Let's face it, this weekend with the crowds on Oxford Street being crammed full of people who don't have a clue what to get their other-halves for Christmas and some of the online department stores and other retailers reportedly having major problems getting customer's orders to them, I can think of nothing better than browsing the stalls of many fine chocolate makers at the Chocolate Festival held in Islington, London over the weekend of 12th to 14th December.
I'll be there to have a natter and give moral support to a range of chocolate makers we currently stock, have stocked and will be stocking in the New Year. If you've ever tried the chocolate from Duffy, Pacari, Friis-Holm, Original Beans, Marou, Akesson, AMMA and Pump Street Bakery then you can get to meet the people that produce that exquisite range of chocolates. Also there are Xoco Fine Cocoa and Chocolaterie Morin who you can try and then let us know if we should be stocking their chocolate.
These makers are part of the Direct Cacao movement which aims to make cocoa farming an enterprise worth doing. Currently far too many family-owned cocoa farms don't actually earn enough to cover tending the crop - let alone pay for schooling, clothing and food. It is important, if you enjoy fine chocolate, that you and I ensure that, where possible, we support the chocolate makers that source their cocoa directly from these farms and pay a price that allows them to continue growing fine flavour cocoa.
There will be some very important developments with the labelling of chocolate that, arguably, is more ethical and transparent than Fair Trade chocolate. If you wish to reduce poverty then having a chat with Direct Cacao at the festival will be something worth doing.
Also at the festival will be a range of other chocolate companies at the Business Design Centre too. I'm particularly looking forward to seeing Ara as we stock their chocolate, but also Crio Bru, Pablo at Forever Cacao, Marou, Ombar, Rococo, Baileys (any free samples??), Brocks Chocs, Lucy Armstrong, Niko B, Baru, Demarquette, Nude Coconuts, Hans Sloane and Zara's. As you can see there are a large number of chocolate makers and chocolatiers to explore.
See you there!