Saturday, February 1, 2014

Fair Trade Nutella

The idea of buying fair trade products always made sense to me, but not enough to actually make me do it.  I had heard that purchasing certified foods ensured fair treatment and living wages for farmers, as well as better land-use practices.

Picture me with eyes closed, hands over my ears, chanting, "La la la la la la la . . ."

Then one night as I clicked around the web, I came across references to child slave labor being used to process chocolate in Africa.  I had finally reached my tipping point.

It's been over a year since I resolved to buy only fair trade chocolate.  I admit it's a lot more expensive than my supermarket baking bars and warehouse-store bags of chips (and harder to find, too).  I'm generally a price conscious shopper, but once I made up my mind that it was the moral choice, I didn't have to fight my frugality any more.

For one thing, it makes sense that it costs more to give the farmers a just income.  But the clearest point for me is that--hello--CHOCOLATE IS A LUXURY!-- and I live quite comfortably in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

My family has not complained about Mom's new plan, but they did miss Nutella.  I say DID because I finally followed through and made a batch from scratch.
 There are quite a few recipes online; I chose the ATK version.
 Their method of removing hazelnut skins is brilliantly simple.
Here's another link to the recipe with more chatting and better pictures.  Next time (oh, yes, there will definitely be a next time!) I'll try using 25-50% less sugar (1/2-3/4 cup instead of 1), but this Nutella is delightful.
Update:  My Nutella is runnier than what I see online, so I'll try decreasing or omitting the extra oil too.
UPDATE #2:  The first link (to the newspaper article) uses 8 times as much salt as the brown eyed baker's version!  I didn't notice and my latest batch is much too salty.  Use the lower amount (1/8 teaspoon) for starters.
Are you ready to switch to fair trade?

BTW, we now buy only fair trade coffee, too.  It's easy to find and tastes better than what I used to purchase--a simple way to start, perhaps?


August said...

What 'Fair Trade' does is require farmers to keep paperwork and provide proof for various standards. The richer farmers in these poor countries can handle this extra cost, the poorer farmers cannot. It is not actually a fair trade at all, indeed it makes the procurement process of getting high end chocolate much easier for the rich white people who came up with this idea.

Barbara said...

The reality is not clear-cut. I have seen some criticisms of the fair trade process:

Here are some rebuttals and more hopeful takes on the topic:

It looks like fair trade works best when farmers work together in co-ops. I still believe it's better than current alternatives.

Here's a link to a teachers' guide on fair trade co-ops. I haven't read the whole thing yet, so don't take this as an endorsement:

Lomagirl said...

I made this commitment, too, about a year ago. It's hard to remember sometimes, but I try. I think Costco is pretty good about where they source products- I buy their Kirkland brand chocolate chips. I buy organic chocolate if I can't get any labeled "fair trade."
I think Nutella is the hardest- well, one of them. Ice-cream, (I buy Ben and Jerry's sometimes) and store bought cookies- though most of them it's healthier not to eat anyways.
I can't wait till the chocolate companies meet their goal of sustainable, ethical chocolate sourcing, though.

Shirley Adams said...

Fair trade associations create collectives of farmers. The collective handles the paperwork and the regulations and helps the individual family farmers improve their living conditions. I find fair trade collectives to be superior organizations to profit centered companies who are simple looking for the cheapest labor, closing their eyes to child labor and health of workers and the environment.