Something about the holidays makes me go chocolate crazy. I want it…all the time. I had about three months in early pregnancy where I couldn’t stand the thought of anything dark, milky or bittersweet, but now I’m back, baby. I’m back. Luckily, chocolate doesn’t have to be entirely self-indulgent. There are a few companies out there giving consumers the chance to be more conscious–and even charitable–in the way they do chocolate.
Here are my Top 4 Picks for Charitable Chocolate this season. Enjoy!
1. In the market for straight-up chocolate bars? Buy fair-trade chocolate from companies that make sure small-scale farmers receive higher and more stable prices for their cocoa. My favorites include Equal Exchange (try the Organic Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt – pure love) and Alter Eco Fair Trade (Organic Dark Quinoa Chocolate – can you say superfood?)
2. Need a last-minute holiday treat for your friends or clients? Baking for Good sells gourmet cookies and brownies, delivered all over the country. Here’s the kicker: 15% of the net proceeds from every purchase supports a charity you choose. That’s right. So not only are you able to sample from rich chocolate brownies, oatmeal or chai sandwich cookies or (say it with me…) WHOOPIE PIES, you can do so for cause close to your heart. The company partners with a number of nonprofits serving the environment, the arts, kids, health, human rights, hunger – you name it. (Speaking of hunger…they also offer vegan and gluten-free cookies as well – citrus, granola, peanut butter…mmm.)
3. There’s nothing like home sweet home, especially when it involves cookies. Dancing Deer Baking Company launched the Sweet Home Project – their way of helping to end family homelessness. Buy a Sweet Home gift or goodies, and the company (in partnership with One Family, Inc.) will donate 35% of the retail price directly to scholarships to homeless parents and their children, helping them find education, jobs and move into houses of their own. I like the “Sweet Home Pick,” which includes a Dark Chocolate House Cookie, Deep Dark Gingerbread Cake (serves 6-8) and 16 Molasses Clove Cookies ($39.95). Yum!
4. Everyday choices really make a difference, including what we choose to snack on. Instead of grabbing any old energy bar, you can now go for one that feeds your hunger as well as others’. For every Two Degrees bar you buy, the company donates a meal to a hungry child. Their mission is to empower consumers to help feed 200 million children through just two degrees of separation. (Wonder what Kevin Bacon would say about this…?) I love these bars – they come in Chocolate Peanut, Cherry Almond and Apple Pecan, are chock full of real fruits, nuts and whole grains. You can buy a box of 9 for $19.95, or buy them individually at stores like Whole Foods.
Am I missing any cool, conscious companies that give people one more reason to eat chocolate? (…as if you need another reason.) Let me hear from you! I look forward to your comments.
Happy holidays everyone – and happy chocolate.