Blood Chocolate

Our feature article this month by Alison Cole, is about ethical chocolate . It includes an interview with Executive Director of The Food Empowerment Project, lauren ornelas 

Chocolate: A Big Business With Dark Secrets

February ignites the month of love, and with that comes the month of the largest chocolate sales of the year, to show our cherished ones how much we care. Sales of chocolate and confectioneries made from cocoa beans, in fact, totaled $110 million in Canada in February 2012. We Canadians certainly love our chocolate, but do we consider the ethics involved in the process of producing this delight when it comes to buying our sweetheart a Valentine?

You may or may not know about the horrific human rights violations that occur in the cacao industry. 70-75% of the world’s cacao comes from West Africa, which happens to be the place where the most egregious forms of child labour occur, in this industry. The industry is, of course, profit driven, and the chocolate companies take advantage of the country’s poverty to exploit its people and the land.

As Canadians in a privileged country, where purchasing a bar of chocolate is as easy as strolling to the nearest convenience store and passing over some small change, we have the power to end this human suffering, and to make choices with our consumer knowledge to put an end to the exploitation. Knowledge is power, and so the first step is to be aware of the issue and to know where your chocolate is coming from. There are many ethical options that are available to us, as well, that are cruelty-free. The Food Empowerment Project’s recommended Chocolate List is a great place to start for all your ethical chocolate needs!

On the Animal Voices Vancouver radio show, we interviewed Executive Director of The Food Empowerment Project lauren ornelas on the issues surrounding the big business of chocolate and its dark secrets, and you can listen to that interview here to find out more. The Food Empowerment Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help people understand how their food choices can change the world – for the good.

The chocolate companies need to take responsibility for what is happening in the making of their products, and they will do that when consumers have the knowledge to act and react, and demand human justice. Have an ethical Valentine’s Day this year!

Eatin’s Canada – January

Welcome to the very first Eatin’s Canada monthly magazine! We’re still developing and fine-tuning the content. Expect to see a bit more  over the next few days. Chilies Each edition will feature new recipes for meals, and for putting by, reviews of restaurants and food products, and interviews, as well as links to thought-provoking talks and essays about food.   For this first edition, we’re featuring Mexican food because nothing warms a Canadian winter like rich and spicy cuisine!

MoleThis month’s Putting Food By section features both an excellent Chocolate Mole sauce, and an exceptionally delicious Three Bean Chili that is rich and satisfying enough that many a meat eater has insisted that there was meat in it. Each recipe is given in quantities that are suitable either for a large party, or to freeze (which is what I do with them most of the time)

SouthwesternBreakfastTortillaBowl02FlipThe Recipes section has the preparation of Chicken Mole using the sauce, a salsa recipe, a Mexican Rice Pilaf, and a Coconut Cream Pie recipe that uses no flour!

Our contributor Glen Synoground also presents his excellent Southwestern Breakfast Tortilla Bowls, pictured here .

SocialCoffee03Reviews This month’s feature feature review is by Wayne Kwok, on Farmer’s Collective Organic Espresso, roasted by Social Coffee & Tea Company, plus mini-reviews for many other wonderful products, from Soup (Ontario Naturals) to nuts (Orasta).

We pretty much only have time to review the good food that we find.To review something properly, one has to taste it repeatedly in order to examine and relate all the important food notes…there’s no real desire to do that with food that isn’t wonderful, so we don’t.

If, over time, we find it impossible to maintain an absolute policy of niceness, we will create ‘The Dorothy Parker Room‘ (“If you can’t say anything nice, come on over and sit next to me.”), hosted by her sister-in-spirit Jezebel Parker. For now, however, the Good Food Fan Club Policy is in effect. The Reviews/Directory section is the archive of all reviewed products, services, events and books.  The only way to be represented in our directory is to be reviewed and to be thought highly of.

Rose Of Sharon BeeThis month’s Food for Thought features an excellent TED Talk by chef Dan Barber about his quest for a truly sustainable fish. It’s a fascinating exploration of farming methodologies and how treating even predators with respect can yield great results.

EnriqueWalkingOur Interview The House of Sotol is with Enrique Elisa of Vinomex, makers of Sotol and was recorded at the 2012 Canadian Restaurant Food Association (CRFA) Show. Over time, we’ll introduce more features, and we look forward to hosting our first events. For now though, we’re excited to have the first edition of Eatin’s Canada published, and welcome you to enjoy the journey with us.

Farmer’s Collective Organic Espresso

Mexico
Roasted by Social Coffee & Tea Company on January 6, 2014
Sampled 10 days after roast

Living in Toronto, we’re a bit divided on coffee. From my observations, most Torontonians prefer roasty and bittersweet European coffees. The third wave specialty coffee movement (popular on the west coast of North America, Australia, and Scandinavia) sees coffee as an artisanal product. Beans are roasted lighter to allow the drinker to appreciate the subtleties of flavour and the distinctiveness of a varietal in a particular growing region.

As a roaster, Social Coffee & Tea sits on the progressive end of the spectrum. Farmer’s Collective Organic Espresso is obviously intended to be brewed in an espresso machine, but it also makes a decent drip-filter coffee. This seems to be Social’s attempt to appeal to those who like their coffee a bit more traditional. “Nice” seems to instantly come to my customers’ minds when they drink it. I agree. It’s like that reliable friend who would rather be described as pleasant than exciting. Even someone who believes espresso should be a party in your mouth will occasionally appreciate something smooth, mellow, and sweet.

Not everyone likes big, bright, fruity espressos. This one sits on the fence. It’s definitely not a wild west coast espresso, nor is it a dark and roasty European. Nothing about it smacks you in the face. There’s a subtle brightness in the beginning followed by strong nutty notes, ending with hints of bakers chocolate. It has a very mellow and balanced taste and mouthfeel—so balanced that Social says you could trust it to run a nation.

Using the same beans, I also made myself an Americano and a drip-filter style brew using an Aeropress (a full-immersion brew method like a french press, but the liquor is pressured through a paper filter). As an Americano, the cup I had was a bit brighter, sweeter, and fruitier with much more of a roasty, candied nut taste. The Aeropress brew was a bit flatter all around.

In a latte, the milk really brings out the aroma of hazelnut. If you like nutty aromas, you won’t be disappointed.

If you’re someone who just likes a pleasant cup and isn’t looking for green apple and tea rose flavours in their espresso, this is a great everyday blend.

Social Coffee - Awards
Social Coffee – Awards

Chocolate Mole Sauce

I've loved mole sauce since the first time I tried it, and the best I've ever tasted was in a cantina in Blaine, Washington, just across the border from Canada. My mom had taken me there for lunch and while it was a simple restaurant, the food was stellar. I have tried for years to reproduce that sauce and with this combination, believe that I have hit the jackpot. For my own most recent batch, I rendered the pork fat off of the rind of some double-smoked bacon, gaining particularly delicious results. This recipe is designed to make a lot because it's enough trouble to go to that I want lots on hand when I make it and delicious enough that I will use it up in a year's time....and it makes a great gift.

Reviews

Roasted by Social Coffee & Tea Company on January 6, 2014
Sampled 10 days after roast – Review by Wayne Kwok

Living in Toronto, we’re a bit divided on coffee. From my observations, most Torontonians prefer roasty and bittersweet European coffees. The third wave specialty coffee movement (popular on the west coast of North America, Australia, and Scandinavia) sees coffee as an artisanal product. Beans are roasted lighter to allow the drinker to appreciate the subtleties of flavour and the distinctiveness of a varietal in a particular growing region.

As a roaster, Social Coffee & Tea sits on the progressive end of the spectrum. Farmer’s Collective Organic Espresso is obviously intended to be brewed in an espresso machine, but it also makes a decent drip-filter coffee. This seems to be Social’s attempt to appeal to those who like their coffee a bit more traditional. “Nice” seems to instantly come to my customers’ minds when they drink it. I agree. It’s like that reliable friend who would rather be described as pleasant than exciting. Even someone who believes espresso should be a party in your mouth will occasionally appreciate something smooth, mellow, and sweet.

Not everyone likes big, bright, fruity espressos. This one sits on the fence. It’s definitely not a wild west coast espresso, nor is it a dark and roasty European. Nothing about it smacks you in the face. There’s a subtle brightness in the beginning followed by strong nutty notes, ending with hints of bakers chocolate. It has a very mellow and balanced taste and mouthfeel—so balanced that Social says you could trust it to run a nation.

Using the same beans, I also made myself an Americano and a drip-filter style brew using an Aeropress (a full-immersion brew method like a french press, but the liquor is pressured through a paper filter). As an Americano, the cup I had was a bit brighter, sweeter, and fruitier with much more of a roasty, candied nut taste. The Aeropress brew was a bit flatter all around.

In a latte, the milk really brings out the aroma of hazelnut. If you like nutty aromas, you won’t be disappointed.

If you’re someone who just likes a pleasant cup and isn’t looking for green apple and tea rose flavours in their espresso, this is a great everyday blend.

Recipes

CHICKEN (or Turkey) MOLE

Chicken or Turkey parts, 3/4lb per serving (bone in)
Oil or lard Water or broth
1 Garlic clove per leg
Salt to taste
Mole sauce (1/4 cup per leg)

  1. Brown the chicken in the oil.
  2. Add the water and garlic, using enough water to come halfway up the side of the leg…about 1/2 cup per leg, up to about 1 cup.
  3. Cover the pan.
  4. Poach for 10-15 minutes at medium heat.
  5. Mash the garlic and add the mole sauce, stirring until it is smooth and creamy.
  6. Cook for another 10 minutes at a low heat.
  7. Serve with rice, tortillas, or salad, or all three.
Southwestern Breakfast Tortilla Bowl
Southwestern Breakfast Tortilla Bowl

 

Please  go to this link to read and try Glen Synoground’s excellent Southwestern Breakfast Tortilla Bowls, pictured here .

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