Madécasse chocolate – update


I received this newsletter recently from Madécasse chocolates, and thought that it was too interesting not to share with you. I love chocolate, as I’m sure many of us do, but I also love the environment. And in order for a healthy, viable environment to be around for many, many more years to come, to grow wonderful tasting cacao, we need to support those that are trying their best to treat it well within their production methods. Also for our own health’s sake, ‘what you put in is what you get out’! While Madécasse chocolate may not be the cheapest in the shop, it is definitely one of the more responsibly farmed and produced chocolates around, from bean to bar. So eat less, if need be, but buy responsibly and please read the ‘How chocolate can save a forest’ story below.  For more information check out my previous post or go onto their website to find out about this amazing, innovative company, beautiful and informative pictures and videos, how and why they started, and the different varieties of chocolate that they produce. I have seen this chocolate available at my local Spar and Pick n Pay, but will keep a look out for other suppliers too.

How Chocolate Can Save a Forest

An unexpected by-product of making chocolate in Madagascar is the effect cocoa farms can have on original forests. Cocoa trees need shade to grow – so to grow more cocoa, we need to replant more shade giving trees. Those shade trees plus the cocoa creates a “buffer zone” between unsustainable farming practices and the natural forests. The more bars we need to produce, the more cocoa we need to plant, and the bigger the buffer gets. So plants and animals found nowhere else on the planet are actually protected because of your Madécasse chocolate bar purchases.

So, what are the cacao farms like?

The first time visitors walk into the cacao fields, they are overwhelmed by how little they resemble our notion of a family farm – it’s more like stumbling deep into the fabled forests of Madagascar. Banana trees, endemic woods and bushes are found interlaced among the cacao. Birds of all kinds fly by, and lemur families can be heard “yipping” just out of view. The surroundings are surprisingly untouched and serene.

Such natural, diverse conditions are crucial to our cacao’s survival and our chocolate’s flavor profile. These rare varieties of cacao – called Criollo (cree-yo-yo) and Trinitario – are legendary not only for the purity of their flavor, but also for their sensitivity to disease in “mono-crop” farming environments. Our farming partners and technicians use diverse trees and plants that feed nutrients back into the soil, while also adding locally-made compost rich in cacao pod shells.

 

This “nurtured in nature” process contributes to so much of the flavors and sensations found in every Madécasse bar. And with this month’s harvest looking to be one of our most fruitful yet, expect even more of the same!

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