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How Fairtrade Chocolate Supports Cocoa Farmers

Today is the last day of Fairtrade Fortnight 2020, a two-week campaign led by the Fairtrade Foundation that aims to raise demand for Fairtrade chocolate and increase awareness of the extreme poverty experienced by women cocoa farmers in West Africa.

If you’re anything like me then you’ll love your chocolate but did you know…

Cocoa farmers can earn as little as 23p a day

60% cocoa farmers in West Africa live in extreme poverty

Most cocoa farmers have never even tried a chocolate bar

Fairtrade chocolate accounts for 12% sales in the UK – a figure that needs to rise

To celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight I was invited to a very special event by Waitrose at their Cookery School in Kings Cross. Read on to see what I got up to and how I came to rub shoulders with former Bake Off contestants!

On arrival we were invited over to the bar where a bartender was serving up a series of cocktails, made with FAIR – the only Fairtrade certified spirits brand.

Over the course of the night I tried the FAIR Espresso Martini and the FAIR Kumquat Spritz which were both absolutely delicious.

As we waited for the main course to be served, canapés were offered around although I was too busy chatting to get any photos! My favourites were the savoury brioche doughnuts with barbecue braised beef and the aubergine caponata with Fairtrade black pepper crostini.

Just look how beautifully the tables were laid with gorgeous pink and white Fairtrade roses! We also had two Fairtrade wines to choose from: BluePrint Fairtrade Pinotage and Blueprint Fairtrade Chenin Blanc. Who knew that you could buy Fairtrade roses and wines from Waitrose?!

The menu was incredible; carefully selected to showcase the best Fairtrade ingredients it certainly did the job! The main course was a series of sharing plates: flour tacos with various toppings to choose from including Fairtrade tea-smoked pork shoulder, Fairtrade coffee-soaked lentil chilli and Fairtrade green tea and match tempura cod.

For dessert we had brown butter waffle, caramelised Fairtrade banana, muscovado and chocolate caramel, cocoa nib biscuit and ice cream. Again, delicious!

Afterwards we were treated to a masterclass and competition with Meringue Girls who had pre-made meringues in the shape of everyone’s initial, ready for us all to decorate.

Look at all the yummy decorations we had to choose from…!

On a work station with a series of former bake off contestants, we decided that our theme would be ‘more is more’ and we certainly took it literally!

P.S. These piping bags are 100% compostable and will naturally break down in your food bin. You can buy them here.

Feeling pretty proud of the end result I decorated my meringue with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, mini meringues, edible glitter, gold leaf, freeze dried strawberries and a drizzle of Fairtrade chocolate.

I told you that our theme was ‘more is more’ right?!

And when I didn’t think that the evening could get any better I came runner up in the competition, winning the fantastic Meringue Girls Cookbook.

Given that I was up against former bake off contestants I was pretty pleased with the result!

But the real highlight of the evening was meeting Leocadie Voho, a Fairtrade cocoa farmer from Cote d’Ivoire. Although she had helped on her husband’s land for 25 years she did not earn her own income until she inherited one and a half hectares from her grandfather in 2010.

Five years later she joined a Fairtrade co-operative that taught her the agricultural skills she needed to cultivate the land efficiently and the entrepreneurial skills she needed to sell her produce at a fair price.

I’m definitely going to look out for the Fairtrade logo next time I go shopping knowing the genuine impact that it makes. I hope this story has inspired you to do the same!

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