The chocolate industry is worth over $100 billion per year.
Most of that chocolate is manufactured and consumed in the USA and Europe, although the raw cocoa from which is produced is grown thousands of miles away on the west coast of Africa.
The biggest exporter of cocoa is the Ivory Coast. When the Ivory Coast achieved independence, back in 1960, a quarter of the country was covered in dense rainforest. It was home to a huge range of wildlife, with one of the highest rates of biodiversity across the African continent.
Today, less than 4% of the Ivory coast remains covered by rainforest and the numbers of some once-thriving species, including chimpanzees and elephants, are dwindling dangerously.
Ivory coast’s deforestation, much of it illegal, has been precipitated by the chocolate industry. The Director of Ivory Coast’s Forest Reserve Protection Agency has estimated that 40% of Ivorian cocoa is grown illegally in what are supposed to be protected areas of remaining forestland.
A recently published report reveals that three of the world’s biggest cocoa traders, Carghill, Olam and Barry Callebaut – have been encouraging this practice by buying cocoa grown illegally from these protected areas. Amongst the products that use cocoa provided by these three companies are Mars, Hershey, Ferrero, Cadburys, Toblerone, Milka, Terry’s, Côte d’Or, Freia, Marabou and Fry’s.
Please consider signing this petition calling on chocolate companies to agree to stop using illegally grown cocoa in their products.
Unless and until they do so you might want to consider boycotting their products.
On to the recipe, which uses ethically sourced, organic chocolate.
I have created this recipe in association with Suma Wholefoods Cooperative.
Under the terms of our arrangement, every couple of months I select products from the Suma Wholefoods range which Suma provide free of charge. From these I create an original recipe which appears on the Suma website as well here, on the Circus Gardener’s Kitchen.
Chocolate and sea salt is a delightful combination. So, for that matter is sea salt and smoke.
What better way to pull them all together than in a delicious silky soft-scoop sorbet, which despite its opulence and indulgence is vegan, gluten-free and free from refined sugar. The olive oil and dark chocolate give the sorbet an extraordinarily light, almost mousse-like quality.
vegan chocolate, olive oil and smoked sea salt sorbet
pinch smoked sea salt
1. Place the cocoa powder in a saucepan and add the brown rice syrup and 50 ml water. Place over a low heat and whisk to combine, making sure there are no lumps of cocoa. Bring the mixture to a simmer then remove from the heat and whisk in the pieces of chocolate, followed by the olive oil and vanilla essence and a further 150 ml of cold water. Whisk together a smooth, glossy consistency.
2. Leave the mixture to cool to room temperature. Pour into an ice cream maker and churn. As soon as the sorbet is starting to set, add the smoked salt crystals. Once these have been incorporated, tip the sorbet into a freezer proof container. Cover the container with a lid and freeze for at least 4 hours.
3. Remove the sorbet from the freezer 15-20 minutes before serving. If you wish, serve it with a little drizzle of little olive oil and a few smoked sea salt flakes