It’s Fairtrade Fortnight, which is an annual awareness campaign run by the Fairtrade Foundation that aims to get us really thinking about where our food comes from and how the trade and consumption affects and benefits the local communities in developing countries. Of course, many of us are aware that Fairtrade has made an enormous difference to workers in these communities by offering better prices, better working conditions, fairer terms of trade and, most importantly, a focus on sustainability so that the communities can continue to trade in a sometimes uncertain future. It used to be the case that only a few specialist products were Fairtrade, however as time goes on, more and more products are proudly displaying the badge; everything from the traditional Fairtrade products of coffee, chocolate and bananas to less likely items such as clothing, beer and honey.
During Fairtrade Fortnight there are a number of events to engage with people around this issue. A couple of years ago I took part in a Fairtrade Bake-Off with a prize for the most Fairtrade ingredients. I thought I had it in the bag with nine, until my colleague swiped the prize with a massive twelve.
For the second year, Fairtrade chocolate supremo Divine have opened a pop-up shop in Covent Garden for Fairtrade fortnight. This has coincided with the launch of two new flavours: a 38% milk chocolate with whole almonds, and a 70% dark chocolate with mango and coconut. Of course, Divine chocolate is readily available in a number of shops and supermarkets, but having a shop entirely devoted to their range certainly appeals to the chocoholic within me. Little samples are available of their various bars, of which I tried many, and there is a little coffee machine at the back (Fairtrade, obviously). In addition to this, they have a counter at the back selling some delicious looking baked goods including millionaire’s shortbread and little macarons.
There are a number of events on at the pop-up throughout Fairtrade Fortnight including sampling, chocolate workshops and meeting the cocoa farmers.
I ended up going home with an incredibly gluttonous four bars: milk chocolate with toffee and sea salt, dark chocolate with mango and coconut, orange milk chocolate and dark chocolate with chilli and orange.
Divine Pop-Up, 53 Monmouth Street, London WC2H 9DA. Open until Sunday 9th March.