Divine - 70% Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar - 5.3 oz. (150g)
Divine 70% Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar is made only with the finest quality Fair Trade cocoa beans from Kuapa Kokoo, a coopertative of smallholder farmers in Ghana. The cocoa is grown in the shade of the tropical by the farmers, who take great pride in the chocolate company they co-own. Choosing delicious Divine gives you guaranteed pleasure, and the farmers a guaranteed fair deal, as well as the chance to invest in a better future - that's good business.
The History of Cocoa
Theobroma cacao, or as it is more commonly known, cocoa is indigenous to the Amazon Basin and tropical areas of South and Central America and was first cultivated there over 2000 years ago. It formed the basis of fascinating rituals and social systems throughout the "New World." The Mayans believed cocoa to be the food of the gods and it was one of their most important sacred plants. Cocoa also served as currency: you could buy a slave for 100 nibs (cocoa beans), a rabbit for four nibs, or the favours of a women for ten nibs.
Cocoa was first introduced to Europe in the fifteenth century by Christopher Columbus who brought some back to Spain after his travels in the "New World." It was heavily taxed and therefore remained a drink exclusive to the upper classes. The Spanish kept the secrets of cocoa to themselves for over a century and when Francis Drake captured Spanish galleons at sea, his crew threw the sacks of cocoa beans overboard, thinking them useless.
In Britain a wealthy "cafe society" grew up around the luxurious chocolate houses, where the Jacobean landed gentry met to drink hot chocolate. In 1828 Coenraad van Houten, a Dutchman, invented the cocoa press which extracted the cocoa powder from the cocoa butter. The powder made a smoother drink and the butter, when combined with more cocoa powder and sugar, made the first chocolate.
This revolutionised the cocoa industry. Cadbury's invested in the machine and is credited with producing the first chocolate bar in 1842. They made chocolate an affordable treat. What had been an exclusive pastime for the upper classes became a mass market product in the form of bars and boxes of chocolates with flavoured centres. In fact, throughout the 19th Century enterprising Quakers attempted to turn poorer working class people away from "Dutch" gin to the "more nourishing and healthy alternative" of chocolate and cocoa. In 1875 Daniel Peters, a Swiss man, added Henri Nestles condensed milk to chocolate and the two men are accredited with the invention of milk chocolate.
The expansion in consumption, combined with the labour shortages due to short life expectancy on Brazilian cocoa plantations, led to the gradual expansion of production, into the Caribbean and mainland Africa by the late 1870s.
Divine Chocolate Frequently Asked Questions
What do the Kuapa farmers get out of their relationship with Divine?
Divine is made with cocoa bought from Kuapa Kokoo at the Fair Trade price of $1600/tonne. In addition, Kuapa Kokoo receives a $150 per tonne Fair Trade social premium that is invested into community projects such as building schools, providing clean drinking water, mobile medical clinics and women's income generations projects. When the world cocoa prices goes above the $1600 per tonne Fair Trade price, they pay the world price, plus the $150 per tonne social premium. Additionally, a percentage of Divine's gross sales goes towards producer support and development which Kuapa Kokoo spends on farmer education, and helping to maintain the values and vision of the cooperative as it grows, especially its commitment to democracy. And as owners the farmers of Kuapa Kokoo receive a percentage of dividend distribution when the company declares a profit. In the UK, Divine Chocolate was able to distribute dividends for the first time in 2007. Divine in the US looks forward to the day when they can follow the lead of our sister company in the UK. Of equally important but less tangible value, their ownership stake in Divine gives farmers a seat at the table of global trade. Their brand is their voice is the marketplace and allows them to tell their story to consumers and retailers alike.
Is Divine suitable for vegetarians?
All Divine Chocolate bars are suitable for vegetarians.
Could Divine be made more healthy?
Divine chocolate is made with the best of everything - top quality cocoa, natural cocoa butter and vanilla - and that is what makes it so good and delicious. Any attempt to reduce the fat or sugar or replace ingredients with synthetic alternatives would mean creating an inferior product that fewer people would enjoy. Divine's aim is to make the best chocolate containing only natural ingredients that most people can enjoy as a treat, as part of a balanced diet.
Is Divine nut-free?
None of the Divine products can be guaranteed totally nut-free as the factory where they are made handles nuts.
Is Divine organic?
At present, there is no national program for organic certification of cocoa in Ghana. Cocoa is very prone to disease which can quickly spread and wipe out huge areas of cocoa production. This in turn would seriously endanger the livelihoods of thousands of small-scale cocoa farmers and threatened the larger Ghanaian economy. Until enough testing of organically approved pesticides have been completed in Ghana, introducing organic production is too risky. It is worth noting that Divine Chocolate is natural product, made with real cocoa butter and real vanilla, Fair Trade sugar and lecithin from GM-free soya.
Is Divine gluten-free?
None of the ingredients in Divine contain gluten. However, the bars are produced in a factory which does produce items that contain gluten. Divine Chocolate therefore can not certify that our products are gluten-free.
Is Divine Kosher?
Divine Chocolate bars and coins are certified by Triangle-K.
Is Divine only available from the USA?
No - Divine is growing around the world! You can buy Divine in the UK, across Scandinavia and the Netherlands.
Why isn't Divine made in Ghana?
Divine Chocolate's mission is to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers in West Africa. By creating a chocolate brand with significant ownership by farmers, they have created a way for farmers to access the market at the highest point of the value chain and to receive significant financial benefit. Manufacturing in Ghana would not deliver the same benefits to farmers and would introduce additional financial, logistical and environmental challenges for bringing their chocolate to the market in Europe and in the USA.
How is Divine reducing its environmental impact?
As a responsible company Divine is conscious of its environmental impact, and they are committed to doing their best to continuously make improvements to reduce it. Divine Chocolate doesn't use airfreight at any stage of their supply chain, and keep up to date with best practice regarding all the materials they use. Divine Chocolate's packaging is reviewed annually, and while ensuring their products are all kept protected and delicious, they want to make sure they look lovely and irresistible with as little packaging as possible. Latest developments include keeping their Easter Egg packaging to a minimum with no plastic, using cornstarch trays inside their chocolate boxes, and most recently, removing the cellophane wrapper from the Divine Advent Calendars.
What is happening in Ghana to ensure environmental conservation in cocoa farming?
Twin, the NGO that helped to set up Divine, is working with its trading partners in Africa and Latin America, many of whom grow tree crops in tropical rainforests, to help them find ways to adapt to and mitigate the impact of climate change. Many of these producers are having to cope with increasingly erratic rainfall patterns that are effecting productivity. With support from Twin and local and international experts, these cooperatives are beginning to identify new or rediscover old production practices that can help them adapt to climatic change. In cocoa, for example, farmers can plant more shade trees in order to improve moisture conservation and increase biodiversity. Such tree planting projects are a 'carbon sink' and can therefore potentially attract payments from carbon offsetting schemes, which can help fund these important adaptation initiatives and even generate additional income for farmers.
The Divine Story
The story starts in 1879 when Tetteh Quarshie first brought cocoa to Ghana from Equatorial Guinea. Since then, Ghanaian cocoa has developed a global reputation for its quality and its taste. Today it is one of the country's main exports. Ghana is the second largest exporter of cocoa in the world. Most of the cocoa is grown by small-scale family farmers on 4-5 acres of land. Cocoa farming is a precarious business. The trees are vulnerable to various diseases and pests and although chocolate is one of the world's favorite treats, the cocoa price often dips below the level at which it pays enough for cocoa small-scale farmers to survive.
In the early 1990's, the cocoa market in Ghana become partially liberalized, allowing for the formation of licensed buying companies to purchase cocoa beans from farmers and sell them to Cocoa Marketing Company that would continue to be the single exporter of Ghana cocoa. A number of farmers, including a visionary farmer representative on the Ghana Cocoa Board, Nana Frimpong Abrebrese, came to realize that they had the opportunity to organize farmers in an industry where their voices were not being heard and set up a licensed buying company that would be run by farmers and for their benefit. These farmers pooled resources to set up Kuapa Kokoo, a farmers' co-op, which would trade its own cocoa, and thus manage the selling process more efficiently than the government cocoa agents. Kuapa Kokoo - which means good cocoa growers - has a mission to empower farmers in their efforts to gain a dignified livelihood, to increase women's participation in all of Kuapa's activities, and to develop environmentally friendly cultivation of cocoa.
Kuapa Kokoo quickly developed a reputation for being fair and honest. In Ghana, the cocoa scale and control of the scale is tremendously important. A cocoa farmer can easily be robbed by unscrupulous clerks that rigged the scales to cheat farmers out of the full value of their crop. Kuapa Kokoo put power over the scales in the hands of farmers by making sure that each village had its own scale and its own elected clerk or village recorder. Further, through its commitment to Fair Trade and sale of cocoa to the Fair Trade market, Kuapa Kokoo was able to return greater benefits to cocoa farmers. Its membership quickly grew. In 1997, at their annual general meeting, the farmers of Kuapa Kokoo voted to set up a chocolate company of their own in order to return even more benefits to cocoa farmers. And with investment from The Body Shop and Twin Trading, and support from Comic Relief and Christian Aid, Divine Chocolate was born.
Divine Chocolate is today a leading Fair Trade brand in the UK and a pioneer in the world of socially responsible enterprise. The success of Divine means that farmers have a secure source of Fair Trade income that continues to grow year on year. Kuapa Kokoo has invested its Fair Trade income in building schools, sinking wells for clean drinking water to villages, providing mobile medical clinics for farmers in remote growing regions, and fostering women's income generation projects to help women earn additional income for their families when the cocoa season is over. The farmers' ownership stake in Divine Chocolate means that Kuapa Kokoo has a meaningful input into decisions about how Divine is produced and sold. In addition, Kuapa Kokoo receives a share in the profits from their ownership shares and in 2007 celebrated the first distribution of dividends from Divine in the UK. To further its mission and further increase benefits for cocoa farmers, Divine Chocolate launched a US company to expand into $13 billion American market. In 2006, Divine Chocolate Inc opened in Washington DC to bring fantastic Fair Trade chocolate to US consumers. The farmers of Kuapa Kokoo own one-third of Divine Chocolate in the US. Additional investment is provided by Divine Chocolate Ltd. in the UK, Lutheran World Relief, Oikocredit, and SERRV International.