I’m always on the lookout for foods and companies that conform to my “perfect world” standards, and this past weekend I stumbled across a little gem of a chocolate factory that’s just about perfect in every way.
Taza Chocolate is a small but fast-growing company that keeps very close tabs on every step of its production process yet still manages to ship worldwide. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a company whose practices are more transparent, ethical, and environmentally friendly. It doesn’t hurt that the nonconventional stone-ground chocolate tastes phenomenal.
These are the practices that set Taza Chocolate apart, the reasons that I feel good in every way when I purchase one of their products:
- Taza Chocolate goes a step beyond fair trade and directly supervises all farms and farmers that provide ingredients for their chocolates. They visit farms yearly to make sure the fair working conditions are maintained, and they pay farmers directly, ensuring that the farmers get an even larger cut of the profits than fair-trade practices guarantee.
- The small Taza factory has a team of skilled workers with very good working conditions. They continue to hand-wrap all chocolate bars.
- All Taza chocolate is vegan! That makes things easy.
- Taza chocolate is not grown in clear-cut farm monocultures, which destroy forest ecosystems.
- Taza uses recycled materials for its packaging, and all of the packaging can be recycled or composted. In addition, Taza sells its inedible chocolate shells to be used in fragrant compost and sweet beers.
- The factory itself uses very little energy, and the owners are constantly looking for ways to increase its efficiency.
- Taza uses carbon-neutral shipping for transportation, paying extra to offset the carbon emissions. If you live in Boston (where the factory is located), you can pay extra to get the chocolates delivered by bicycle!
- The chocolate bars at Taza usually contain just two or three ingredients apiece—the chocolate, the sugar, and the additional flavor (such as cinnamon). Nothing is over-processed, and there are no strange additives, so the ingredients are as close to their natural, healthy state as possible.
- All Taza chocolates are dark, which means they have a lower sugar content than most chocolates.
- As long as chocolate isn’t highly processed or full of sugar, it’s a very healthy food, with plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals; in addition, it’s been shown to improve cardiovascular health.
- All Taza cocoa beans, sugar, and additional flavoring ingredients are organic, which means no nasty chemicals used in growing or processing.
- Taza chocolates contain calcium and iron, which are most commonly derived from animal products, so I’ve had a bit of trouble getting enough of them as a vegan. In other words, I have an excuse to eat more dessert!
It’s rare to find a company this committed to making the world a better place in every way. Taza Chocolate is a perfect example of both the triumphs and the challenges of a Perfect World Eating lifestyle