The more I think I know about chocolate, the more I realize how much there still is to learn and explore!
I’ve seen these brightly colored bars before, but never really paid attention to them…until my boyfriend bought me a set of six large bars, which happen to be all of the flavors that are available from the U.S. headquarters in Portland, Oregon (some different flavors, sizes plus other treats are available from their European location in Amsterdam, The Netherlands).
As you might expect, there is a fascinating story behind the company’s name and origin. A little more than 10 years ago, television journalist Teun van de Kueken launched an investigative report about the use of child slave labor within the chocolate industry for his Dutch consumer report TV show. After being rebuffed by some of the largest chocolate makers in the world, Tony (the English equivalent for Teun) decided to prove that it was possible to produce 100% slave-free chocolate. From the company website: And because he felt like he was the only guy in the chocolate industry that cared about eradicating slavery from the industry, he named his chocolate “Chocolonely.”
Since the beginning, Tony teamed up with the Barry Callebaut Group in Belgium to produce the chocolates from the West Africa-sourced beans. They specifically chose a “screaming red” wrapper for their first milk chocolate bar in 2005 to draw attention both to the bar and the “alarming situation” that they were trying to eliminate. Through awareness, leading by example and inspiring others to act, they strive each day to achieve fully traceable 100% slave-free chocolate as well as work toward the goal of ending the use of slavery in the entire chocolate industry.
Here are the 2 bars that I tasted so far…
51% Dark Chocolate with Pecans & Coconut
Each of the bars is a hefty 6 ounces and they use a mold that has 25 unequal pieces to highlight the unfairness within the chocolate industry. Even though the bar is thick, it segments easily (this one broke in half during transit) and has a sharp snap when broken.
There were generous pieces of pecans and shredded coconut throughout the bar, but the overall taste was a little too sweet for me. Though it’s not mentioned on their packaging, 30% of the chocolate comes from Ghana & 70% comes from the Ivory Coast, so I’m not sure if the sweetness is inherent in the beans themselves or due to the added sugar.
32% Milk Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt
In 2012, this flavor was part of their lineup of limited edition bars. Since this bar is the most popular bar in the Netherlands, it’s now available in unlimited quantities. The chocolate is creamy and melts easily, though I prefer to “chomp” the bar to better enjoy the crunchy toffee bits.
Unfortunately sugar is the first ingredient listed for this bar & caramel (toffee) accounts for 10% of the content. In trying to transfer the bar from the thin aluminum foil to a more sturdy one, the bar sort of “disintegrated” into more than just the unequal pieces…
Along with the bars, they provided an informative Annual FAIR Report (2014/2015) comprised of 109 pages printed on Paperwise (uncoated Forest Stewardship Council recycled paper made of 100% recycled materials) and printed with alcohol free & vegetable based inks.
The pages were once leaves and cobs of plants like corn and sugarcane, so maybe that’s why there is an unusual smell to the booklet. Since 2012, their bars have been wrapped with the same type of paper, though thankfully they don’t impart the same aroma as the annual report.
To learn more about this unique company’s mission/vision/goals, here is a link to the U.S. webpage: http://www.tonyschocolonely.com/us/