Okay, I need to give a shout out to the best chocolate shop I have ever experienced, The Xocolate Bar, in Berkeley, CA at 1709 Solano Ave. The Xocolate Bar sells amazing organic fair-trade chocolate with a wide range of vegan options. For those of you outside of the San Francisco East Bay Area, you can by via their online shop.
Why is The Xocolate Bar so wonderful to me?
This chocolate shop rates above the rest because the vegan pieces of chocolate offered are organic and ethically produced. Since so much of the chocolate available in the United States, comes from plantations in West Africa where the workers are enslaved children, it is wonderful to come across a chocolatier that prioritizes ethically sourced chocolate and thereby anti-oppression. Since conventional cocoa plantations are among the most heavily pesticide-sprayed agricultural areas, buying organic chocolate helps to ensure the health of the workers in the plantations and to safeguard the wildlife, water supply, and environment in the areas where the chocolate is grown.
The Xocolate Bar’s chocolate suppliers source their organic, fair trade product in South America and the Caribbean.
For a list of other chocolate, cocoa, and cacao companies and brands that are good choices please see the great list of fair trade and ethically produced chocolate options that The Food Empowerment Project has compiled.
The Food Empowerment Project promotes access to healthy plant-based foods in marginalized and low-income communities, supports farm workers, and promotes ethical veganism from an intersectional, anti-oppression standpoint.
The Food Empowerment Project also strives to highlight “the abuse of animals on farms, the depletion of natural resources, unfair working conditions for produce workers, the unavailability of healthy foods in communities of color and low-income areas, and the importance of not purchasing chocolate that comes from the worst forms of child labor.”
The piece I purchased at Xocolate Bar was organic, fair-trade chocolate cast into a Buddha shape and sweetened with agave nectar.
I have found that chocolate that is sweetened with cane sugar makes me go into immediate “sugar shock.” This was not the case with this yummy chocolate treat, as the agave nectar used has a low glycemic index.
In addition, I purchased one scoop of The Xocolate Bar’s chocolate sorbetto which also didn’t induce the usual sugar shock or headache. It was absolute heaven and the best chocolate sorbetto I have ever eaten.
The Xocolate Bar’s offerings are priced higher than grocery store bars (chocolate bars start at about $7 USD) and many of the choices, such as the Buddha I bought are beautifully crafted works of art in their own rights and so are most suitable for giving as a gift or indulging yourself in a treat.
The owners and creative forces behind The Xocolate Bar are local artists, Maria Lopez-Maggi and her partner Clive Brown who are in the art studio when they aren’t in the chocolate shop.
To contact The Xocolate Bar:
1709 Solano Ave
Berkeley, CA 94707
Note that The Xocolate Bar has supported The Food Empowerment Project‘s anti-oppression, food justice work, donating its chocolate for fundraising efforts.