Whatever you want to know about Divine, here’s your chance to ask. Just post your questions in the comments on the Guardian Ethical Living Blog!
It’s that wonderful time of year again when we start thinking about Chocolate Week. Launched in collaboration with the Academy of Chocolate, Chocolate Week is all about unadulterated chocolate indulgence and runs from 12th – 18th October this year. We are delighted to be sponsoring it for the fifth year in a row.
One of the joys of Chocolate Week is all the fantastic partners Divine works with up and down the country. Last October, we worked with over 40 businesses including restaurants, shops, hotels, book stores, websites and chocolatiers and arranged all sorts of chocolatey fun; from sampling, events, and competitions to desserts and recipes. Two Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines used Divine chocolate in all his restaurants. The famous Pudding Club in the Cotswolds hosted Divine-themed afternoon teas as well as creating a special menu where Divine chocolate featured in every course! Divine’s resident chocolatier, David Greenwood Haigh, ran chocolate workshops to happy chocolate lovers in a number of London venues. They were such a great hit that we will certainly be doing them again this year!
Last year, five celebrity chefs helped celebrate Divine Chocolate’s tenth anniversary by making chocolate birthday cake recipes just for us! Trust me, they are really delicious, and we had great fun tasting them in the office (it’s all part of the job!) If you have a recipe you’d like to share please email us.
We’re going to make this year’s Chocolate Week the best yet so please let us know if you have any ideas for chocolatey events or any restaurants, hotels or shops who would like to be involved.
And finally, a few chocolate facts! Did you know that
- 90% of the world’s cocoa is grown on small family farms of 12 acres or less (Developments Magazine, DFID)
- Britain really is a nation of chocolate lovers. In Britain we eat an estimated 660,900 tonnes of chocolate a year, an average of 11kg per person per year (about 3 bars a week).
- Chocolate is actually made from a fruit – the cocoa bean. About 40 cocoa beans are contained within a cocoa pod.
It was a perfect sunny afternoon to fly the Fairtrade flag and we made a real statement by setting up our stands in the heart of the City – right at the steps of the Royal Exchange!
The theme of the day was ‘Farmers of the World Unite!’, bringing together stories of small-scale farmers across the globe who are working with businesses and consumers to re-shape our unsustainable food system, through Fairtrade and local food.
our consumer choices.
The best of the Fairtrade farmer-owned companies including Divine (of course!), Liberation Nuts and CaféDirect were there to treat people to samples. The Co-operative, Stellar Organics, Traidcraft and Shared Interest were also sampling their wares – making this event an especially tasty afternoon!
Meanwhile, Dubble got the City workers busy on their lunch breaks. They were throwing eggs for the chance to win a FREE Dubble Easter Egg. The rules? Throw a speckled egg at a Dubble Easter Egg and ‘if you hit it, you win it’. What could be simpler? You’d be surprised. Not a lot of bowlers to be found in the City (despite the bowler hats )!
There was also music from RumHoney – who drew in the crowds from far and wide! – Catherine Brogan from the Fairtrade Foundation who delivered some powerful performance poetry and Louis Cole and his crew keeping the tempo going with their drumming!
A big thanks to Tom and Bex for organising a great afternoon in the perfect location, and to everyone who came to enjoy it.
It’s World Fair Trade Day this Saturday, 9th May. This will be the seventh annual celebration which brings together all the individual country members of the World Fair Trade Organisation to promote global awareness of fair trade.
In the UK there’ll be events happening in schools, churches, offices, streets and homes up and down the country. Check out your local newspaper for up to the minute events or click here to see what’s happening in your area.
Why not bake a very special chocolate soufflé to celebrate World Fair Trade Day; made using Fairtrade ingredients produced from around the globe. The recipe uses Divine 70% chocolate from Ghana, Cafédirect coffee from Latin America and Africa, and Tate & Lyle Fairtrade sugar from Belize so it really does represent a world of Fairtrade in a mouth-watering pudding!
You can buy all the ingredients to make Divine’s Hot Chocolate Coffee Soufflé from all the major supermarkets. The recipe comes from Divine’s cookbook Divine Heavenly Chocolate Recipes with a Heart which is available from all good bookshops. The collection of sweet and savoury chocolate recipes has been created for Divine by Linda Collister, who’s renowned as a baking and chocolate expert and was private chef to the late Queen Mother.
View the recipe here
Comfort Kumeah, the national secretary of Kuapa Kokoo recently completed a 10-day US visit to invite more Americans to become everyday advocates for Divine. Comfort stopped in three major cities, Washington DC, Austin, TX and Chicago where she shared her experience with community groups, schools and businesses alike.
In Washington DC Comfort and the Mr Buah, the president of Kuapa Kokoo and Mr Aduse-Poku met with the president of Lutheran World Relief, an investor in Divine in the USA. She met with students at the Silver Spring International Middle School where students have been conducting research projects about Kuapa Kokoo this school year as part of their work with Ms Brenda Randolph in the Media Center.
We then we on to Austin, TX to visit St. Austin’s Parish. Elizabeth Cole and the women of St. Austin’s organized a post-service presentation where Comfort explained how Kuapa Kokoo operates and the impact Kuapa has been able to have in communities through the investment of their Fair Trade premiums.
In partnership with Catholic Relief Services Elizabeth traveled to Ghana in 2007 where she met Comfort in her village. Comfort arrange for students in the parish school in TX to exchange letters with school children at the school in Mim. So the following day,
Comfort paid a visit to more than 150 students at St. Austin’s and St. Teresa’s middle schools. She explained to them the hard work required to grow quality cocoa and reminded students that it is up to them to ask for Fair Trade products in the community as a way to ensure farmers get a fair deal.
Comfort concluded the Austin visit at the world headquarters of Whole Foods Market where she addressed 50 members of the Whole Foods corporate team. She explained that through Kuapa Kokoo’s commitment to democracy and fairness, women cocoa farmers have been afforded the same opportunities as men and because Kuapa Kokoo owns Divine, Comfort has been able to travel to the USA and to the UK to encourage people to support Kuapa Kokoo’s efforts to empower cocoa farmers in Ghana. Comfort made sure the Whole Food’s team understood and could pronounce Kuapa Kokoo’s slogan “Pa pa paa.” – the “best of the best!”
Then on to Chicago where Comfort met with John Henry Assabill, president of the Ghana National Council, the coalition of eleven Ghanaian associations in the Chicago area. They sponsor GhanaFest, which last year brought over 20,000 people to Washington Park to celebrate Ghana with traditional dance, food and music. Divine Chocolate will be present again at Ghana Fest this year and hope even more people will attend.
Before heading back to the airport Comfort visited the Little Black Pearl on the south side of Chicago, a nonprofit community arts center providing opportunities in the arts and business to community youth. Divine Chocolate is sold in their youth-run café.
We did squeeze in a trip to Millennium Park, the Magnificent Mile and we drove over to see the Obama’s house (Comfort wanted to take a look!)
Erin Gorman, CEO, Divine Chocolate Inc
When it comes to a fairer deal for cocoa farmers, Fairtrade is just the start and should be the minimum big companies should be required to do. So says Sophi Tranchell, MD of Divine, in a recent interview with Reuters TV.