Green & Black's Organic - Hazelnut and Currant Dark Chocolate Bar 60% Cocoa - 3.5 oz. (100g)Green & Black Organic's Story
Green & Black Organic Hazelnut and Currant Dark Chocolate Bar 60% is a Bittersweet Dark 60% Green and Black's Chocolate with hazlenuts & Currants. The rich, intense flavor of Green&Black's dark chocolate is balanced with the sunburnt sweetness of organic roasted currants and the toasted, nutty crunch of organic chopped hazelnuts.
Not many are consumed by a passion to create intensely flavorful organic chocolate so the Green & Black's story really is a special one. People often ask them about the early days, like how they got their name and how things work today now that the team has grown. They never tire of sharing their journey and hope they answer most of your questions here. Read on to discover more.
Green & Black Organic's Beginning
It all started back in 1991 when Craig Sams, founder of Whole Earth - the UK's pioneering organic food company - was sent a sample of dark 70% chocolate made from organic cocoa beans. His wife, Josephine Fairley, environment columnist for The London Times and confirmed chocoholic, found the half eaten bar on Craig's desk and sampled some herself. The bold, rich flavor was unlike anything Jo had tasted before, and she was convinced other chocolate lovers would appreciate it in the same way. Jo and Craig set out to bring to the masses the world's first organic chocolate. The result was a high-quality, bittersweet dark chocolate bar, packed with 70% cocoa solids - enough to make chocolate fans sit up and take notice.
Not surprisingly, the brand began to build a loyal following. Then in 1994, while Jo and Craig were vacationing in Belize, they discovered how local cocoa farmers were being harmed by decreasing cocoa prices. They agreed to pay the farmers a fair price for their crops and created the flavor of Maya Gold™, which was inspired by the ancient Kukuh drink traditionally enjoyed by the Mayan farmers. This way of doing business didn't seem different to them - it just seemed right and came naturally - and in the process, the Maya Gold brand earned the UK's first Fairtrade mark.
Green & Black Organic's Name
People often ask them how Green & Black's got its name. There never was, in fact, a Mr. Green or a Mrs. Black. The name was dreamt up by the company founders, Craig and Jo, to symbolize the true foundations of the brand: green for organic and black for the deep, rich dark brown (almost black) color of the chocolate. And so Green & Black's was born
Green & Black Organic's Company
From those early days back in Notting Hill, London, it's unlikely Craig and Jo could have envisioned what a huge success Green & Black's would become. Today, they remain true to their original values of ethical trading and organic products. Their aim continues to be the creation of chocolate products that gives a taste experience like no other. They believe every new creation has to be the best they've ever tasted of its kind, and requires the time and care to bring out the intense chocolate flavor that has become their trademark.
Green & Black Organic's People
Green & Black's is a small team, which simply means that every person is as vital as the next - whether it's making sure the orders are dealt with promptly or getting the chocolate from point A to B. The Green & Black's family spans their offices in London and New Jersey, and a much larger group around the world. Without the hundreds of farmers in Belize and the Dominican Republic who grow their organic cocoa, they would not be able to make their exquisitely intense, rich chocolate. Without their commercial teams in the office, that exceptional chocolate wouldn't reach you, their customers.
Green & Black Organic's Chocolates
Bars. Baking. Hot Chocolate. Green & Black's makes wonderful chocolates in each of these categories. All of their products are exquisitely delicious because they believe that every step of the chocolate making process is equally important - whether it's harvesting the finest organically grown cocoa beans, or taking extra production time and care that brings out their trademark intense flavor.
From Bean to Bar
At Green & Black's, they believe every step in the process is equally important in creating great- tasting, intensely flavorful chocolate. From carefully harvesting the Trinitario and Criollo cocoa pods to roasting the beans to stirring the paste, join them as they journey, From Bean to Bar...
Cocoa is amongst the most highly sprayed food crops in the world. At Green & Black's, they choose to grow and make their chocolate organically to bring out the signature intensity and flavor in their cocoa beans. They ensure that every one of their ingredients is grown using natural, sustainable farming methods with no pesticides. This allows the true cocoa flavors to shine through and their chocolate to taste the way it was meant to - deep, fruity and full. All of their products are organic and certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), and meet the National Organic Program (NOP) standards set by the USDA. This certification gives consumers of organic products an assurance that the product is from a trusted source and matches the high standards of organic production. Furthermore, the farms where they source their cocoa beans are visited to ensure they adhere to strict guidelines that enable them to call their products organic. They hear the term organic a lot these days but what does it really mean? Organic production differs from more commercial farming methods in that it relies on nature to produce the crop. The term "organic" when applied to crops, animal rearing, and food in general actually refers to the sustainability of the land. The product is therefore organic if the land can continue to provide food without becoming exhausted of nutrients. In practice this means that organic farming does not allow the mass use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, fostering a more natural environment for people and animals alike.
At Green & Black's, the very essence of their mission relies on sourcing organic ingredients. When they allow the depth and variety of flavor to stand out in every cocoa bean, they infuse their products with the same intensity of flavor for extraordinary taste. Organic farming is their means to this end. For them, working with so many others on quality helps them realize and share their passion for delectably intense chocolate.
They also believe that farmers who grow their crops organically are often more interested in, and concentrate on, the quality and taste of what they grow. They are more likely to choose varieties and growing methods that ensure they can successfully grow their crops without the use of chemicals. Sometimes the farmers reintroduce neglected or obscure varieties that have been forgotten, while still achieving the best taste possible. For them, working with so many others on quality helps them realize and share their passion for delectably intense chocolate.
Green & Black Organic's in Belize
Green & Black's has been buying organic cocoa from the TCGA farmer's co-operative in Belize since 1994 and paying a fair guaranteed price - above the world cocoa price. In 2003, they extended their activities with cocoa farmers and started their Belize Program to provide even more support. They decided to invest £225,000 over three years with the TCGA and this money was kindly matched by a grant from the British government (DFID). This investment in cocoa farming communities was used to help improve management and farming practices, rehabilitate hurricane damaged crops, plant more cocoa trees, and train farmers in better growing methods. Today, Green & Black's continues to provide technical advice and support the farmers in Belize.
They are happy that they have been able to help the TCGA and farmers achieve greater economical sustainability. This area is the poorest part of Belize and Green & Black's is keen to help the local community improve their quality of life. Prior to June 2003, there was declining TCGA membership and static cocoa bean production. Today, there is a strong feeling of ownership among the TCGA executive and the farmers. The former Chairman of the TCGA, Pablo Cal has said that he was "very excited about the [cocoa] industry." Since 2003, more farmers have joined the TCGA and many farmers have been renovating and returning to their farms. Interest has moved beyond the farmers to other communities throughout Belize and has received mention by the Belize government.
Green & Black's launched Maya Gold back in 1994. Their founders, Jo Fairley and Craig Sams, were vacationing in Belize and while there, they sampled a local drink called Kukuh made with cocoa beans and spices. Kukuh was consumed by the Mayan farmers whose ancestors originally domesticated the cocoa bean. Inspired by the taste of Kukuh and the aroma of the rainforests, Jo and Craig decided to capture both in Green & Black's Maya Gold chocolate - a blend of intense dark chocolate with a refreshing twist of orange, perfectly balanced by the warmth of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.
At the time, no one realized what an important milestone for Green & Black's the trip would become. Jo and Craig discovered that the lucrative prices available to the Mayan farmers to plant hybrid cocoa trees instead of the indigenous variety subsequently plummeted with the world cocoa prices- leaving the community in economic ruin. On discovering this, Jo and Craig initiated an agreement with the local farmers, paying them a premium for their organic cocoa and an additional Fair Trade price. So from their very first batch of Maya Gold, and every batch since, the cocoa has been sourced directly from the farmers, giving them a fair price for their crop.
This long-term arrangement to buy all the cocoa the farmers can produce has numerous positive by-products. It's given security to the farmers families, helping them to improve their quality of life, provide a better education for their families, and offer stability to the local community. Today they continue to strengthen their link with the cocoa farmers of Belize by supporting a grower's cooperative, the Toledo Cacao Growers Association (TCGA). Their arrangement with the farmers made during that eventful trip meets the standards set by TransFair USA, allowing their Maya Gold product to be Fair Trade Certified™.
How They Make It
When their beans first arrive at the factory, they are checked again for quality to ensure no rogue batches enter the production line. The beans are then roasted to further develop their rich flavor. Then, they grind the beans creating a smooth paste, adding Bourbon vanilla and organic sugar. Next, this paste or cocoa mass is "conched" or stirred for 18 hours. Eighteen hours of stirring is what their cocoa paste requires to bring out the intense flavor that's deliciously present in their chocolate.
Before pouring the chocolate mixture into molds to set, it has to be tempered. Well-tempered chocolate has a lovely shine, with no streaks or "bloom" (the white, cloudy appearance chocolate can sometimes have that's caused by the cocoa butter separating from the other ingredients). It will also have a good "snap" - that sound a quality chocolate bar makes when you break it.
Pairing brilliance with greatness is how they think of the addition of inclusions - the items they add to the chocolate to create their delicious range of flavors. Of course they use the highest quality inclusions in just the right quantities to ensure flavor perfection. In their Almond bar for example, they use whole almonds, still in their skins, to intensify their flavor. This process toasts the nut giving it a deeper, nuttier flavor and creates a slightly sweet, crisp shell. Using whole, organic Sicilian almonds means they need to use copious amounts of nuts in each bar to ensure each delicious bite has the right combination of flavors.
Finally, the chocolate is then molded into bars, wrapped and ready to enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I store their chocolate?
Chocolate should be kept in a cool, dark place, with a temperature of less than 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Chocolate absorbs other flavors so be sure to store it away from other strong odors. Some people like to keep their chocolate in the refrigerator which is also fine, but always store it in a
Tupperware box or sealed plastic bag - again, to ensure it doesn't become tainted by strong flavors from other foods in the fridge.
What should I do if I think the product I've bought doesn't taste right?
They are proud of their range and take their product quality very seriously. On the odd occasion, over- fermented cocoa beans can enter the supply chain, which can give the chocolate a slightly damp, musty taste. If this is the case or for another reason you have not been completely happy with one of their products, they want to hear from you so they can do something about it. Click here to contact their customer services team, who will make sure you are a satisfied consumer of chocolate!
Does chocolate contain antioxidants?
Yes, chocolate is a source of antioxidants. Many of their products are dark chocolate which has higher cocoa solids content, but even their milk chocolate has 34% cocoa solids. This compares to the average milk chocolate which is around 20%. The reason they use such a high cocoa content in their products is because of the intense flavor it delivers to their chocolate.
Their packaging states that their products are made in a factory which handles nut, cereal and dairy ingredients. What does this mean?
Although some of their products are made without nut, cereal or milk ingredients, they are produced in a factory that handles them. they take all precautions to minimize the risks of cross contamination with these ingredients.
They take into account scheduling of products and they clean the lines by flushing chocolate through until there is no notable trace of the previous lines' chocolate in the new batch. They are confident that the cleaning procedures are robust and eliminate traces of nut, cereal or dairy ingredients, but the only certain guarantee of absence is by manufacturing in a nut, cereal and dairy free site. Therefore they use the above statement to ensure consumers are fully informed about their products.
Specifically, their chocolate is made in a factory that does not handle peanuts. However, the factory handles five types of nut - Brazil nuts, Almonds, Hazelnuts, Cashew and Pistachio nuts.
What has changed with their milk allergen labeling and
Why has the allergen warning on their dark chocolate bars changed?
The change highlights milk as an ingredient in their previously labelled 'vegan' dark organic chocolate bars. As both the milk chocolate and dark chocolate bars are made using the same production line there is a risk of cross contact. A recent audit revealed that traces of milk residues can still be found on manufacturing equipment despite
Has the recipe for dark chocolate changed?
No, the recipe has remained the same since 1998.
Is the product being manufactured in a different factory or on different equipment?
No, the facility and the process have also remained the same.
Why might there be traces of milk in the dark chocolate?
As they make Green & Black's dark organic chocolate bars on the same production line as milk organic chocolate bars there will always be the possibility of some cross contact. It is impossible to remove all traces of milk residues from the equipment.
What level of milk would be safe for a milk allergy sufferer?
There is no clear data for this and experts differ on what is safe. Some suggest 5ppm casein is sufficient to cause an attack in severe sufferers. As a result they are ensuring that their labelling clearly lists milk as an ingredient.
How much milk is present in Green & Black's dark organic chocolate?
This is not possible to state without testing bars from each batch although they know that in some cases it may exceed the 5ppm that some scientist's state can cause a reaction.
Why can't the equipment be cleaned more effectively to remove the milk?
Whilst intensive washing with water and detergent could achieve the removal of the allergenic casein it is not practical to use water in chocolate handling equipment. The most practical method involves flushing the equipment with dark chocolate until the milk chocolate residues are removed. This is highly effective but still cannot guarantee the removal of all traces of milk protein residues.
Why can't they make their dark chocolate on a dedicated line?
The restrictions for organic segregation and the design of plant they need for their type of chocolate restricts the availability of equipment. They are looking at alternative equipment and hope in the future to reverse this
I have a casein allergy and have been eating their dark chocolate for many years without a problem. Can I continue
to do so?
There is actually no change to the risk but they are unable to advise you if this is safe for you to consume. What they are now clearly stating on pack is that they cannot guarantee the absence of milk. It is almost certainly
going to be present - albeit at a low level.
The vegan statement has gone; has the product ever been suitable for vegans?
By definition vegan products contain no ingredients derived from animals within the recipe and this still remains true for Green & Black's dark chocolate. However as their dark chocolate is made on the same production line as their milk chocolate there is some risk of cross contact. As a result, the desire for clearer allergen labelling now conflicts with the vegan statement and they have reluctantly decided to remove it from their labelling.
The ingredient list will show organic whole milk powder. Is this now an ingredient in Green & Black's dark
No, the decision to show milk as an ingredient was very hard and debated for a long time. Unfortunately they can not guarantee that their dark chocolate will be free from traces of milk as it is made on the same production line and they have therefore included it as an ingredient to ensure consumers, especially milk allergy sufferers, are
and they have therefore included it as an ingredient to ensure consumers, especially milk allergy sufferers, are