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Chocolates with a heart

An arrangement of broken milk chocolate blocks, shot overhead on a rustic worn wooden background, using natural daylight.  

I am an unabashed chocolate fanatic and always keep enough stock of fine dark chocolates. Pardon me for claiming to be obsessed with chocolates. It’s their irresistible dark beauty that I am passionate about.

A few weeks before the lockdown, I received a parcel which appeared to be grocery and put it away in the storeroom. A few days later, on examining it closely, I saw peeping through the bubble wrap, pieces of dark chocolate. I frantically tore open the wrap and to my delicious surprise, my most preferred dark chocolates from Ecuador tumbled out. Various other brands too emerged majestically from the carton. I was thus blissfully stocked for the lockdown.

I love sharing my passion with special friends and so one winter morning, I offered a friend coffee with a voluptuous chocolate. He snapped it into two and decided to gobble the half in his hand. Though chocolate lovers often joke, “Don’t bite off more than you can chew unless it is a chocolate,” I didn’t appreciate his gluttony. From the cacao farmer in the Congo to the truck driver in Brazil and the chocolate lover in Chandigarh, we all would loudly proclaim unanimously that it is the food of the gods. Theo, my most favourite organic chocolate, has the generic name derived from the Greek words theos, meaning god, and broma, signifying food.

Sadly, we forget the fallout of colonialism in Africa or Central America, which remain economically on the decline, whereas the corporate chocolate tycoons loot the disadvantaged in these regions of their rich supply of cocoa and coffee beans.

Blood, sweat and tears

No credit seems to be given to those who expend blood, sweat and tears in the killing fields of the developing world for negligible returns.

However, to end this age-old abuse, the Fair Trade Organization has stepped in to help producers achieve sustainable and equitable international trading. It warms my heart that profits from various companies have been channelled into buying bicycles for seven million Africans.

Moreover, steps have been taken to incentivise farmers by offering fair prices for their beans and allowing them to share in the manufacturing process right up to the tasting stage. An additional base price is paid for quality beans. Fair Trade partnerships believe in the dictum of “bean-to-bar” process, signifying the elimination of middlemen who heartlessly pocket millions from “blood chocolates”.

The ideology behind the production of organic dark chocolates helps develop a more compassionate and enduring world where the profits go not into the pockets of the some, but are used for the welfare of farmers from Congo to Dominican Republic and Guatemala to Brazil.

shelleywalia@gmail.com


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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 7:10:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/chocolates-with-a-heart/article31986429.ece

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