Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Equal Exchange

In the lead-up to our chocolate party, we had a lovely sit-down meeting at the Chocolate Room with a representative from Equal Exchange.  We learned all sorts of things -- apparently they are completely worker-owned, so every employee is a part owner (a true co-op), and they were among the Fair Trade Chocolate pioneers in the US!  But let's be real here: the important questions is whether it is delicious.

And the important answer is yes.

Here is what David sampled:

There was an 80% (Panama-origin), a 71% blend, a 65% (Ecuador-origin), and a 55% with almonds.  They were all really good, honestly.  

The 55% with almonds compared nicely with the Chocolove.  It did not have sea salt, which made it taste a little more mature and a little less addictive.  For better or worse.

David's favorite -- perhaps unsurprisingly -- was the 80% Panama, and we were very glad to have that at our Party.  We compared it with the Chocolate Room's new, proprietary 80% bar (Ecuador-origin), and the Equal Exchange bar was far better.  It was chocolatier, less fruity, and didn't have some of the weird flavor notes.  The Chocolate Room bar also had a somewhat unsatisfying finish, whereas the Equal Exchange kept its rich flavor throughout.

Leila also sampled the 55% semi-sweet chocolate chips but was not very impressed, maybe because they're only 55%. Fortunately Equal Exchange also offers a bittersweet 70% chocolate chip bag, which may be more her (ahem) bag. The 55% are probably delicious in cookies, just not so great for directly pouring down your throat.

Interestingly, several weeks earlier, I (David) had returned home from a long day (or two) of work, and a friend had left a series of coded notes, leading me on a scavenger hunt around my (one bedroom) apartment.  The reward?  Mini-tablets of 55% Equal Exchange!

We lead charmed lives, you guys.

Bottom Line: Equal Exchange is a great company, with great people and great chocolate.  They're gonna do great.

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