Bean-to-bar is all the rage now! Which is basically, all non-Mexicans and #whitexicans going hipster about it, back to basics like regular native Mesoamericans have been doing it for about 4000 years. I get it, not everyone has cacao trees growing in their backyard, like people in Chiapas, Oaxaca, Tabasco and Guerrero in Mexico do, so there's no reason why we should know what to do with the fruit. Yes, spoiler alert: Cacao is a fruit!
Chocolate is made by taking cacao beans and processing them. This process involves a number of steps, including sourcing the beans, fermenting, peeling, roasting, and grinding the beans into a smooth paste. But a key aspect of bean-to-bar production is the use of ethical cacao; beans that are sourced in a way that is socially and environmentally responsible (which is not that hard, but big companies don't want you to think so...)
Several factors contribute to the ethical production of cacao, which vary depending on the specific region and type of bean being grown. But, in general, ethical cacao production includes:
Take into account that a fair payment means that yes, you pay more for the chocolate, because the money is going to the workers, not a large company that is enslaving others! Also using ethical cacao is not only the right thing to do, but it leads to higher quality chocolate. Beans that are grown using sustainable farming practices and treated with care are more likely to be of a higher quality, resulting in a better-tasting chocolate, so we all win.
By choosing chocolate brands that prioritize ethical cacao sourcing, consumers (yes, that's you reading this!) can play a role in sending the signal to larger companies and other consumers that a more sustainable and equitable cacao industry is the way to go.
Thanks for reading!