Let them eat a Divine cake!

30 June 2010

Posted by Abigail Phillips, owner of The Cake Nest

The Cake Nest stall

Last week, I had the privilege of holding a stall at the Childrens Adventure Farm Trust’s (CAFT) ladies lunch at Mere Golf and Country Club in Cheshire.  A big event with nearly 300 people attending and something I wanted to do justice to, to boost the charitable donations of the day.  I plotted and planned the best things to make for my stall, I am a cake maker by trade, mainly doing large birthday and wedding cakes locally, so I needed something different to sell on the day.  I work a lot with Divine chocolate in the slices of cake that I sell on my website nationally and have recently started doing cake balls… delicious balls of cake dipped in chocolate.  This was my plan!  I thought jars of cake balls would be something unique, attractive and ultimately yummy on my table so I placed my order to stock up with Divine’s chocolate to make sure I would have enough for all.  Unfortunately, my order did not arrive in time, so I shot down to the shops and got some from good old Morrison’s!  Not as much as I would have liked but it had a mysterious impact on my day…!  As the ladies arrived and looked over the many things I had to offer including cupcakes, lemon and syrup cake and parkin they also partook of some samples. The most popular of which were the cake balls. Many people were surprised at the taste and texture but also that they were enjoying dark chocolate. Now, although it is something I generally swear by, I know many people enjoy milk chocolate.  Many people commented on how rounded the taste was and not at all bitter.  I directed them to my Pick Me Up slices and told them if they enjoyed that they would love this!  The moral of the story?  Let them eat cake!  A chance to combine many lovely things in many different ways.  Why not send a slice to a friend and see what they think too!  I’ve only ever heard good reports about how Divine chocolate works with my cakes.  Divine is an inspiration to many, thank you for inspiring so many at such a wonderful charity event!

The famous Divine Cake Balls!

Mr Arthur in town to approve new flavours from Divine

21 June 2010

Posted by Mr. Emmanuel K. Arthur, Executive Director of the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers’ Union

Mr Arthur's in town

I flew in on Monday 24th May having travelled through the night from Accra with British Airways. The flight was good and landed in Heathrow terminal 5 ahead of time. I checked in at my favourite City Hotel at 12 Osborn Street and took a good rest just to prepare myself for the meetings ahead. I had meetings planned at the Fairtrade Foundation, Twin and Divine.

My most memorable day was my day at Divine Chocolate where I tasted some new chocolates from Divine. I can’t remember the exact recipe, but, the chocolate made with quality and finest Kuapa Kokoo’s cocoa mixed with ginger was a great taste. I was happy to taste some of these chocolates and to make a choice which I believe will meet the taste and pleasure of Divine Chocolate lovers.

My meetings ended on Thursday 27th May and I had to fly back to Ghana the next day. However, my trip back to Ghana looked threatened as my flight on BA had been cancelled due to a strike action by BA Cabin Crew. There was the need to make an alternative arrangement for me; I was desirous of returning to my lovely and enterprising Kuapa Kokoo farmers. I have got a lot to do between May and August as Kuapa Kokoo farmers are going through the election period from the society to the national level. Elections occur every 4 years and this exercise will end up at the August Annual General Meeting where about 3,000 farmer delegates from about 1,400 societies will elect their National Executive Council members to steer the affairs of the cooperative for the next 4 years. An alternative arrangement was made for me to return on the new Virgin Atlantic route to Accra. It was my first and, wow!!! this was a lovely flight, one of the best flights I have had in recent time.

I am now back in Ghana serving one of the greatest cocoa farmers cooperatives in the world. The cooperative which produces the cocoa beans for the ‘Chocolate which makes the world go round’ – Divine.

Cocktails and stars at the Observer Ethical Awards

11 June 2010

Observer Ethical Awards 2010

Sophi and I went along to the Observer Ethical Awards last night at the V&A – not up for an award this time but there to help celebrate world-improving innovation and excellence.  The Observer’s Lucy Siegle – Queen of Green – shared the podium (dressed in Sika) with a sharply suited Colin Firth and presided over a cheerful and laid back evening. Amongst the winners was our own Board member Gordon Roddick – who deservedly won this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award.  Gordon summed up his life’s work as doing something about the things that “pissed him off” – that was the motivation behind Body Shop, helping set up Divine with his wife Anita – and his latest campaigning initiative 38 Degrees.  Other notable winners included two young lads – the Recyclists – who have been helping people in their local community in Fife recycle by delivering their waste to the local recycling centre – on trailers behind their bikes. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall was voted Campaigner of the Year, Caroline Lucas, the first Green Party representitive in the House of Commons, got the Ethical Politician Award, and Guy Watson from Riverford organic delivery service got his THIRD Observer Award (NB loook out for great review of the Riverford restaurant in Observer this Sunday)! 

Gordon Roddick - Observer Lifetime Achievement Award

Over a few cocktails (one of which had little pink petals floating in it which needed to be constantly removed from in between one’s teeth) it was great catching up with Livia Firth and everyone from Eco-Age, Marc Francis (one half of the Black Gold filmmaking team), Harriet Lamb and the Fairtrade Foundation team, and Rosie Budhani from the Foundation ethical fashion people. Vic Morgan, one of the guys behind ethicalsuperstore.com was there too, and Martin Wright, editor of Green Futures.  Spotted Jo Wood, Ken Livingstone, and John Sauven director of Greenpeace in the audience.

We’re still extremely proud of having won Observer Ethical Business of the Year (this year won by B&Q for demystifying ecological ideas for the consumer), and it’s good to see both smallscale local initiatives and big company efforts being acknowledged at the same event. 

We went home with the mother of all goodie bags (including a Divine bar of course).

Kuapa Kokoo gets behind Ghana in the World Cup

2 June 2010

Posted by Kwabena (he’s been asking Kuapa Kokoo farmers and staff what they think of the World Cup being hosted in Africa – here’s what they said):

Kuapa Kokoo has plenty of football stars in the making

“I think the World Cup being hosted in Africa will bring co-operation among Africans and the rest of the world. It also gives Africa a good chance to win the cup. So I am very happy about it.

I want Ghana Black Stars to win because we have talented footballers and I think they can make us proud on the world stage.”

Alexander Osae, Recorder – Kwaboadi Society

“I am happy because the event will bring a lot of people from across the world to Africa and this will help promote African football.

I want Ghana to win the cup because the Black Stars are a group of serious and hardworking players”

E W K Enyan, Recorder- Osamankwaa Society

“The world Cup coming to Africa will help us to know some of our players outside Africa.

I want Ghana to win the cup because it will make us very happy in Ghana.”

Emmanuel Opoku, Recorder-Odaho Society.

Ghana Black Stars

“The world cup to Africa is historic indeed, it a Landmark Achievement. There is no better Legacy to bequeath to our children and grandchildren than hosting the world cup on African soil. We have proved to the world that Africa is not the primitive continent that they think it is. Indeed, Africa is God’s dwelling place. Africa is heaven on earth. Therefore God is a supporter of Africa and he will be a spectator at the stadium for Africa to WIN.

I want Ghana to win the world cup because I am a Ghanaian. I follow my heart but football is a game of chance. Once Ghana qualified to the world cup it means that Ghana too can possibly win if we are lucky. BUT CAN WE? GO! GO ! GO! GHANA.  BE BIAAAA AWU AMA BLACK STARS!”

Mr. Collins Osei Boateng (KK Transport Assistant.)

NB find out about Tom Palmer’s new book for children ‘Off Side’ which tells the tale of a young cocoa farmer’s son who seeks football stardom in the UK…but it all goes wrong

Why a bag made my day in Ladywell

1 June 2010

posted by Sophi Tranchell:

Sophi's got a brand new bag

I made a very satisfying purchase this month and it is not often I can say that.  I was in our local iron mongers and I noticed a bag.  As I was buying a number of things, I bought it to carry everything home in.  It was a white cotton bag with an attractive design saying Shop Local in Ladywell.  It worked for me on so many levels, it felt like the culmination of my last ten years’ work.  It was in my local shop, it was there because my local elected authority Lewisham, as part of their commitment to being a Fairtrade Borough, had commissioned and purchased the bags.  The bag was made from organic cotton that was Fairtrade certified, but the story didn’t end there.  It was imported by Bishopston Trading Company, one of the pioneer fair trade companies based in Bristol, a worker co-operative established in 1985 to create employment in the southern Indian village of K.V.Kuppam. 

So when I bought that bag, not only did I avoid adding to the land fill of never-degrading plastic bags, I also supported my local shop,  Lewisham’s campaign to be a Fairtrade borough, Bishopston’s alternative model of doing business and the organised people in that village in Southern India.  It really was helping to make the world the way I’d like it to be.