Why it’s important to know where your chocolate ingredients come from.

 

Let’s talk ingredients! Because delicious, exceptional chocolate is only as good as the ingredients it’s made with.

 

Throughout my chocolate journey, the people who have influenced me the most have put the quality and sourcing of their chocolate above everything else. With Liberty Chocolates, I continue that tradition of going the extra mile to make sure the ingredients I am using are both excellent quality and ethically sourced.

People should be able to know where their food comes from! I am happy to share exactly how my ingredients are sourced because I am proud of where they come from and how they are produced.

Cacao production varies widely around the world, and it’s no secret that some of the practices for growing and harvesting cacao negatively affect the farmers, the land, and the communities that surround them.

The path from bean to bar can be long and winding, which makes it difficult to know exactly how the chocolate you are eating came to be. However, it is possible to find cacao that is both high quality and responsibly grown.

 

 

Cacao

Cacao

My first priority when sourcing cacao is to find a company that is transparent about their supply chain so that I know how and where it is produced.

I have found an amazing family-owned company, Agostoni, that believes the same. Agostoni is transparent in their sourcing and practices and their products are fair-trade and organic.

They work closely with their farmers in order to ensure that the farming practices are in line with their philosophy, “We demand the highest quality fermented beans from our farming partners. We will not trade if the trade harms our partner or the ecology of the farming region.”

More information about Agostini family philosophy on how cacao can be responsibly grown and sourced can be found on their about page.

 

 

Honey

Honey

Of course, when you are making honey sweetened chocolate, you need to source the best honey!

Living in Vermont, I am lucky enough to be surrounded by a lot of local honey and one day I hope to be able to source my honey from apiaries within New England. For now, in order to ensure that the honey I use is organic, I obtain it from Brazil. Currently it is very hard to find organic honey within the U.S. for several reasons.

At this time there are no organic standards for honey in the United States because honeybees forage in a 2 to 2 1/2-mile radius of their colonies. Therefore, it is almost impossible to source within the US and ensure that the honey I am using is organic.

My goal is to find a New England apiary that has honey from “clean fields”, i.e. fields untreated with pesticides (this includes herbicides and insecticides). It is a sourcing process I am still working on, as I would like, ideally, to have my honey be local (or at least domestic) and clean (essentially organic, even if it can’t be certified as organic).

When that happens, I will be sure to let all of my followers know, so stay tuned!

 

 

Other Ingredients

Other Ingredients

I also source products (nuts, dried fruit, etc) through Azure Standard https://www.azurestandard.com/healthy-living/about-us/  I like the folks at Azure Standard because they are so much more than just a distributor of organic foods (you can learn more on that page). For instance:  “In keeping with our core values, Azure is willing to go beyond organic here on our own farms and orchards in Oregon, to embody our mission of healthy and abundant living.”

A Commitment to Quality and Responsibility

There are so many reasons why I love to make small- batch, artisan chocolate. First off, it just tastes better than anything you can buy that is mass produced. And secondly, I love to know that what is going into the chocolate pot in my kitchen is of the highest quality all around.  

If you have any questions regarding the ingredients I use or the farmers who grow and produce them, please leave me a note in the comments. I will happily do my best to answer all your questions and I always love to hear from fellow chocolate lovers!

Cheers,

Katie