than the regular bar you can buy in a supermarket. However, investing in good quality products is more viable in the long run. The authentic and good-quality ingredients should leave you satisfied with a smaller quantity, as opposed to the addictive additives often found in industrial brands. It’s a winning situation for your health, especially if you choose to indulge in dark chocolate, proven to have physiological benefits on body and mind, if consumed with moderation, like all foods of course.
To buy Easter gifts for a good cause, take a look at charities such as the Guide dogs, who supports people with sight loss. Guide dogs has launched their Easter collection in their online shop, which includes not only tasty gifts such as chocolate bunny spoons, but also cute decorations such as soft toy labradors with rabbit ears.
When all is said and done, a way to buy more responsibly is to buy less. A good bet is to buy a plain bar of dark chocolate, preferably Fair Trade, and to make your own Easter gift. A fun and budget-friendly way to make a smaller quantity go a long way. Many recipes involving melting chocolate with butter or cream give you the opportunity to be creative and potentially use up leftovers. Here is a recipe, tried and tested.
Try this recipe :
Tropical Easter truffles
This easy and fuss-free recipe makes a good Easter gift, especially for Bounty lovers. I cut mine in squares, but you can make them in balls if you prefer.
150g desiccated coconut
1 tablespoon cocoa powder, sifted
150 ml liquid cream or full-fat milk
1 tablespoon rum, or any other strong alcohol, but don’t wrorry, when boiled, alcohol evaporates, so this delicacy is dry !
150 chocolate of your choice
Put desiccated coconut, sugar, alcohol and cream in a bowl or a pan, without mixing. Bring gently to boil (on the hob or in the microwave on medium). Once the sugar has dissolved, add coconut and sifted cocoa powder.
Mix and transfer to a rectangular dish lined with baking paper (the quickest method), or let it cool down and roll into balls. Leave to set in the fridge at least 1h.
Melt chocolate on low heat. If you opted for the rectangular dish method, simply spread the chocolat on the set mixture, let it cool a little, then cut into squares. Leave to set completely in fridge. If you chose to roll in balls, coat them with the chocolate and leave to set.