Here’s a cool story about doing good while eating well, brought to you by U.S.-born, Africa-based chocolate company Madécasse. Madécasse was designed as a fully operational bean-to-bar process entirely located in Madagascar. Its founders served as Peace Corps volunteers there, where they learned that although Africa grows about 70% of the world’s cacao, only about 1% of chocolate gets made there. While I’m skeptical about White folks and Westerners claiming to do good while profiting from work and resources elsewhere, the Madécasse model seems genuinely designed to keep jobs and benefits in Madagascar.
Some have estimated that Madécasse generates about four times more income for its workers than even a fair-trade process. They partner with farmers in the Ezaka Cooperative and factories in Antananarivo, and provide skills training to workers. They’ve also created an incentive structure to help farmers hold onto the beans for the necessary drying time, rather than having to turn the harvest over quickly in order to earn a living. Even the packaging is made in Madagascar. No wonder their products got picked up by Whole Foods and a host of other vendors here in the states. It’s a pretty easy way to feel good about a purchase.
Apparently, as of late 2015, Madécasse is temporarily expanding manufacturing to the U.S. while they invest in further capacity in Madagascar. This is a somewhat troubling development. However, they project a return to full Africa-based production by the end of 2016. I hope that they are able to do so and maintain their commitment to the bean-to-bar vision.
The Madécasse website takes the rather ballsy stance that their 80% cocoa bar is a breakfast food, “a great companion to a hot cup of tea or morning coffee.” I have to say, though, this is a bouncy and energetic chocolate that I could see eating in the morning. (Okay, fine, I could eat any chocolate in the morning.) Very bright flavor, almost lime-like or balsamic, that melts away clean and dry, with a dark espresso underlying flavor. Firm, with a powdery melt. A very fine product.
$5.99 for 2.64 oz
Found at Russo’s
560 Pleasant Street
Watertown MA 02472
If you like chocolate, read more of my Very Dark Chocolate tasting reviews by clicking here!