choco

Chocolate is a traditional Valentine’s gift that’s not gone, and most likely never will go, out of style. Chocolate’s sweet, sharp flavor brings even the coldest hearts to a quick boil. Before you reach for that heart-shaped box of chocolates at your local grocery store, however, stop and think: Is this chocolate Fair Trade certified? Is it organic? Do I really want to buy chocolates I know nothing about?

The answer, put simply, is no.

Why Organic Chocolate?

Buying, and therefore promoting, organic and Fair Trade chocolate helps keep dangerous working conditions out of the chocolate industry, and protects your body from unwanted pesticides. Organic chocolate is made from ingredients produced without the use of:

  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides
  • Fungicides

Also, exported fumigants cannot be used to preserve cocoa during shipping.

Why Fair Trade Chocolate?

Laborers (sometimes children) who are forced to work in unsafe working conditions often harvest the ingredients used to make chocolate. According to the article “The human cost of chocolate” on CNN.com, it’s estimated that 200,000 children (in the Ivory Coast alone) work fields (many against their will) to create chocolate delicacies.

Supplies, food and ingredients harvested under Fair Trade rules protect laborers’ health and rights. Learn more about Fair Trade practices here.

Although the following chocolates don’t come in a lace-lined, heart-shaped box, that’s no need to discount them. And heck – you’re crafty. Make your own Valentine’s box, or use a leftover chocolate box filled with organic, Fair Trade chocolates.

Find out more about various brands of Fair Trade and organic chocolate below:

Does your sweetie dig chocolate in other forms besides the standard bar? Read this article to learn how to make heartwarming mugs of organic cocoa.

image: Nico Nelson