May 25, 2009

Food Find: Kallari Chocolate Bars

I listen to KCRW's Good Food podcast every week. Evan Kleinman's show is always informative, intriguing, entertaining, and educational. I am tortured by the Santa Monica Farmers' Market reports. I wish we had that range of produce locally. Recently, they did a story on Kallari Chocolate. I had seen this new brand, but hadn't tried it. I brought some home recently and we discovered our favorite new chocolate.

Most cacao growers produce their beans for shipment all over the world for processing into the chocolate bars and confections we eat. As every chocolate-lover knows, good quality chocolate is an expensive indulgence/addiction. But the growers don't usually see much of that money. There are middlemen and processors. Everyone takes a bite.

Kallari is a cooperative of growers who grow, process and produce their own organic chocolate bars in Ecuador. It is sold in the U.S. exclusively at Whole Foods. Judy Logback, an American volunteering with a foundation promoting biodiversity in Ecuador, met with the farmers in 1997. They said they wanted to find a way to succeed on their farms while facing the pressure to log, drill or mine their lands to survive. Logback helped them find their way down a long road to becoming possibly the only cacao farmers making and marketing their own chocolate. Read their whole story in this piece in the New York Times or listen to Good Food's interview with Judy Logback.

The bars at being distributed in the U.S. exclusively through Whole Foods. They come in 70%, 75% and 85% cacao for $4.99 each.

We've tasted the 70% and the 75% and really like them both. Try them and see what you think.

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