Sjaak's Organic Mint Mills Gourmet Organic Dark Chocolate & Creamy Mint 1" x 5.75" x 5.75" (4.5 oz./132 g)
Sjaak's Organic Mint Mills Gourmet Organic Dark Chocolate & Creamy Mint are creamy dark chocolate mints, carefully shaped like the Antonius Mullen windmill located in Blerick, The Netherlands. This was the family windmill of Jacques, the creator of Sjaak's. The mill was used for wheat and other grains. Unfortunately, it was destroyed in 1943 by bombing in World War II. Jacques fondly remembers playing in the fields that surrounded the foundation of the mill.
Sjaak's Organic Chocolates creates a large variety of vegan products, including chocolate bars, gift boxes and Holiday treats. This means they contain no animal ingredients, such as milk, butter, eggs and gelatin. Sjaak's Organic Chocolates aims to create the highest quality gourmet organic chocolates possible while simultaneously supporting a positive work environment, fair trade practices and encouraging sustainable agriculture through the use of organic, non-GMO ingredients. It is also the goal of Sjaak's Organic Chocolates to build a socially responsible, profitable business, that can be carried on for generations to come.
The Sjaak's Story began on the Southern beaches of Spain. This is where Jacques and Pam met and fell in love. They soon came back and settled in Eureka, California, where Pam had grown up. They began a chocolate business that grew into a household name in their community/ After years of building a thriving business, they realized that they needed to shift their attention to organic products. Being long-time vegetarians (since 1970) and health conscious consumers themselves, they felt they needed their personal beliefs reflected in their business, this the beginning of Sjaak's Organic chocolates.
Sjaak's Organic Chocolates creates a large variety of vegan products, including chocolate bars, gift boxes and Holiday treats. This means they contain no animal ingredients, such as milk, butter, eggs and gelatin. The sugar used is non bone char.
Sjaak's Organic Chocolates is a lacto-vegetarian operation. This means they have no eggs or gelatin in their factory. They take these vegan products very seriously, and clean equipment thoroughly between batches, but take caution - trace amounts of dairy are possible. Sjaak's does use various nuts in their products, so if you have a severe allergy, please use caution. Sjaak's is a gluten-free facility, and uses organic soy in all of their products.
The Sjaak's logo is rooted deep in family history. Jacques, the owner and creator of Sjaak's Organic Chocolate, was born in the Netherlands, and grew up next door to the family grain mill. The original wind mill that is that is represented in the Sjaak's logo was named Antonius Mollen, a family name to this day. This mill was destroyed in World War II, but it was replaced by a mechanical mill. The tulip in the forefront is iconic of Holland, the largest producers of tulips in the world.
Cocoa Tree Facts
- needs shade and protection because of its frailty
- the pods are football shaped and are 6-12 inches long
- can live up to 100 years
- its pods grow directly on trunk or older larger branches
- its roots are shallow
- it grow to 15-25 feet
- 20-50 cacao beans in each pod
- it produces fruit (pods) in 4th or 5th year
- 400 beans needed for one pound of chocolate
- it needs high humidity - temperatures over 65 degrees and more than 80 inches yearly of rain
- farmers plant taller trees around cacao trees to provide shade and protection
- grows only within 15 degrees of the equator in the tropical countries of Africa, Asia, Central America and South America
Cocoa Farms Facts
- mostly grown on family farms of less than 15 acres
- 70% world's supply comes from West Africa
- approximately 1.2 million cocoa farms in West Africa
- 3 million tons produced annually
- 10 million people live on cocoa farms in West Africa
- the organic cocoa industry is working hard to ensure that abusive child labor is being eliminated on the farms
- Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon are countries that have the most family farms
- Sustainable cocoa farming that combines good farming methods with good economic practices is increasing
- Biodiversity is common by the planting shade trees that also provide useful products for the farmer
Cocoa Harvesting Facts
- Harvesting is done by hand because the tree is sensitive and delicate
- Pods are broken by machetes and seeds scooped from pod
- A good worker can break 500 pods an hour
- Harvested beans quickly change color from cream to purple
- Beans are put in boxes and covered after harvesting
- Dried cocoa beans then ferment for about 5 days
- Dried beans are then ready for shipping to cocoa processing countries
- Fermented dried beans become deep brown and acquire the rich aroma of chocolate
- Cocoa beans are roasted in large rotating cylinders
- The inside of the cocoa bean is called the "nib"
- Nibs are ground into a non-alcoholic liquid called "chocolate liquor."
- Chocolate liquor is the main ingredient in chocolate
- Giant hydraulic presses squeeze the cocoa butter out of the chocolate liquor
- The pressed cake that remains after the cocoa butter is removed can be cooled, pulverized and sifted into cocoa powder
- Chocolate is made by mixing a variety of ingredients into the chocolate liquor
- These ingredients can be milk, sugar, cocoa butter in various amounts that determine the type and quality of chocolate
- The chocolate mixture is then finely ground between a series of heavy roller - this is "conching"
- This chocolate is poured into slabs to send to chocolate makers around the world
- These chocolate makers must then "temper" the chocolate which is heating, cooling and re-heating the chocolate to acquire the right consistency
- The chocolate makers then take this chocolate and make a variety of confections
Sjaak's Organic Chocolates is 100% certified organic. This means every one of their ingredients has been grown organically, using no pesticides, herbicides, or any toxic chemicals. All ingredients are non-GMO (genetically modified). Sjaak's never uses any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. They believe in the inherent goodness of foods without chemical or other alterations.
Sjaak's Organic Chocolate supports the equality of all the workers that bring the finished product to you. This includes not only the wellbeing of their immediate employees, but also the cocoa farmers as far away as Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. Sjaak's uses cocoa that is fair trade, which means that the farmers and workers are insured a fair price for the cocoa and a safe environment in which to work. Sjaak's never uses cocoa that employs slave or child labor. Please look for the USDA Organic Seal and the Fair Trade seal on these products.