Friday, November 4, 2016

Learning About Chocolate: Tony's Chocolonely Taught Me Something

Most of you know I enjoy doing food and product reviews. There is so much to taste and experience out there! I was hit over my socially conscience head last week when I received a box from Tony's Chocolonely in the mail.

They bill themselves as "slave-free." Well, aren't chocolate bars slave free in this day and age? I guess not.

Tony's Chocolonely was founded in 2005 by Dutch journalist Teun van de Keukey (Tony) when he discovered the world's largest chocolate companies were buying cocoa from plantations that used child slavery. According to a recent study by Tulane University, more than 2 million children were found in hazardous working conditions in the cocoa production industry in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. After learning these facts, van de Keuken ate 12 chocolate bars and turned himself in to the police as a "chocolate criminal," stating that he had purchased an illegally manufactured product. When the trial didn't result in his conviction, he decided to start a chocolate company, Tony's Chocolonely, a company dedicated to creating a 100 percent slave-free chocolate industry.

You never know what the mail will bring!
Tony's Chocolonely grew to be the largest Dutch chocolate company in less than 10 years. The company launched their chocolate in Portland, Ore. this last Fall. Today, the colorfully wrapped chocolate bars are available for purchase throughout the U.S. via the company's website and at selected locations (like the grocery stores right down the street from me).

Their mission is to change the industry by making 100 percent slave-free the norm in chocolate. But are the bars good? Well, to start, the bars are really big. They weigh 6 oz. each. And they are not portioned in squares or rectangles. You can snap off a small piece or large piece. Your choice.

Oh my goodness!
So are they good? Well, in the interest of investigative journalism, I tried my favorite flavor... the Dark Chocolate. It was excellent... very dark, barely sweet and not at all bitter. Their Dark Chocolate bar contains at least 70% cacao, that's a lot of cocoa beans. This pure chocolate delicacy is designed for the true chocolate lover, says Tony's. They listed the ingredients: Cocoa mass*, sugar*, cocoa butter*, soy lecithin.  Cocoa solids 70% min. All natural. *Meaning fairly traded.

Also in the box were samples of their other flavors. They offer small and large size bars. 

The chocolate is delicious, the company mission is great and the packaging will bring a smile to your face. I am glad I learned about Tony's Chocolonely!