Tag Archives: organic

Original Beans – Edel Weiss 40%, Organic White Chocolate, Dominican Republic


Bron: Original Beans – Edel Weiss 40%, Organic White Chocolate, Dominican Republic


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Mai Nguyen

Moet ik vertellen dat Mai een klantje is die sinds korte tijd de weg gevonden heeft naar chocolade, en wat voor chocolade!

Marou natuurlijk, chocolade uit haar geboorteland Vietnam. Mai Nguyen is afkomstig uit Hanoi en studeert in Kortrijk marketing. Verlekkerd op chocolade en vooral veel interesse op de haar favoriete winkel in Kortrijk, patisserie-chocolaterie Vercruysse. Het uitgangbord trekt steeds haar aandacht en lees verder uit het artikel van “Gie & ik”, magazine vol verhalen en mensen uit Kortrijk.

Scan0001Mai Nguyen weet waar goede & eerlijke chocolade te vinden is.



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Organic chocolate under threat


Organic chocolate under threat.


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The Brazilian Forest Chocolate

Although Brazil is one of the world’s top producers of cacao, Brazilian chocolate, on the other hand, has received very little attention. The common, everyday chocolate found on market shelves in Brazil is formulated with a higher fat content to add flavor and has less cacao compared to chocolate found in the U.S. and Europe. To put it frankly, even the most desperate chocolate connoisseur wouldn’t get near the stuff.


The cacao trees are planted in the shadow of the Atlantic rainforest. In each area, there’s an emphasis on maximizing fruits and plants grown there, through the process of pollination. For example, the jupará is a monkey that eats cacao and throws the pits around the forest. This monkey is a big proponent of cacao, just like the birds. In accordance with each species, specific flowers are pollinated and widespread throughout the areas, so there’s a combination of new elements. Man also influences things. Various trees of diverse fruits are planted together with cacao. In the end, when it’s time to taste the chocolate, an educated palate can recognize the complexity.

What are the challenges you faced in maintaining everything organic?

In the beginning, the resistance of the old farmers, resistant to accept that our methods gave results. I’m talking about the workers at the farms. But soon, they saw that the fruits were healthier. Today, the farmers believe in organic management and use our methods. There’s an evident rebirth in the region, through the organic culture.

What benefits do your workers receive?

On the farms, workers are our partners, so we share the profits of our sales. In the factory, we have 20 workers. There, as well, we want everyone to take part in the profits.

Why the sudden push now in Brazil for better quality chocolate?

Premium chocolate, or terroir, appeared in the last nine, 10 years. With Amma, things began to change when we started planting organic cocoa, also during that same time. The Brazilian rainforest has the biggest biodiversity per square meter on the planet. And our cocoa is planted in its shade. We have in the composition of our fruits, the essence of the richest elements on Earth!

AmmaChocolates-image-4 AmmaChocolates-image5

“Our chocolate is organically elaborated from beans coming from trees planted beneath the shade of the Atlantic Rainforest, in the South of Bahia – the biggest biodiversity per square meter in the planet. The cacao beans that will soon become AMMA’s sophisticated chocolate are selected in the Rio de Contas valley, in Itacaré, Bahia, Brazil. These beans, children of the rainforest and its biodiversity, give rise to the rich nuances characterizing AMMA’s flavor.”

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Chocolate Forever 12 Problems with knowledge application


1 The use of alternative inputs
In Ghana, spraying against pests is seen as very important by farmers and is even mandatory under goverment policy. The goverment conducts a countrywide mass-praying programme with chemical pesticedes. AgroEco -LBI succeeded in convincing the goverment that organic pesticides on the basis of neem seeds could provide a viable alternative to chemical pesticides. However, this was neither an easy nor a quick process.

First, the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) had to test the neem seeds, lasting two years and costing $700.000,- before they were finally approved for use. However, whereas convential farmers are sprayed for free, AgroEco – LBI was charged with paying for the praying with the organic farmers. AgroEco-LBI responded by collecting neem seeds in the North of the country, bringing them to the farmers and training farmers on how to make the neem concoction for the sprayings. However, CRIG decided that the quality of this mixture was not adequate and insisted on the use of bottled neem from India in order for the product to become part of the mass-spraying scheme. (which results in a fourfold increase in price). Fortunately, the effort of AgroEco-LBI was in the end succesful and currently in some cocoa growing districts the neem concoction is used in the spraying programme.


2 Shade management
Organic cocoa plantations are biologically diverse and naturally have lots of shades areas. Over the years AgroEco-LBI discovered that cocoa farmers that employ good shade management have hardly any problems with insects. To monitor and to further publicise this process, a project was set up uears ago by Natural Resources Institute (NRI) and CRIG, financed by the Department for International Development in the UK. Pheromone traps for capturing insects were developed and made available to CRIG; however, CRIG still needs to secure a funded project in order to pay for the deployment of the traps.


3 Bringing technology to the farm
Biological pest and disease management in cocoa farming has been a major area of research and has been explored by numerous international institutes and companies, such as the French Agricultural Research for Development Centre (CIRAD), Mars, and the United States Department of Agriculture. Some successful experiments have been conducted and have produced positive results, e.g., using Trichoderma to combat Black Pod disease. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of such alternative inputs has been tested only in isolated experimental plots; the inputs have not yet been made readily available to farmers and have not been integrated in the training curricula provided to farmers (e.g., in the integrated pest management -IPM- strageties taught in the FFS). This is a typical example of a technology that is fully developed but is still on the shelf. AgroEco-LBI, together with the Royal Tropical Institute and Tradin Organic Agriculture (a Dutch trader is a world leader in organic commodities), responded to this problem by drafting a proposal for large-scale application of Trichoderma, together with local partners, in Cameroon and Togo.

Pictures provided by Finca La Amistad Costa Rica

next time: Cocoa research in the UK


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The best cocoa in the world is piurano.

Source: October 16, 2012  News – Communications Piura

Venezuela is not the only country known for cocoa. Peru, with its cocoa Piura, has reached the same fame of Venezuela and its product is applied by the world’s most demanding chocolate. The Quemazón cocoa just get the Gold Award as the best cocoa in the world, during the contest held in London by The International Chocolate Awards 2012.

Eduardo Espinoza, producer of La Quemazón Cepicafé specialist in regard to cocoa, said that this award is a challenge, “not only for me but for all those who make up Cepicafe for producers to Piura and Peru. Producers, local, regional and central government, we must join forces and continue working to demand more in quality and to meet the requirements of each of the chocolatiers who buy our product. ”

The organizers decided to award the best source of cocoa, to go to the farmer, association, cooperative or locality that provides this product that delights the most discerning palates from all continents. With this decision of the jury, La Quemazón is the best area for the best cocoa production in the world.

Among the best in class chocolates

In regard to chocolates, dark plain on the category, the Chocolate Pacari of Ecuador won a Gold Award and Silver Award. The Gold Award winner, was made with 70% cacao Raw – Organic and Biodynamic, while the Silver Award winner, was made with 70% cocoa Piura-burning, produced in our region.

The Grand Final 2012 was held in London in Chocolate Week 2012, where finalists were presented 600 products from every continent, among those finalists Piura was the cocoa and chocolate cocoa produced in Ecuador to Piura.


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Gender & Certified Value Chains.

This is what I learned and wanted to share after seeing the dvd received at the Origin Chocolate Event Amsterdam.

Global standard-setting organisations fro example, organic, Fair-Trade, Utz, 4C, Rainforest Alliance aim to improve the social, envirinmenttal, economic, and health and safety conditions for agricultural productions and processing. These organisations work to continuously improve their standards contributing to sustainable and inclusive value chain development.

The featured film captures key learning and experiences from a workshop on gender equity in global certified coffee, tea and cocoa value chains. It includes interviews with representatives from producer organisations, support services, standard setting organisations and certification bodies as well as the private sector.

Learning session in Kenia on gender & certified value chains.

What are the challenges?

If we look at like certification like organic, the standard that is audited by an organisation like Soil Association, we find that mainly it looks at the good agricultural practices. But when you look further, at the social aspects such as equity and non discrimination plus other social aspects they are not addressed in the standards. And until such aspects have been captured in the standards, thant’s the only written fact that they will be implemented uniformly across of the production sites, wheter in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania or anywhere else in the world.

So in fact that, as of now, various growers may come up with their own initiatives and implement but that may not be replicated in other growing sites across the various countries where certification is implemented.

“Social issues are not addressed adequately in many global standards.”

Local initiatives can be a source of learning for further development of standards.

Thank to Anna Lavan, research en development of the KIT,  sharing me the DVD Gender&Certfied Value Chains.

Also I would like to share the following  DIRECT CACAO A new voice for fine cacao and chocolate.

Direct is a new organisation seeking to preserve and protect fien cacao through respect, value and mutual benefit for consumers and chocolate producers.

We believe that the only way to guarantee the future of fine cacao, and so the future of great fine chocolate, is by making sure that the farmers are properly rewarded for the cacao they produce. This can only be achieved through close links between the consumer, chocolate company and cacao farmer.

We aim to create a sustainable cycle based on quality and taste through short-chain Directly Traded fiencacao. We believe taht this is essential for preserving the environment, the livelihoods of farmer and for creating great tasting chocolate.

We NOT believe that ethical labeling schermes can achieve this and in fact can actually be detrimental to a fair and equitable trade in cacao.

Direct Cacao brings together chocolate makers and companies, chocolatiers, cacao growers and companies and independents to begin a new relationship based on a true respect for fine cacao.


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