The Dark Side of Chocolate
The myths of Ixcacao, the Goddess of Chocolate were about as dark as they could get. Enslavement, natural disasters, civil wars, economic collapse and the human sacrifice (of children, no less) were all part of her story.
Ah, but that's all in the past, or so you might think . . . chocolate is the ultimate 'feel good stuff'.
Only one problem . . . well two, actually. . . that we ought to be really concerned about. The first is the issue of:
Health and Ecological Concerns (including our treatment of farm animals)
I belabored this point in the earlier posting in response to an email I received. If you missed it, check it out below. Bottom line is "dark" chocolate is the good kind, saves you a world of guilt about what you're doing.
Indentured Servitude and Slavery in the Chocolate Industry
Most of the chocolate candy we consume is made from the cheaper chocolate made in the Ivory Coast where children from neighboring countries are kidnapped or bought and forced into labor on plantations. The children don't even know what it's used for and have never had a taste of its wonders ... much like in the myths of Ixcacao, the Goddess of Chocolate, when eating chocolate was forbidden to women and children.
Major chocolate companies such as Nestle's and Hershey's, say that since the Ivory Coast is a sovereign nation they will continue to buy their chocolate there because they don't wish to damage to Ivory Coast's fragile economic system. Yeah right!
Carol Off, author of the book, Bitter Chocolate, traces the troublesome story of the growing of chocolate in a fascinating interview with CBC (Canada). It's well worth checking out the interview. How you can help:
Petition your government for improved trade practices (require a label on chocolate saying no children were abused in the making of this cocoa, perhaps?)
Restrict yourself to the healthy kind of chocolate.
It's more expensive ('tho it's much, much richer and a little bit will go a very long way and satsify even the most crazed chocoholic). Some brands to look for include Dagoba's, ChocoLove, Vosges and there are many others if you search.
Fair trade is, I suppose, the only way to go. Check the labels.