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This chocolate company delivers on flavor and sustainability

1 year ago 237

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One company, two product lines — all good things. We are, after all, talking about chocolate here. Seattle Chocolate Company embraces the miracle of chocolate from plant to product, creating a diverse range of chocolate and focusing on sustainability every step along the way.

The process

The process starts with a personal connection to each farmer in Peru and Africa. Many of the Peruvian farms are deeply remote; some are only accessible via river navigation. In West Africa, the company relies on Rainforest Alliance Certified farms for the cacao.

Related: Fun and creative ideas for upcycling leftover candy wrappers

This dedication provides small farmers with above-average pay for their products so they can, in turn, provide safe and equitable working conditions. For the environment, it means sustainable farming methods, protection against biodiversity loss and deforestation and reduced use of pesticides.

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Converting the responsibly-sourced cacao into chocolate involves transport, production, packaging and shipping — all of which produce carbon and waste. Seattle Chocolate Company takes responsibility for that, becoming a carbon neutral company by providing carbon offsets that support low-impact growing practices, such as regenerative farming. 

“With less than 100 months to stop global warming from being irreversible, we set out to develop a plan to do our part,” the company explains.

In addition to the offsets, Seattle Chocolate initiated an aggressive plan to cut the company’s carbon footprint by 10% each year, with the goal to achieve a carbon deficit by 2024.

Box containing the chocolate collection

Packaging for the chocolates is playful, colorful and mostly recyclable. However, it’s still improving waste reduction and vows to convert all packaging into compostable or recyclable options.

The company explains some of the challenges in sourcing compostable materials for its chocolate and shares creative solutions: “Most of our colorful truffle twist wraps are now fully compostable; made from eucalyptus trees that are sustainably harvested from Forest Stewardship Council managed forests. Look for the apple core logo on the foil wrapper. These truffle wraps are expected to compost in 6-8 weeks in your home compost pile. We love the idea of all those bright truffle wrappers filling your compost bin and growing among your flowers!”

About Seattle Chocolate

Seattle Chocolate has a mission to brighten your day. That starts with its collaboration with independent artists whose distinct work is featured on the wrappers. The Seattle, Washington, factory also takes color seriously, with a work environment that’s vibrant, safe, clean, and efficient. These efforts are also highlighted in the recent perfect score in a Safe Quality Food Audit, an independent program that measures the food production process from the farm through to the store shelves. 

Meanwhile, the company offers two product lines. The first is the original Seattle Chocolate, which produces a wide range of chocolate truffle products and donates 10% of net profits from every Seattle Chocolate purchase to Girls Inc., inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. As a women-owned company, this is an important mission toward solidarity and gender equality. 

The second product line is called jcoco (pronounced Jay-coco). This premium line offers distinctive flavors and fulfills its mission to feed the hungry through donations to food security partners like The Food Bank For NYC, Northwest Harvest and The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. The company reports over four million servings of food have been donated to the organizations thus far.

Products are sold as single bars and gift sets that can also include complementary products like locally-roasted coffee. Customers can select from vegan, gluten-free, kosher, non-GMO and nut-free. There are delicious options in white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and combo packs.

Additionally, Seattle Chocolate Company offers tours of the facility to see the chocolate production process and enjoy tastings.

Flat lay of the prism collection chocolate packaging

Review of jcoco chocolates

When I told the company I was planning a write-up of their chocolates, they offered to ship me a sample. My job is tough sometimes, but what’s a girl to do? A few days later, a box of ten mini chocolate bars appeared, called the Prism Collection Gift Box.

The colorful and inviting gift box looked a bit more like a box of colored pencils than chocolates, but that only kept the family out of it for a brief period. They know the rules, so while I wasn’t able to get photos before they started helping me with the sampling, they did provide feedback along the way. In addition to the five members of my family at home, I took the box on a girl’s weekend where we were able to sample it with wine and tea on separate nights.

Don’t let the small bar sizes fool you. These are rich and delicious. “So Good” was the mantra as each person tried new flavors. And let’s talk about those flavors. There are some odd ones — something I loved about this product. We’re talking about additions like quinoa, edamame, plantain, black fig, pistachio and cayenne, to name a few. Chocolate combinations varied from 30-85% cocoa. There were some white chocolate options too. 

Let me cut to the chase. Five out of five stars. All the combinations provide a decadent and unique experience. While a few of my eight-member tasting tribe said they would like a little less uniqueness, the more mature palates all had a full appreciation for the fact that these bars go well beyond your basic tried-and-true solid chocolate options.

There is a single varietal of Contamana cacao that’s 85% cacao and indulgently delicious. The Peruvian dark with cacao nibs offers a little more than pure chocolate. Then we leap to my personal favorite, an exotic Boharat Spice that features middle eastern spices in dark chocolate. I’ve never had anything like it. Other flavor blends include black fig and pistachio, Himalayan salt and toffee in milk chocolate, edamame sea salt, mango plantain, crisp quinoa sesame (a bit like a Crunch bar), orange blossom espresso (amazing!) and cayenne veracruz orange (interesting and fun).

Similar gift sets are available in all dark chocolate (yes, please!) and other combinations. If you’re looking for a unique gift for the foodie in your life, this is it. Enjoy!

+ Seattle Chocolate Company

Images via Seattle Chocolate Company and Dawn Hammon

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