Tavares' cocoa plantation. A cacao tree in a yard in eastern Brazil.

NPR : How Chocolate Can Save the Planet

Sounds so ideal – grow cacao and save the planet. Well, not quite but there is a group trying to save the Brazilian rain forest using selective tree removal and then planting cacao trees in their place. The product yield isn’t as high as traditional farming but the benefits (less disease, fewer insects, less invasive farming) can give the farmers a premium price for their crop since it’s more environmentally-friendly.

Check out the podcast or read the linked article. There are more pictures and links to other related sites.

Also, keep eating chocolate so we can make this happen.

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Don’t Mess With Our Chocolate

OK – I love chocolate. It’s a real weakness for me. I don’t think I’m a connoisseur but I do like the higher quality stuff on the whole. I’ve eaten enough chocolate in my many years to know that the proposed changes will be truly detrimental to the chocolate industry. So what’s this about anyway? Well, the Washington Post recently published an article Chocolate Purists Alarmed by Proposal To Fudge Standards. The gist of the controversy can be summarized in the following exerpt:

That’s because the current FDA standard for chocolate says it must contain cacao fat — a.k.a. cocoa butter — and this proposal would make it possible to call something chocolate even if it had vegetable oil instead of that defining ingredient. Whoppers malted milk balls, for instance, do not have cocoa butter.

Chocolate without cocoa butter – wrong, wrong, horribly wrong!

If you love chocolate, do your part and visit this site to learn how you can comment on this legislation.

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