Chocolates for Valentines Day That You Can Feel Good About (Fair Trade, Organic, and no GMOs!)

February 4, 2010 · 37 comments

valentine chocolates

UPDATE:  Be sure to read the comments for more information and ingredients you may be concerned about…

I’ve been doing fairly well with low-carbing it lately and have had no sweets for a couple weeks or more (and haven’t even had cravings, now that I think about it), so when the opportunity to write a post about Valentine chocolates came up…well, sometimes post research just has to happen, ya know?

Kal’s Dream Words

It’s not very often that I say to our teenager, “Do you want some chocolate?”  It’s funny how their hearing kicks in sometimes isn’t it?  He was happy to run this errand for me.

Note:  I am not receiving any compensation or chocolate for writing this post, I’m only bringing my fellow chocolate lovers and those who avoid GMOs into the loop. :)  UPDATE:  A week after posting this I did indeed receive some free chocolate from the company, yippee!!

GMOs in Chocolate?

I first heard about this chocolate company from NJ, who works with Jeffrey Smith and the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT).  They lead the way in the fight to get GMOs out of our food supply.  (Read more about GMO dangers and some GMO FAQ’s.  Also, thanks to IRT and their coalition partners, you never have to be unsure about which foods are safe to eat again.  You can download their FREE Non-GMO Shopping Guide and then please don’t forget to thank them for their service to you with a donation.)

Great News for Chocolate Lovers!

What I learned about Green & Black’s is that not only are their chocolates organic, which means no GMOs, high fructose corn syrup or other junk, but it turns out they also just issued a press release announcing a commitment to move its entire worldwide chocolate range to Fair Trade.

Below are more details:

  • G&Bs_Logo_Black With this commitment, Green & Black’s will become the world’s leading 100% organic and 100% Fair Trade Certified chocolate brand.
  • This Fair Trade commitment will provide farmers with the security of fair prices.
  • Green & Black’s will make an additional monetary investment of $485,000 per year for the next ten years for social, environmental and economic development in the farmers’ communities.

And best of all, their chocolates are available in a couple stores right near us!  Find a store near you.  They taste dreamy. Trust me on this.

So what do you do for Valentines day?  Do you always buy chocolates for someone in your life?

If you’re interested in the entire press release, I’ve copied it below, and you can also read about a couple of their divine chocolate bars:

GB-US-sml_bar_toffee Toffee

Our delectable, organic toffee is made by heating sugar along with butter and molasses to create the perfect flavorful blend. This full, concentrated flavor allows the crunchy toffee pieces to punch their way through our intense 34% cocoa-rich milk chocolate. Available in 3.5oz bars.

Chocolate PeanutGreen and Blacks Peanut Bar Image

With just one taste, you’ll see why our newest chocolate bar is anything but plain peanut. From the smooth, full-bodied 37% milk chocolate to the crisply caramelized organic peanuts, to the final bright hint of sea salt, every layer is more indulgent than the next. Naturally, you won’t want to share.

GREEN & BLACK’S COMMITS TO MOVE ENTIRE CHOCOLATE RANGE TO FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED IN UNITED STATES

Parsippany, NJ (January 27, 2010) Pioneering organic chocolate maker Green & Black’s today announces its commitment to move its entire chocolate range, worldwide, to Fair Trade – including the United States. Fifteen years ago Green & Black’s led the Fair Trade movement by launching Maya Gold® – the first ever Fair Trade Certified™ product in the United Kingdom. In the United States, Green & Black’s is the number one chocolate in the Natural channel[1]. Green & Black’s entire range is already organic, and thanks to continued expansion around the world, this move will make Green & Black’s the world’s leader in organic and Fair Trade chocolate.

Fair Trade is a unique independent system providing farmers with the security of fair prices for their produce and additional investment through the Fair Trade premium for social, environmental and economic development in their communities. The Fair Trade premium is in addition to a guaranteed minimum price for fair trade certified ingredients.

Today’s commitment will mean an investment of more than $485,000 each year over the next 10 years through additional Fair Trade premiums paid to Dominican Republic cocoa farmers and their communities. Green and Black’s has bought quality, organic Trinitario cocoa beans from cooperatives in the Dominican Republic over the last 10 years and these farmers are now the main source of cocoa for Green & Black’s.

“In that time we have committed $500,000 in local initiatives to improve quality and availability, but we wanted to do more to support our farmers,” says Dominic Lowe, Managing Director of Green & Black’s. “The move to Fair Trade certification is a key milestone in our relationship with the farmers that are so fundamental in the making of the best tasting, premium, organic, and now Fair Trade, chocolate you can buy.”

Paul Rice, President and CEO of TransFair USA comments “Green & Blacks’ 15-year history of sourcing Fair Trade Certified cocoa has made an impressive difference in the Belizean farming communities from which it sources, and we are thrilled with the company’s deepened commitment to ethical trading. This expansion will extend the benefits of Fair Trade to thousands of farmers in the Dominican Republic, empowering them to take care of their families, protect the environment and improve their communities.”

Mr. Santos Mendoza, president of CONACADO, a co-operative in the Dominican Republic where Green & Black’s sources most of its signature, fine and fermented Trinitario cocoa beans says of the move: “The great thing about Fair Trade is that it enables cocoa farmers and organizations like ours to have a say in shaping our future through directly talking and working with retailers and companies. Our biggest worry is ensuring that we have a guaranteed market for our cocoa that provides us with a long-term sustainable livelihood. Through the pricing structure and the Fair Trade premium we will be able to both invest in business and in our community to ensure a brighter future for our families and other farmers.”

###

Notes to editors:

· Green & Blacks chocolate bars in the U.S. are expected to start using Fair Trade Certified ingredients by mid 2010 with 100% of its U.S. chocolate range to be Fair Trade Certified and available to Americans by the end of this year. Packaging is expected to begin appearing with the FAIR TRADE mark by late 2010, once all current labels have been exhausted to avoid waste.

About Green and Black’s

Launched in London in 1991 by Craig Sams and Josephine Fairley, Green & Black’s entered the U.S. market in 2007 and has become the best selling chocolate in the natural food channel[2]. The name reveals Green & Black’s key strengths – Green for sustainability and Black to symbolize the deep, rich, dark brown (almost black) color of the chocolate.  Green & Black’s buys only the very best organic cocoa beans grown under the shade of indigenous rainforest trees and alongside other crops.  All Green & Black’s products meet the National Organic Program (NOP) standards set by the USDA, thus giving consumers of organic products an assurance that the product is from a trusted source and matches the high standards of production. For more information, visit www.greenandblacks.com.

Green & Black’s Chocolate Range in the United States:

  • 3.5 oz Milk bar
  • 3.5 oz Dark 70% bar
  • 3.5 oz Dark 85% bar
  • 3.5 oz Mint bar
  • 3.5 oz Hazelnut & Currant bar
  • 3.5 oz Cherry bar
  • 3.5 oz White bar
  • 3.5 oz Maya Gold® bar
  • 3.5 oz Almond bar
  • 3.5 oz Peanut bar
  • 3.5 oz Toffee bar
  • 3.5 oz Espresso bar
  • 3.5 oz Ginger bar
  • 1.2 oz Dark 70% bar
  • 1.2 oz Milk bar
  • 5.3 oz Baking Bar
  • 4.4 oz Cocoa Powder
  • 5.3 oz Hot Chocolate
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  • { 35 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Kathryn February 4, 2010 at 2:46 am

    Oh how I love dark chocolate!!! In Seattle we have Theo’s Organic Chocolate with fair trade, and you can take a tour of the factory! http://www.theochocolate.com and currently they are sending 100% earnings on certian items to help Haiti.
    I also love Endangered Species Organic Chocolate that give 10% of their earnings to help support species, habitat, and humanity! http://www.chocolatebar.com Click on the ingrediants page and they even tell the dangers of GMO’s! Any yes they use fairtrade. They can be found at Wholefoods and Fredmeyer.
    I’ll have to try Green and Black so I can have another favorite!

    Reply

    2 Betsy February 4, 2010 at 5:52 am

    OMG! I LOVE Green & Blacks! This is great news.

    Thanks for doing this important research, Kelly. :)

    Reply

    3 Rachel February 4, 2010 at 7:55 am

    We LOVE Green & Black’s and it’s our choice when we’re on the hunt for chocolate (very easy to find in most stores around us :-D). Our favorites are the Cherry Bar, Mint Bar, and both of their dark chocolates. I also use their Cocoa for baking and for making our little men their hot cocoa (with raw milk, of course!). We like to chop it up and put it in our ice cream sometimes too – it holds up incredibly well in our ice cream maker! Give it a try – you won’t be disappointed! ;-) Blessings for a wonderful day all!

    Reply

    4 rebecca February 4, 2010 at 8:08 am

    Hi Kelly, I had just finished reading all the excellent comments re: GMO chocolate, including Ann Marie’s comments about eating healthy on a budget and two comments about making chocolate chips, then BOOM it all went away. What happened and how can I get it back?

    Reply

    5 Kara February 4, 2010 at 8:25 am

    I also really like the Endangered Species chocolate. Delicious, fair trade, organic, and they donate a percentage (10, I think) to helping various endangered species.

    Reply

    6 Vin - NaturalBias February 4, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Hi Kelly,

    Did you know that Green & Black uses soy lecithin in some of their bars? I know they do in the 70% dark bar. I found another brand that I like much better, but I can’ remember the name. If I remember, I’ll check the name when I’m home.

    Reply

    7 Liz F. February 4, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Hey Kelly…. which is more important, having organic ingredients or avoiding soy? I’ve been buying Lindt 70% dark chocolate bars because they don’t contain soy lecithin. Their ingredient list is: chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter and natural bourbon vanilla beans. Not sure which G&B bars I’ve read the labels of, but I thought they contained soy. Sometimes I justify it and say it’s not GMO soy, but I’m hypothyroid and really try to avoid soy altogether, not only for myself but for my family. Overall, we don’t eat much of the stuff, but sometimes a square (or two) of dark chocolate with a glass of red wine in the evening is so yummy!

    Reply

    8 Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE February 4, 2010 at 11:13 am

    @ Liz

    I heard Kaayla Daniel, author of The Whole Soy Story say on her Underground Wellness radio show interview that she doesn’t worry too much about soy lecithin in things like candy bars — she said it’s such a small amount. She said the things you really need to watch out for are things like tofu, soy milk and soy flour in bread — and soybean oil. But small amounts of soy lecithin here and there won’t hurt you. I”m paraphrasing her but that was basically what she said.

    Reply

    9 christine February 4, 2010 at 11:29 am

    I used to really enjoy Green & Black’s Milk Chocolate bar (with the extra cocao content, it’s like a divine, grown-up chocolate Easter bunny!), but then I caught onto the dangers of milk powders. I’ve scoured my locale fine foods grocers, and even if the ingredients are otherwise pure, fair trade, etc, and I have yet to find a milk chocolate that doesn’t contain milk in powder form.

    Glad to hear about the opinion re: soy lecithin. Some of my favourite chocolates contain it.

    Reply

    10 Peggy February 4, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Personally, because of the “unknown” quality of GMOs, most specifically that they seemingly can alter our body’s functions, irreversibly and permanently, the tradeoff in favor of a teensy bit of soy lecithin is an easy one for me. Green and Black was the chocolate I asked for (and got, isn’t Santa good?) in my Christmas stocking!

    There’s a new bar in my town, a locally-produced bar with only THREE ingredients! I’ve written to the company about whether the sugar they use is GMO. When I hear back, I’ll blog it!

    Reply

    11 charity dasenbrock February 4, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    I would encourage you to check out Shaman’s Chocolate, a not for profit organic fair trade absolutely delicious chocolate

    http://www.shamanchocolate.com

    Reply

    12 JenE February 4, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    I love Green & Black’s!! Now I love them even more! : ) Thanks for the post!

    Reply

    13 Suzanne February 4, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Thanks for this new info. We only buy fair trade chocolate and I always love to hear who we can support. I think I have even seen this brand for sale in CVS pharmacies.

    Reply

    14 Vin - NaturalBias February 4, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Regarding my earlier comment, the brand I’ve been buying is Vivani. I think they’re fair trade as well and I also think their dark chocolate bars taste better than Green & Black’s. Both are tasty though. :)

    Another interesting brand worth checking out that I just learned about is Askinosie.

    Reply

    15 Stacy February 5, 2010 at 2:17 am

    This is great to hear. Mmm..Green and Black’s dark chocolate with toffee. Yum!

    Reply

    16 Gena @ Girl Gone Domestic February 5, 2010 at 2:52 am

    Theo Chocolate is my #1 chocolate choice, they are local to me, and even their milk chocolate bar doesn’t have soy lethicin. They also sponsered a wine & chocolate evening here with Nina Plank, which I so wanted to attend!

    Reply

    17 Craig Sams February 5, 2010 at 5:10 am

    Regarding soy lecithin: there are two ways to ensure that chocolate slips out of the molds cleanly: either add a very small amount of (non-GM) or increase the cocoa butter content – at Green & Black’s we chose to keep the cocoa mass content as high as possible to retain our distinctive flavor, so use lecithin that comes from identity preserved sources and is double checked with analysis to make sure there are no GM residues.

    Craig Sams, President Green & Black’s

    Reply

    18 Tina February 5, 2010 at 9:50 am

    What about Alter Eco Chocolates? Does anyone know about them?
    They don’t list lecithin, use raw cane sugar and have a wonderful dark chocolate taste- fair trade organic as well. We love the almond and the dark chocolate.

    Reply

    19 Diana February 5, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Hi Kelly!
    I love Green % Blacks! I was eating the 85% bar for most of last year, because
    #1- the taste was unbeatable
    #2- it was one of the only dark chocolate bars that did NOT have soy lethicin or milk powder.
    Last fall, I noticed these ingredients on the label,(soy and milk powder) with a note that they were being processed on a line that makes milk chocolate, hence the milk powder listing. I scoured my local stores and bought all I could find of the non-soy kind. I can’t find anymore so I am now buying Lindt 85/90% instead.
    I noticed that Craig Sams, the president of G & B posted a comment. I was hoping to ask him if the soy/milk powder thing is temporary or a permanent change. I REALLY LOVE G&B chocolate the best, but I will no longer buy it with those ingredients.
    Diana

    Reply

    20 Michelle February 5, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    Thanks for the info, Kelly! I’ve been searching for a chocolate without soy lecithin in it, and this comes at the perfect time because of Valentine’s Day. All the women are loving you right now :)

    Reply

    21 Vikki February 6, 2010 at 10:13 am

    My husband loves the Alter Eco 73% Dark Chocolate Cacao bar with Crunchy Roasted Nibs, and Alter Eco Dark Velvet Chocolate with a Touch of Milk as part of his 20%. I’m not really a chocolate fan and I really like this chocolate, I also like the short list of ingredients, no soy lecithin, it’s fair trade, organic, etc. Though, since Cheeseslaves post with Rami Nagel and what was said about Cacao, he has decided to have it even less often.

    Reply

    22 Craig Sams February 6, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Diana
    You asked about milk. It is a temporary thing. It is unhygienic to use water to clean down chocolate production as the water can lead to microbiological problems, so the way we clean through a line is to push through chocolate. So the first half tonne or so of dark chocolate that we make after making milk chocolate just purges any trace of the milk chocolate and then is later used for making milk chocolate. Then we make dark chocolate – but there have still been traces of milk from the previous run and occasionally these turn up in very small, but measurable, proportions. Hence the labelling. This is not unique to Green & Black’s but what is unique is that we tell the customer about it. We have analysed other dark chocolate from other manufacturers labelled ‘vegan’ or ‘dairy-free’ and found traces of milk at higher levels than in our dark chocolate with a milk ingredient declaration. This month we are initiating a dark-only production line and this problem should become a thing of the past

    Craig

    Reply

    23 Katie February 6, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    I am very excited to see Green & Black’s committing to 100% fair trade! This is a huge step for the company and the chocolate industry. However, I agree with others who have mentioned that they don’t like the soy lecithin in this brand. There may only be small amounts in the chocolate and it may be non-GMO, but soy lecithin is still a waste product (in my opinion) and shouldn’t be a food ingredient. Until G&B can produce chocolate without SL I’ll stick to Equal Exchange, my favorite fair trade chocolate!

    Reply

    24 Mina February 7, 2010 at 1:01 am

    Did you know that Green & Black

    Reply

    25 Kristi February 9, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    I’ve been enjoying Alter Eco and Equal Exchange’s dark chocolate almond bars. Both brands are made without soy lecithin (in that product at least–I haven’t looked at their others) and I really like the taste and consistency of them. They have the organic, fair trade ingredients I value too.

    Reply

    26 Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE February 11, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    As I posted above, I’m less concerned about the soy lecithin since it is in such tiny quantities in the bars.

    The milk powder, however, does concern me. I just ate a Green & Black’s milk chocolate bar last night after reading Kelly’s post. I assumed it was good and recommended. Then someone on Twitter notified me that Green & Black’s chocolate contains milk powder. I read the back of the label and it is the second ingredient, right after cane sugar.

    Milk powder is something I conscientiously avoid, due to the oxidized cholesterol, which can cause heart disease.

    Read more about oxidized cholesterol:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxysterol

    http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2009/05/oxidized-cholesterol-sally-fallon-answers-a-reader-question.html

    I was grateful to get the chocolate samples and I loved the taste, but I can’t recommend this candy bar due to the milk powder.

    Reply

    27 KitchenKop February 11, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    See comment #22 above, it sounds like soon you can avoid all milk powder by only eating the dark.

    Reply

    28 Bridget February 15, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Yes, and Cadbury is owned or its oarent company is Kraft. Yikes!

    Reply

    29 Rachel February 15, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    I like the Enjoy Life chocolates, I use their chocolate chips for cookies and they are better than the Hershey’s that I used to use.

    Reply

    30 Bekki February 16, 2010 at 9:06 am

    I am SO glad to see Craig’s comments!! Green & Black’s Hazelnut and Currant bar is my absolute favorite in the entire world. I really can’t tell you how much it broke my heart when I saw milk on the label… and how confused I was that I hadn’t SEEMED to be having an allergic reaction to it, but if there’s milk in there… I can’t eat it….
    Now I know I *can* eat it. Yay!!
    I never need much at all… just a nibble makes me happy. Most other chocolate bars make me feel icky afterward, and it doesn’t seem to always correlate to soy lecithin (allergic to soy also) or anything else I can determine. I feel good after the G&B chocolate, so I’ll stick with that. :-)

    Reply

    31 christine March 22, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Another recent yummy find is tohi dark chocolate. Cocoa mass, cane sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, all organic. No gmos.

    http://www.tohi.be/En/home.php?lang=En

    Now, of course, the question remains, do they not contain, but not list milk powder?

    Reply

    32 sherri February 7, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I also like to avoid the soy lecithin. Equal Exchange is a brand that I believe is widely available. It does not contain soy.

    Reply

    33 JoAnna February 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    I really like the flavor of Dagoba Chocolates.

    Reply

    34 steph February 13, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Green and Blacks was a British Company that sold iself to Cadbury which underwent a hostile takeover by Kraft. There was outrage in the UK where I live but nothing can be done . I like to make fake chocolate with one part cocoa powder to two parts melted coconut oil. If desired sweetener and vanilla essence could be added. The actual amounts of cocoa and coconut oil can be varied too, with some who like a very dark flavour going for more cocoa. I then let the mixture set in siliconecup cake cases filled about as deep as a Reece’s peanut butter cup,but again you can set them in any shape you want such as a heart-shaped sisicone ice cube tray or driizzle onto baking parchment the letters of your name or fancy shapes

    Reply

    35 Jenn February 13, 2011 at 7:52 am

    I’ve been eating Vivani chocolate. I’m pretty sure it’s the least expensive organic dark chocolate at my natural foods store, and they don’t use soy lecithin. And they use “raw cane sugar” as a sweetener. I’m probably going to get a bar of that to make mini chocolate souffles for tomorrow night.

    Reply

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