Chocolate with a Conscience: Endangered Species

IMG_9548I am a chocolate snob. You will never catch me buying a bar from a grocery store nor will you find me ordering a chocolate dessert out on the town. Every once in a while I step into an artisanal chocolate shop out of curiosity but nine times out of ten you will see me walk out just as quickly because my nose has already caught whiff of that generic confectioner’s waxy cocoa smell that I know translates to a lack of richness on the tongue. What you WILL find is my ever present and strange collection of Tupperware containers underneath the living room coffee table with their traditional three types of Valrhona cooking ovals: blondie, caramel and fruity dark Manjari. That’s right, I eat the chef’s variety straight from the shelves of Epicure Imports’ yearly warehouse sales.

But last month while sitting in my Adirondack chair and enjoying my latest issue of Yoga Journal, I noticed an ad for Endangered Species chocolate bars. My interest was piqued because of the packaging printed with photos of adorable sea lions, mischievous baby foxes, sassy red nosed parakeets and honey colored bees. That and the words “Coconut Crème Filled” on one of the wrappers—coconut being an instant magnet for my tongue—were enough to build my curiosity. I contacted the company to learn more.

What I discovered was that Endangered Species donates 10% of their net profits to organizations that fund species and habitat conservation as well as other humanitarian efforts. They choose different partner entities to receive money for a three-year period thus allowing for a multitude of causes to benefit from their altruism. Currently this includes the African Wildlife Foundation, the Xerces Society, and See Turtles (which is particularly wonderful to me as turtles of all kinds hold a special place in my heart!). If that weren’t enough reason to give this company support, they just announced that they are now, proudly, America’s first chocolate brand made with fully traceable fair trade cocoa from West Africa.

So I decided to step out of my candy box and try the crème filled varieties of which the coconut and almond butter were delightful. I am not a person who typically likes fruit with chocolate but was impressed that the lime filled bars actually tasted tart like real lime rather than sweet and medicinal like citrus-flavored chocolate so often does. I think I might even take a further step into the dark side and try the dark chocolate with sea salt and almonds next before heading back under my coffee table for my tried and true Valrhonas.

In my opinion, it is always nice to push ourselves out of the familiar routine every once in a while to do something nice for the world around us.

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