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Divine Chocolate Tasting: Fairtrade Fortnight 2014


As Fairtrade fortnight draws to a close, it seems appropriate for me to take a break from doing my art theory work to finally write this! 

On Tuesday I was privileged enough to be able to speak to Mercy and Mavis, two very inspiring ladies from Western Ghana who had travelled to London to spend Fairtrade fortnight promoting both 'Divine' chocolate and the benefits of buying Fairtrade. Both women, neither of whom had previously left Ghana, are cocoa farmers, Mercy (51) since 1986 and Mavis (26) since 2009. They belong to the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative (which translates as 'good cocoa farmer) that established its own chocolate brand, now 'Divine' in the late nineties. To today, Divine has grown to represent tens of thousands of farmers, who own 45% of the brand, nearly a third of whom are female.

Fairtrade cuts out the 'middle man' meaning that not only is there a closer link between consumers and producers, but also that the farmers are guaranteed a fair price for their cocoa and a stronger place in world markets. Mercy also explained the Fairtrade premium to me, an amount of money which is paid in addition to the agreed price for cocoa, used to invest in the community. One example that she talked about, is that through Fairtrade Premium, farmers in her local area were previously taught additional skills such as soap making, that they can use to earn money when cocoa is not in season.  

Throughout the afternoon, passers-by had the opportunity to taste seven different varieties of Divine Chocolate, although the ever-expanding range currently has fourteen flavours to choose from. My personal favourite was 'white chocolate with strawberries', which was also the farmers' favourite and seemingly most of Harrow's!!! Apart from their mouthwateringly amaaazing white chocolatey strawberry goodness, i'd also like to take a second to rave about how beautiful Divine's packaging is - the outsides, of minimalist but beautiful colour schemes (which are sort of weirdly resonant of the respective flavours), are covered in gorgeous pattern, bits of which are embossed and metallic and then the inside of the packaging then tells the Divine Chocolate story in a combination of photographs and words.

Divine chocolate can be bought from a growing number of outlets, including Oxfam shops around the country. Next time you go to pick up your normal chocolate, I highly recommend that you try Divine instead! But, also, it is important to also look out for fairtrade mark on all products in your shopping basket - fruit, clothing, sugar, coffee etc, although it usually costs a few pence more, it is worth more than that to know that everyone involved in the journey of that product has received a fair amount.

Naomi  x


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