Thursday, September 3, 2009

Vegan Chocolate Exists

Oh yes, it does.

OK - all you pedants are gonna say "but... chocolate is vegan!" Sure it is, but most of the time those chocolate bars you buy from the store are almost always made with milk, or "milk solids" (what the heck is a milk "solid"?) ...and er, after reading up about what really constitutes "milk", it's just some form of white liquid (after pasteurizing, homogenizing... what's really left of the supposed "good stuff"?)

Oh, did I also mention that a certain percentage of pus is allowed in milk? PUS IN YOUR MILK?! SIC. Google it. It's from the poor cows who get mastitis - a mammary gland infection from constant milk-pumping. And it all leaks into your yummy glass of milk. (Healthy levels of somatic cell count in a healthy cow is 200,000 cells per ml, Australia allows up to 400,000 cells per ml. That's double the pus count. GROSS!)

Hang on, how did I digress so far into yet another gross post? I apologize.

But before I move on, that's just from a what-are-you-eating point-of-view, I'd mentioned the ethical treatment of the dairy cows (and other animals) in a previous post before so I won't get into that now.

So you see here folks, considering all of the above and how I love chocolate, I was trying to find something that didn't contain milk in it.

Enter Cocolo chocolate. Mmmmmmmmm...

I found them through Twitter, and their marketing people have confirmed that only their dark chocolate versions are vegan (although it's made on the same production line that makes their other milk chocolate varieties, hence there's a disclaimer on the pack that says "may contain traces of milk").

Other than being vegan-friendly, they're also Fair Trade, giving all the farmers along the way a fair deal. Why is this a big deal, you ask? Did you know that there's a strong link between chocolate and slavery?

Seriously, in this day & age, 43% of the chocolate consumed in this world is sourced from cocoa fields in the Ivory Coast in West Africa. In these fields, something like 12,000 children work as slaves (these are just the ones trafficked, kidnapped and forced to work... in total, you're talking about some 600,000 children working these fields).

So how come Nike gets all the bad press about child labour, and there's not enough on Nestle? (child SLAVERY is worse!)

Fair Trade basically gives the poor, disadvantaged farmers a fair deal, and also helps educate them in good/ fair business practices.

So apart from all this good karmic energy, here's more of the good stuff of what's actually in their 70% dark chocolate. Did I mention they use evaporated cane juice instead of sugar? While both sweeteners are made from sugar cane, evaporated cane juice does not undergo the same degree of processing that refined sugar does. So, unlike refined sugar, it retains more of the nutrients found in sugar cane.

With all of this good stuff in there, you'd expect this to be an absolute premium chocolate, only available in specialty health stores. Well, it is available in the usual-suspects-health-stores, but it's ALSO available in Coles supermarkets.

Yeah, good stuff for the masses too! At not a bad price - $4.50 a bar, slightly higher than your average slave-labour-Nestle, but I'd pay 50 cents more knowing my purchase goes towards the greater good.

The taste verdict? Absolutely velvety-smooth dark chocolate. Pure awesomeness. I always end up buying 2 bars at a time for "just in case", if that tells you anything (oh, and I won't share my bars with Kelly either).

Cocolo website in Australia here. And you can also follow them on Twitter @cocolochocolate

This was supposed to be a short-ish post, how did I get here (again)?! Call me long-winded, but I've got lots more to report on my yoga practice (handstands to dropover to backbend and stand up!) and the Xray report at the Osteopath (man, it's big news, and I'm still coming to terms with being a bit of a spinal freak. Still processing this)... so watch this space for those updates in the next week or so!

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