Valentine’s Day is all about chocolate, according to my 4 year old.
I won’t disagree with that.
It might not be the whole point <ducks to miss the rotten tomatoes> but it certainly has become a huge tradition to give chocolate to your loved ones on February 14th.
And I want to make sure you’re not being a Valentine’s Day barbarian this year.
Sure, you could stop at a grocery store the night before and just pick up something from their seasonal display, but don’t you think your Valentine deserves better than mass produced candy with dubious ingredients? And when you consider the lack of focus on corporate social responsibility in most big companies, you can definitely do better than to continue to support them with your hard-earned money.
This year, make it a point to choose Fair Trade chocolate for gifts, and you’ll be giving a present of great chocolate while supporting small worker cooperatives at the same time. If your family doesn’t know what Fair Trade entails, it’s also a great opportunity to educate them about it and to introduce them to higher quality products.
One of the leading Fair Trade suppliers is Equal Exchange, and they’ve got some amazing choices for both chocolate and coffee gifts, available online and through select food co-ops and health food stores. This year, I received a “Chocolate and Coffee Pairing Gift Bag” from them for review. And I have to admit, I was a bit of a barbarian – I had never heard of a chocolate and coffee pairing.
According to Equal Exchange:
“Chocolate and coffee offer a variety of flavors that are nurtured through the cultivation and processing of the finished products that you enjoy every day. Both products are incredibly complex in flavor independently, but can also provide us with delicious flavor combinations when paired together. Enjoy a few of our pairing selections by yourself – or invite a few of your friends over for a pairing event!”
This chocolate and coffee pairing kit is a great intro to that experience, and you’ll explore the various tastes and textures that come together when chocolate and its perfect coffee counterpart are combined.
Each chocolate and coffee pairing kit has:
- One 12oz bag of Organic Love Buzz coffee
- One 12oz bag of Organic Mind, Body & Soul coffee
- Two Organic Panama Extra Dark Chocolate Bars
- Two Organic Milk Chocolate Bars
- Coffee pairing instruction card
Being a coffeehead, I was jazzed to have another excuse to try more kinds (and to eat chocolate with it!), and these products did not disappoint! There’s nothing in the world like fine coffee and good chocolate, and enjoying them together was a blast.
I ended up with a deep affection for the Love Buzz coffee and the Panama dark chocolate, and because I only buy Fair Trade varieties, I can heartily support and recommend Equal Exchange for Valentine’s Day (and beyond) gifts.
If you do choose to give these as gifts, I can tell you this: you’ll not only be loved even more (is that possible?), but you’ll give your loved one a sweet culinary adventure.
A word of caution: Make sure you have something productive to do after the pairing, as you’ll be all jacked up on caffeine, theobromine, and sugar. Just sayin’.
And it sure beats being a barbarian…
Image: jourdy288 at Flickr