This week as part of Chocolate Week, we have been busting some commonly held (yet incorrect) myths about chocolate!
 

"I can't eat chocolate because I'm lactose intolerant (or I am vegan)"

Dark chocolate is a combination of just cocoa solids (cocoa mass & cocoa butter) & sugar to varying amounts, so is perfect for anyone following a dairy-free diet. Obviously steer clear of milk & white chocolate but that said, we are now selling a "milk" chocolate bar by MAROU made with coconut milk, so that is dairy-free too!


"All chocolates contain palm oil"

There is NO place for palm oil in chocolate! Sadly some industrial chocolate companies replace some cocoa butter with palm oil as it is a CHEAP fat - but palm oil plantations are contributing to the destruction of the Indonesian rainforest & orangutans are now on the verge of extinction.


"All chocolate is full of sugar isn't it"

Wrong... you can be a chocoholic without being a sugarholic if you stick to eating fine chocolate high in cocoa solids & low in sugar. Dark chocolate of c70% cocoa soilds also has a low glycaemic index, so you don't need to eat very much to feel full & you don't gorge on it in the same way that you might a sugar-filled sweet milk chocolate. By the way, if dark chocolate is not for you, have you discovered our 65% Madagascar origin milk chocolate? It contains only 8% added sugar!


"Chocolate contains gluten doesn't it"

No it doesn't! ALL chocolate is naturally gluten-free. We are a bit puzzled as to why so many people seem to think that it contains gluten, but if we do make a product with cereals, biscuits (or beer!) in, then we will flag it on our ingredients label.


"All chocolate is the same & it's a cheap food"

This is a common misconception here in the UK. Whilst many consumers are knowledgeable about fine wines, coffees, olive oils & cheeses for example, many people still don't understand that there is a huge difference between industrial chocolate and fine chocolate that we work with. Industrial chocolate is made with the cheapest beans (often from West Africa) blended with vast amounts of sugar & often palm oil too. We only work with fine single origin chocolate of known provenance using fine grade trinitario, arriba or crillio beans from such cocoa producing countries as Venezuela, Colombia & Madagascar. Our chocolate is full of fabulous flavours of the cocoa bean, is low in sugar & definitely contains no vegetable fats!


"White chocolate is the best for children"

Absolutely not! White chocolate is white because it is made with just cocoa butter (the fat part of the cocoa bean) which doesn't have much taste, plus milk & lots of sugar. So if you give white chocolate to children, all it does is to educate their palette to think of chocolate as being very sweet & tasteless - start them off with fine milk or even dark chocolate & they won't bat an eyelid!


"Chocolate is full of caffeine right?"

Wrong... Chocolate contains a very small amount of caffeine compared to coffee, so it's not going to keep you up at night!


"Only chocolate with a fairtrade logo is ethical"

Whilst we believe in the principles of fairtrade, sadly even this symbol is not a guarantee that the farmers are actually seeing the benefits of the scheme, especially in West Africa where corruption is rife and it is also not a guarantee of quality. We believe strongly in working with single origin chocolate with short supply chains & full traceability & much goes beyond fairtrade to embody a different trading model - RAISETRADE. This model encourages a developing country to support businesses exporting finished products, such as couverture chocolate & bars, rather than the traditional trade model in which raw commodities, such as cocoa beans, are exported by the developing country which are then value added to in the West.


The origin chocolates we work with, & sell as bars or drops, which are all RAISETRADE are; Chocolat Madagascar, Grenada Chocolate Co, Casa Luker in Colombia & Marou in Vietnam. I have visited these chocolate companies in both Madagascar & Grenada & have seen the benefits in terms of skilled employment opportunities for local people for myself.