Friday, March 29, 2013

At Easter, it is all about the Chocolate Bunny

This Easter, what sort of chocolate bunnies are you buying for your family?  The grocery store often has a large selection, but one glance at the ingredients list may cause you to never look at those sweet floppy-eared treats again. If those ingredients concern you, this might be a good year to take a look at your options and find a chocolate 'bunny' that is not only healthier, but also environmentally and socially responsible.

I live in a rural area and do not have access to a wide variety of chocolate unless I shop online or travel out of my way.  But despite my limited access, I still came across two new options this Easter: organic chocolate 'bunnies'.

The first was a wonderful Camino Organic and Fair Trade Milk Chocolate Bunny, newly launched by La-Siembra Co-Operative this year. Camino was kind enough to send me a sample, and my family and I enjoyed every bite of it!  The milk chocolate was rich and tasty (not super-sweet like those Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars) and my kids really enjoyed it. 

The best part about organic chocolate? Kids never need to know that they are eating something that is healthier for them than the regular sugary chocolate - and they certainly cannot tell the difference!

The second Easter 'bunny' that I found turned out not to be a bunny at all!  I was perusing the gourmet Easter selection at Chapters in Sudbury and came across the Lake Champlain Chocolates ORGANIC milk chocolates. With a bunny on the front of the package, I thought the chocolate might be shaped like a rabbit, but they turned out to be chocolate bars! I didn't mind that at all, since the packaging made it feel Eastery and the chocolate was superbly delicious.  I purchased the Milk Chocolate with Sea Salt & Almonds bar (for myself) and an Organic Milk Chocolate bar for my husband for Easter.

I normally do not like chocolate bars with almonds in them, but Lake Champlain's bar was delicious.  The salt brought out the flavour of the almonds and the milk chocolate was rich (less sweet than that grocery store stuff!). I gobbled it up in just two days. If you like nuts and salted milk chocolate, this bar is definitely for you!

So if you are not satisfied with the usual Easter chocolate bunny that you have been purchasing for years, take a simple look around in other stores (or other sections of the grocery store) and you might just find something delicious, healthier and environmentally friendly...something that makes you feel good!

Camino's Fair Trade and Organic Milk Chocolate Bunny is available at retailers across Canada and Loblaws stores with natural value sections.

Lake Champlain Chocolates is from Burlington, Vermont and is available online and in stores in Canada and the U.S.

And if you live in a rural area like me and have not yet found the eggs to fill your Easter basket, check out these selections at your local grocery store.

Have a great Easter weekend everyone!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Organic Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies (with Gluten-Free Option)

I have loved traditional Scottish shortbread cookies since I travelled to Scotland 10 years ago.  I have only purchased imported shortbread cookies since then, until I was making a tart recipe recently and decided to eliminate the eggs and see what happened.  Voila!  I discovered that I had the perfect recipe for some tasty (and buttery!) shortbread cookies that can be dipped in a dark, milk or white organic chocolate.  They make a perfect not-too-so-sweet treat with your afternoon tea.
Below you will find the original 'organic' recipe option.  If you don't have access to organic ingredients, just make them with the usual stuff (i.e. regular unsalted butter, unbleached all-purpose flour, etc.).  You can also change up the sugar for low-glycemic coconut sugar, which does not seem to change the taste much. Or make these Gluten-Free cookies with gluten-free flour (see this alternative recipe below).
Kids love these too!  Just ask my 4-year old and my 20-month old toddler!
Recipe: Organic Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies (see Gluten-Free option below)
Ingredients (Organic):
·         1 pound / 454 grams of butter (organic)                                

·         ¾ cup of organic golden cane sugar (I used Camino’s)

·         4 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour (organic)

·         16 ounces of semi-sweet organic chocolate

You can also use 70% dark chocolate, or white or milk chocolate depending on your preference! For organic chocolate options in North America, see this list:

Baking Instructions:

1. Place flour and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (I use a KitchenAid mixer) and stir for a few seconds to mix the two dry ingredients together.  If your butter is not already softened or at room temperature, soften it for 20 seconds in the microwave.  Chop it up into ½ inch squares and while the mixer is on, toss it into the sugar/flour mixture. Mix until it becomes coarse crumbs or all starts to stick together.

2. Take the cookie dough out of the bowl and kneed it on the counter using a little flour to ensure it does not stick.  Roll it into a thin ball.  You can try to roll it out and make cookies now, but it may be too soft. If it is too soft, refrigerate it for 2 hours.  Take it out of fridge, break it up and kneed it for a minute to ensure it is all mixed together well.

3. Using flour to dust the surface of the dough and roll out the mixture to about 1/8 inch thick with a large a rolling pin. Use a cookie cutter or a glass to get the shape of the cookie that you want.  Using a flat lifter, place each cookie on a pan lined with a piece of parchment paper. Bake for 12 minutes (check them at 10 minutes if you have a hot oven or if you have rolled the cookies very thin) and pull them out of the oven just before they brown.  If they still look moist or buttery in the centre, bake for another minute or two. Let cookies cool completely then dip them in the chocolate.

To Dip the Cookies in Chocolate:

1. Melt 12 ounces of chocolate over a double boiler (ensure no water droplets get in the chocolate!) or in the microwave for two minutes on HALF Power.  Use a digital thermometer to melt the chocolate to a temperature of 120 degrees F (for dark chocolate, 110 for milk chocolate and 105 for white chocolate). Cool quickly by adding another 4 ounces of solid chocolate to the mixture and stirring until it melts and reaches a temperature of 88 to 90 degrees and is about the same temperature as the back of your baby finger when you dip it in the chocolate (if it is too warm, throw in a tiny bit more chocolate and stir until it reaches the correct temperature).  Dip a piece of wax paper into the chocolate and then place the wax paper into the fridge for a few minutes.  If it is shiny and there are no streaks, the chocolate is in temper.

2. Dip ½ the cookie into the mixture and place on wax paper.  Set in refrigerator for 1 hour.  Seal in a container with an airtight lid.  If you are layering the cookies, be sure to place wax paper between the layers so as not to scratch or dull the chocolate.
Gift them!  Package each cookie individually in little clear bags as gifts or stocking stuffers. 

Make them prettier!  Temper some white chocolate, place in a small snack bag, cut a hole on the tip of one corner and make parallel lines on a diagonal over the cookies.  This will add a nice pattern and some colour contrasting.

Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookie Recipe:

Although we have no gluten intolerance in my family, I made these because my daughter just eats too much wheat now that she is in school (toast for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, Goldfish, etc – it all has wheat in it!), so I wanted to provide an alternative grain and a healthier ‘treat’ for her lunchbox. I used the Purely Bulk brand of gluten-free all purpose flour ( with Chia and Sprouted Flax, but I am sure any brand will do. Although they do taste a little different than the ‘original’ recipe above, the kids still loved them!


·         1 pound / 454 grams of butter (organic)                                

·         ¾ cup of organic coconut sugar (you can use regular cane sugar too!)

·         4 cups of gluten-free flour mix

·         16 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate (or 70% dark chocolate, or white or milk chocolate depending on your preference!)

Baking Instructions:
Follow the same baking steps listed above in the Original Organic Recipe!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Eat Chocolate Daily; Make it a Ritual

If you have not yet tasted bean-to-bar craft chocolate, you should.  It might just change your life.  It changed mine.

When I first tasted craft chocolate that was made in an artisans' bean-to-bar studio (rather than chocolate made in a large manufacturing facility) I understood what real chocolate should taste like. Real chocolate should taste like cacao beans and the tropics where they grow, which includes the vegetation and root system that surrounds the trees that cacao grows on.

Factory-made chocolate tastes like a sweet treat; craft chocolate tastes like the deliciousness of what nature can offer. And like what nature truly intended when cacao was created.

Ritual Chocolate from Denver, Colorado is a craft chocolate maker. They make chocolate right from the bean in small batches.  In fact, each batch is numbered and that number is stamped on the front of the chocolate bar wrapping so the consumer knows just when and where their chocolate was made.

Note the colour difference in these chocolate bars. 
These are Ritual Chocolate's four flavours,
and all are made with no milk added, and 75%
cacao solids, yet some of them look like milk chocolate!
What I like most about Ritual Chocolate is that they do not mess around with their single origin chocolate. What I mean by that is: they have four chocolate bars, each made from cacao beans of a different origin, and each bar is made with 75% cacao solids. 

So what is so good about making four kinds of chocolate with the same amount of cacao? Well, for starters, it places each origin on a level playing field and helps chocolate lovers to taste the difference in the cacao from region to region, without confusing the palate with varying amounts of sugar or milk.

For instance, when a chocolate maker creates a Madagascar-origin chocolate bar at 67%, a Dominican Republic bar at 75%, and an Ecuador bar in a 46% milk chocolate, it becomes difficult to taste the specific flavours of the beans' origin because our palates can become confused by the amount of sugar that is added to each bar.

Ritual Chocolate smartly made all their bars with the same cacao percentage, therefore making their product range excellent for chocolate tasting parties, and for wannabe connoisseurs like myself to learn about the differences in cacao bean flavours, colours and aroma.

I tasted all four flavours of Ritual Chocolate`s origin bars (Madagascar, Costa Rica, Gran Couva and Balao) and thoroughly enjoyed the tasting session.  My two favourites were the Costa Rica and the Madagascar, which coincidentally both won Good Food Awards.

Ritual's Madagascar bar was delicious. Over time, I have become very familiar with the flavour of cacao from the Sambirano Valley of Northern Madagascar with its citrus fruit flavours so prominent that I think I can identify that origin blindfolded by now.  I love the depth of the flavour and found similar qualities in Ritual's Costa Rican chocolate, but with a more tropical flair and berry fruit flavours. Gran Couva, from Trinidad, had a rich flavour also which I enjoyed, but Balao (Ecuador) I could have done without. Although it had the darkest colour to its chocolate, it was a bit pasty and dry. Other people who I knew that tasted it did like it, so I guess a `floral bouquet of orange blossom honey` was just not my thing.

Look at the milk chocolate colour of the Cabanero
on the bottom, except that is NOT milk chocolate!
It is very dark chocolate, even dark than the Peru 71%
above it in the picture. The milky colour is due to the rare
albino bean used to make the chocolate.
What I loved most about Ritual Chocolate was the overall chocolate experience that they gave me.  Not only did I get to taste four great flavours and learn about each regions' cacao, growing conditions and history (the wrappings provide a nice blurb on each), I learned how passionate they are about their craft.  The chocolate makers, Anna and Robbie, are so enthusiastic about bean-to-bar chocolate making that they shared information with me about the chocolate that other chocolate makers normally do not.  They sent me an amazing sampling of a light-coloured Cabanero chocolate, and passionately explained the albino bean that was used to make it.  And by contrast, they sent me a sample of a Peru 71%, which had a very dark colour and amazing rich flavour to the chocolate.

Also thanks to Ritual Chocolate, I had a chance to taste some chocolate made from unfermented beans, which were accidentally sent to them when they ordered fermented ones. It surprised me that it was not terrible, in fact, it was very interesting.  I was expecting something that could not be eaten at all, but upon tempering the chocolate I learned that it was palatable, but just less chocolaty than the chocolate we are accustomed to. It was a bit chalky and dry on the palate, but exciting in a way. This taste experience helped me better understand reasons why chocolate is fermented in the first place.

Ritual Chocolate`s enthusiasm is infectious. And it makes me realize that I am not alone in my world of endless chocolate curiosity.  If I lived closer to Colorado, I am sure that eating Ritual chocolate would become a daily ritual for me.

Ritual Chocolate is located at 3153 Larimer Street in Denver, Colorado. Please visit their website for more information:  Here are the package details of the chocolate that I tasted this week:

Ritual Chocolate Madagascar 2012 Harvest, 75% Cacao, 42.5g (1.5 oz)
Batch #: 001

Ritual Chocolate Costa Rica 2009 Harvest, 75% Cacao, 42.5g (1.5 oz)
Batch #: 025

Ritual Chocolate Balao 2012 Harvest, 75% Cacao, 42.5g (1.5 oz)
Batch #: 003

Ritual Chocolate Gran Couva 2012 Harvest, 75% Cacao, 42.5g (1.5 oz)
Batch #: 002

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hop into Spring with this great Canadian chocolate contest

Camino has launched a new product just in time for Easter: a milk chocolate bunny!  This is the only Canadian brand to offer a Fairtrade and Organic-certified chocolate bunny nationally!
What a great way to be socially and environmentally responsible this Easter season, and to give our kids a chocolaty treat that is better for our health than the traditional chocolate bunnies of our generation's childhood. It is an all-natural food choice; in fact, it only has four ingredients and they are all certified as organic!
In addition, Camino has launched four new 100 gram chocolate bars this spring:
  • Milk chocolate (38% cacao) with hazelnuts
  • Milk chocolate (38% cacao) with butterscotch and sea salt
  • Dark chocolate (65% cacao) with ginger
  • Dark chocolate (65% cacao) with chili & spice (cinnamon, ginger and cayenne pepper)
See below for a photo of the four new flavours.
You can find the Camino bunny available at retailers all across Canada, including Loblaws with natural value sections, or buy it online here.
Or you can WIN IT!  I have a gift basket of Camino products available to give away to one lucky Canadian Ultimate Chocolate Blog reader!  The package is $25 in value and includes one Camino Milk Chocolate Bunny and four Camino chocolate bars (one of each of the new flavours!). 
So how can you win?  Add a Comment to this blog article below and tell me one reason why you like to buy organic and Fair Trade chocolate!  I will choose a winner (by random software selection) in one week from now, on March 20th, 2013 at 9 p.m. EST, and the prize will be mailed before Easter! NOTE: If you are an iPad user, you may have trouble adding Comments to this page, and if that is the case, you can enter by posting your reason for buying Fair Trade and Organic Chocolate on this blog's Facebook page or on  by tweeting it to @ultimatelychoc.
This is a Bunny of a Contest for chocolate lover's - so don't miss out!  Add your Comment below now to enter! Tell us why you choose Fair Trade and Organic chocolate!
If you want to learn more about Fair Trade and Organic Chocolate Bars in Canada and the U.S., check out these two articles:

Monday, March 11, 2013

Certified Organic and Fair Trade Chocolate Bars: From trend to market segment

See a list of organic and fair trade chocolate bar brands here.

A chocolate bar is not just a chocolate bar anymore. It is many things to many people: a pleasure for some and a pain for others, a junk food or a health food, a superfood or a food that can spike a person's blood sugar in unwanted ways. 

Chocolate now fits into more categories than just white, milk, semi-sweet and unsweetened. Now you can choose chocolate with nearly any percentage of cocoa solids, including very high-percentage milk chocolate or 90% extra dark chocolate.

But you can still go beyond the percentages and choose chocolate that fits with your preferences, lifestyle and beliefs, including chocolate that is:
  • single origin or mixed origin
  • stone ground or 72-hour conche for smoother chocolate
  • roasted or raw
  • fair trade or under-priced and made with slave labour
  • organic and shade-grown versus pesticide ridden
  • natural and made with real cacao or cocoa powder mixed with hydrogenated oil and labelled a 'candy'
As a result of all this categorization, the chocolate industry has changed rapidly in the last 10 years, particularly in North America.  More and more products have hit the store shelves, with a huge range of chocolate bars fitting into each category mentioned above.  No longer is a 'candy bar', like Hershey's milk chocolate bar or a Mars bar, the only choice to get your chocolate fix. You can take a stand, support a cause and choose a side while satisfying your sweet tooth.

One type of chocolate bar that has grown in popularity over time is the 'Organic and Fair Trade' chocolate bar.  Although these appear to be two separate categories, most brands have lumped them into one super-guilt-free treat.

Green & Black's Organic founders, Craig Sams and Josephine Fairly, could arguably be the ones that started the organic and Fair Trade chocolate movement when they began buying Fairtrade cocoa from Maya farmers in Belize in 1994 and were awarded the U.K.'s first Fairtrade mark (ref: Wikipedia).  Green & Black's eventually brought this trend to North America with Green & Black's U.S.A. and a manufacturing operation in Canada. It is now owned by Kraft Foods, and their chocolate is still certified organic and Fair Trade.

Many others have helped to shape this trend and to turn it into a full-fledged market segment. And in fact, they have improved on its original business model.  In Canada,  La-Siembra Co-operative established in 1999 and began developing a recipe for organic chocolate and guidelines for a Fair Trade Foundation (ref). This eventually lead to the launch of the Camino brand (originally Cocoa Camino) of chocolate bars, which are now available in both large and small retailers all across Canada. They not only sell chocolate that is Fair Trade, but also certified organic.

I remember when I first spotted a Camino chocolate bar in Ottawa at a cafe chain that focused on serving and selling Fair Trade and Organic products, so naturally they supported Camino's chocolate bars. I also recall the difference in price compared to more commercially available 100 gram chocolate bars, like Lindt Excellence.  Nearly $5 (Cdn) for a chocolate bar seemed insane to a woman in her mid-twenties who had barely paid off her student debts.  But upon tasting the chocolate, and reading the story behind it, I understood why I was paying a premium price.

The company not only brought gourmet flavours (like 67% Mint Crisp and Espresso Dark Chocolate) to a Canadian industry that had long been saturated with sugary chocolate 'candy', they told us the story of the farmers, displaying pictures of them inside the chocolate bar wrappings and on their website, to help the consumer understand the supply chain and why the prices were higher than we were accustomed to.

And each year since, I see this section of the market growing.  Gourmet food stores and health food stores now regularly stock a range of Organic and Fair Trade chocolate bars.  And every few months I see a new brand being added to the shelves of stores like Bulk Barn, that sit alongside Camino's and Green & Black's 100 gram chocolate bars. And I am continually surprised at how similar these products are to each other, in their flavour range and purpose.  In fact, many in this category now offer a Dark Mint bar with "mint crisps" in it like Camino's bar (Alter Eco and Equal Exchange brands, for instance).

Some of the newer chocolate bars entering this market segment are only certified as Fair Trade, some are listed as Organic only, and some are both.  Others are simply 'Rainforest Alliance Certified' (like the Bissinger's brand of Missouri).  And although each brand has a key feature that they focus on, like the origin of where the cocoa beans are sourced from, they are all competing for the same space.
And what I find more interesting, from an industry perspective and the perspective of someone with a degree in business marketing, is that Fair Trade and Organic chocolate was once (not that long ago) the gourmet, premium-priced segment of the market.  However, in very recent years that segment is becoming middle-of-the-road, with a price ranging from $2.99 to $5.99 per 100 gram chocolate bar.  Consumers have become accustomed to those prices and no longer see the cost as unfavourable. In fact, the new gourmet and premium-priced segment of 2013 is the growing craft bean-to-bar, single origin-sourced chocolate bar segment, where the price begins at $5 for only 50 grams of chocolate and can be as high as $20 for an 80- or 100-gram chocolate bar.  And unlike many of the original Fair Trade/Organic chocolate bar brands, these bars are made in-house and from the bean by the company that is marketing it. 

In fact, some say that direct trade is far superior to Fair Trade because the craft chocolate maker visits the farm, builds relationships with the farmers and buys beans directly from the farm (ref). This way, the farmer is being paid a fair price and they do not have to pay annual fees to be Fair Trade Certified, so they can invest more money into their farm, better quality trees and beans and in their workers (i.e. so less chance of child slave labour being used).  Dandelion Small-Batch Chocolate sells chocolate that is an example of direct trade with their 70% Ambanja Madagascar chocolate bar. According to, "The beans originate from the Akesson farm in Madagascar that Dandelion visited at the end of last year. " (ref) The price is normally $7.95 Cdn for 2 ounces (56 grams) on; so you can see the price difference compared to the certified Fair Trade chocolate bars (e.g. Green & Blacks).

So in summary, the Organic and Fair Trade chocolate movement has turned from a simple chocolate bar trend to a fully competitive market segment. And the price may have started out as premium, but has moved to a middle-of-the-road position, falling below the high prices of directly traded bean-to-bar, craft and origin chocolate.

In addition, I do not believe it is completely saturated yet, but it is certainly heading in that direction. Not only are co-operatives and socially responsible chocolate companies competing head-on, but more and more big-name brands are adding Organic and Fair Trade chocolate bars to their product range, as are small craft producers who have not normally made chocolate from organic beans.  But all this competition is great for consumers who feel that supporting Organic and Fair trade is important, because now, as opposed to 10 years ago, consumers have a lot of chocolate choice.

For a listing of Organic and Fair Trade Chocolate bars that compete in this segment in North America, click here.

Other references on this topic:

Friday, March 8, 2013

Don't Like the Taste of the Chocolate Bar?

If you open a new dark or milk chocolate bar and you do not like the taste, spread some peanut butter on it!

I opened a 100 gram 60% dark chocolate bar last night and there was just too much vanilla in it for my liking and it had poor bean quality. But when I added peanut butter to it, it suddenly had the wonderful flavour of a dark chocolate Reese Peanut Butter Cup....only better. 

Plus, it made a wonderful, low-carb breakfast. Well, sort of. In my mind, it was a healthy breakfast.  And it tasted great with a cup of dark roast coffee.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Organic and Fair Trade Chocolate Bars - The (Almost) Complete List of Brands in North America

The list below focuses on a very specific segment of the North American chocolate market. I have labelled it as "Organic and Fair Trade Chocolate Bars", which are sold in supermarkets, local grocery stores, health food stores and other retailers on a national level (i.e. all across Canada or the U.S., or both). They are usually 80 to 100 grams (3.5 oz) in size, but common packaging makes them all appear to be about the same size. If you are a chocoholic like me, you will know exactly what I am talking about.
The price range for chocolate bars in this segment is about $3 to $6 Canadian (and similarly in the U.S.) for a chocolate bar that is 80 to 100 grams, making it a premium price at the supermarkets and pharmacies. However, this is only a middle-to-upper range price within the entire chocolate market when compared to craft, single origin and premium-bean chocolate, where the price starts at about $5 for 50 grams and higher.

To learn more about this market and read an observational analysis of its growth trends and competitive behaviour, stay tuned for an upcoming article on this site.

If you are looking for a list of every chocolate bar that is either organic or Fair Trade in North America, unfortunately you have come to the wrong place. Numerous craft chocolate makers and large chocolate manufacturers have added an organic, Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance option to their product lists in recent years. Such a list would take me years to develop (I'm not saying that I won't do it one of these days, but just not today!).

What you will find below is a list of Organic and Fair Trade Chocolate bar brands in North America that I feel compete directly in the same market space. There may be other brands in America and other regions of Canada that I have not come across yet, so I will add to this list as I learn of them. These are the most common ones that I have seen in stores and that fit within the specific price range/product size that I outlined above.

List of Organic and Fair Trade Chocolate Brands (and their makers) in North America:

·         Alter Eco (San Francisco, CA) - Certified as both Organic and Fair Trade. I am IN LOVE with two of their chocolate bars: the 63% Dark Cacao with Nibs bar, where the nibs add that fruity, zesty and acidic flavour of unprocessed cacao in a chocolate that has a nice flavour to begin with. Also their 60% Dark Chocolate Quinoa bar – I finished it in less than a day! But since these bars are only 80 grams rather than 100, there is a little less guilt. The chocolate is also soy-lecithin free and listed as gluten free. Although Alter Eco is American, the chocolate is also available in Canada.

·         Camino by La Siembra Co-Operative (Ottawa, Canada) - Their 100 gram (3.5 oz) chocolate bar line-up includes three solid dark chocolate bars (a 55%, a 71% and an 80%) as well as flavoured dark chocolate bars like Espresso (my favourite), Coconut, Almond, Mint, Caramel Crunch and Raspberry. Camino’s milk chocolate bars include Milk Chocolate with Sea Salt and their really interesting 38% solid Milk Chocolate bar (this one is fun in chocolate tasting workshops to see who can identify hazelnut as Camino’s secret ingredient!). And Camino has just launched four new flavours in their 100 gram bar line: Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts, Butterscotch & Sea Salt Milk Chocolate (oh yum!), Ginger Dark Chocolate and a 65% Chili & Spice chocolate bar. In addition to being organic and Fair Trade, these chocolate bars have real ground vanilla beans, no soy lecithin and are gluten-free.

·         Equal Exchange Co-Op (West Bridgewater, MA ) - Also a co-operative, I call the Equal Exchange brand the American version of Camino. With a similar product line-up, they offer a range of dark and milk chocolate bars in 100 gram (3.5 oz) sizes, including an Ecuadorian 65% dark bar, a 71% Very Dark bar, and flavours like Mint, Orange, Caramel Crunch & Sea Salt, Espresso and Almond as well as a Milk Chocolate bar. Also like Camino, the chocolate is both organic and fair trade, has real ground vanilla beans and no soy lecithin. Their chocolate is available at a variety of retailers throughout the U.S.A. (I have purchased their chocolate once in Canada but have not seen it since).

·         Green & Black’s is likely the most widely known organic and Fair Trade chocolate bar brand. Green & Black’s Maya Gold bar was the original Fair Trade bar made from organic cocoa beans from Belize. The recipe was based on a spiced cocoa drink made locally by the farmer's in Belize and it is still a best seller world-wide today. Green & Black's sells many other flavours, like the Cherry 60% dark chocolate bar and a White Chocolate bar with Madagascar vanilla and 30% cacao solids (one of the few organic and Fair Trade competitors to offer a white chocolate bar) and all their chocolate is made from chocolate is made from Trinitario and Criollo cacao (that’s the good stuff!). The company is now owned by Kraft Foods.

·         Mama Ganache Artisan Chocolates (San Luis Obispo, CA) They sell three flavours of certified organic and certified Fair Trade chocolate bars in 3.5 oz (100g) packages (Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and Dark Chocolate with Peppermint Crisp). These are 100% made in the U.S.A. and sales of these chocolate bars help the development of a Cocoa Study Centre in Cameroon. Mama Ganache also has a chocolate bar made from the bean, as well as filled chocolate bars that are also organic and Fair Trade (although at a higher price, above $7 per 100g/3.5oz)

·         Chocolove (Boulder, CO) They have 24 flavours in 90g (3.2oz) bars, and three of these are certified Organic and certified Fair Trade (by FairTradeUSA), including: a Cherries in Dark Chocolate bar, a Currants and Almonds in Dark Chocolate bar and a simple 73% Dark Chocolate bar. To ensure that you feel extra-good about your purchase, you will find a love poem inside the wrapper.

·         Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-Op (Wolfville, NS) Although this Eastern Canadian co-op got its beginnings in Fair Trade coffee, they opened a chocolate factory in Hantsport, Nova Scotia in 2005 and now sell a range of 100 gram organic chocolate bars, as well as 42 gram bars and 35 grams bars (check the product list here).

·         Zazubean Organic Chocolates (Vancouver, BC) Fair Trade certified and 100% organic, Zazubean makes dark chocolate from bean-to-bar with really unique and totally awesome flavours. Currently their chocolate is only available in Canada– check the store locator for a location near you:

·         Theo Chocolate(Seattle, WA) Founder, Joe Whinney pioneered the supply of organic cocoa beans into the U.S. in 1994. ECI Vanilla Nib 65% Dark Chocolate bar and Pili Pili Chili 65% Dark Chocolate bar are Organic and Fair Trade Certified by IMO. All their bars are organic and Fair Trade certified and the beans are sourced from farms in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Peru. Products are now offered at more than 4,000 retail outlets across the U.S.A. They are also a bean-to-bar chocolate company.

·         Endangered Species (Indianapolis, IN) Endangered Species has a slightly different spin on their certified organic chocolate. They focus on protecting the species within the Rainforests where cocoa beans grow and they educate their chocolate-eating consumers by providing information about particular types of endangered species on the inside of the chocolate bar wrappings. Although they do not list "certified Fair Trade" on the label, they are Rainforest Alliance certified and state that farmer's are paid fairly. They have a range of five organic chocolate bars in a 3 oz size.

·         Newman's Own Organics (Connecticut, U.S.A.) sells a series of chocolate bars that are organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified (not listed as "Fair Trade" specifically). They offer six flavours in both 3.25 oz and 2.25 oz sized packages. You can find more information on their flavours, ingredients and nutritional information here. You can find Newman's Own Organics at a variety of retailers all through the U.S.A., check here for a retailer near you.


If you know of a widely sold Fair Trade and Organic chocolate bar in North America that should be on this list, please add it to the Comments below and I will check it out and add it to the list! But first, see below for more chocolate bars that 'almost' made the list.

Fair Trade, Organic or Rainforest Alliance Only Chocolate Bars in North America:
Here are a few similar chocolate bars that compete for the same customers in the same market 'space' (i.e. similar packaging and product size, similar pricing, and a focus on Social Responsibility and Environmental Sustainability) but are not labelled as both Fair Trade and Organic:

Organic-Only Chocolate Bars:

·         Divine Chocolate (Washington, DC) Divine chocolate was started by a co-operative in Ghana that was known for ensuring fair prices to farmers. It has since invested its chocolate income into schools, water, medical clinics and other infrastructure that assists the farmers who grow the cacao. The chocolate bars are sold in the U.S. and the U.K., and in fact, I think I have purchased one in Canada. All of their ingredients are certified as Fair Trade. Although it did not make my above list because ingredients are not also listed as 'organic', it does compete direclty within the same market space as it is $3.99 per 3.5 oz/100 gram bar (according to Divine's U.S.A. shop online site).

·         PC Organics(TM) European Chocolate (Canada) President's Choice 'Organics' brand includes organic 100 gram chocolate bars, including a 'European Extra Dark Chocolate' bar which is an 85% dark, a 70% 'European Dark', a 'European Milk Chocolate' bar and a milk chocolate with raisins and hazelnuts.

·         Dagoba Organic Chocolate (San Francisco, CA & Ashland, OR) Dagoba is a brand of organic chocolate that is well-known in North America. It was purchased by Hershey's in 2006, so it is now more widely available. I might have included it in the listing above, but there are a few reasons why I placed it in the 'other' list: 1. The price is above the range outlined above. On Dagoba's website, the price is $3.45 (U.S.) for the 56 gram chocolate bars, which would place it just over the $6 mark. Also, it is not certified as Fair Trade, but rather Rainforest Alliance certified. They also purchase their beans directly from farmers in Peru, Tanzania and the Dominican Republic, and some consider direct trade to be better than Fair Trade. They also have organic chocolate bars for baking in 170 gram (6 oz) sizes, which you can learn more about here.

·         Trader Joe's Organic Chocolate Bars (U.S.A.) In their numerous stores across the U.S.A., Trader Joe's sells two kinds of store-branded organic chocolate bars: a 73% Super Dark chocolate bar and the same dark bar with the addition of Almonds. Like Dagoba, this chocolate is organic, but not Fair Trade certified. Also, Trader Joe's has an affinity for beating out the competition on price, with a list price of only $1.99 (U.S.) per 3.5 oz (100g) bar.

·         Nativa™ Organics Chocolate (Shopper's Drug Mart, Canada-wide)- This is a Shopper's Drug Mart brand that is a part of their organic product line, Nativa™. There is very little online information about this product, other than a blog article that I have written and a blurry image on the Shopper's website. Although not listed as Fair Trade, these chocolate bars are clearly designed to compete within the Organic and Fair Trade market space. The chocolate bars are 100 grams and come in three flavours: milk, milk with hazelnut and dark chocolate.

Fair Trade-Only Chocolate Bars:

·         President's Choice Fair Trade Chocolate (Canada) The PC brand offers two chocolate bars that are Fair Trade Certified by Transfair Canada, including a 100 gram 70% Dark Chocolate bar made from Peruvian cocoa beans and a 100 gram Fair Trade Milk Chocolate Bar made from cocoa beans of Ecuador. These are sold at all grocery stores that sell President's Choice products (Loblaws, Superstore, Valumart) all across Canada. 

Rainforest Alliance-Only Chocolate Bars:

·         Bissinger's (St. Louis, MO) - Bissinger's sell a range of 3.5 oz (99 gram) bars that are Rainforest Alliance Certified, which promotes the maintenance of eco-systems and sustainable farming. They promote their chocolate as being European but using 100% African Beans for a "Richer Chocolate Taste". I find their dark chocolate (Bissinger's 60% and 75% chocolate bar) tastes very similar to many commercially sold 60% to 80% chocolate bars that are 100 gram (3.5 oz) in size, such as Lindt, Godiva, and President's Choice's 60% to 80% dark chocolate bars, made from mixed Forasterro beans and strong vanilla extract flavour. I liked their 38% Milk Chocolate Bar very much. Their chocolate is labelled as "All Natural" as well as "Gluten-Free".

Lisabeth's Disclaimer:

The list above and market analysis is based solely on my observation of the market from a highly-engaged consumer's perspective for the last 10 years, as well as complementary market research. I have a natural need to analyze market space, since I have a whole lot of experience in competitive research and analysis from my former career in marketing and degrees in business marketing. In order to understand any market space, I always need to know who all the players are and develop lists of them, their prices, their ingredients and their marketing messages in order to learn more about the competitive behaviours within it.

So if you have concerns with my above analysis of the market, please do add your concerns or suggested modifications to the Comments below. I am always open to learning more about chocolate!