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Endangered Species Chocolate, All Natural Smooth Milk Chocolate

After watching that dismaying documentary "Chocolate: The Bitter Truth" I resolved to purchase more fair trade chocolate.  Honestly I have always shied away from the more expensive bars, because… well, they're expensive!  I wasn't really aware of the difference between fair trade and "regular" chocolate.  Most of your high end chocolate bars are organic, or fair trade, or just really fancy, or some darned thing.  I couldn't keep track.  

Now that I'm looking for fair trade stuff, I find that there is a pretty good selection at a nearby store.  You wouldn't expect Anacortes, WA to have a luxury grocery store, but The Market at Anacortes (formerly Food Pavilion) has an impressive selection of Fancy Food.

In the candy section, I found that they carry at least a dozen different varieties of Endangered Species chocolate bars.  Bewildered by the choice, I decided to start simply: with milk chocolate.  

The first thing you notice about Endangered Species bars is that each one features a different endangered animal on the wrapper.  Inside the wrapper you will find more information about the pictured species.  At first I was confused about whether you are supporting a specific species when you buy a specific chocolate bar.  But this does not seem to be the case: it's just that each bar highlights a different species.

The first thing I always look for with something like this, cynical though it may sound, is signs of greenwashing.  This is what happens when a multinational chemical manufacturing concern slaps a leaf logo on one of their toxic petroleum-derived household cleaning products and calls it "eco-friendly."

Fortunately for my withered, skeptical little heart, Endangered Species Chocolate seems to be the real deal.  The company itself (which must have paid a fortune for the domain name "chocolatebar.com") spends 10% of its profits to "help support endangered species, habitat, and humanity."  A lot of companies donate money to charitable causes, but 10% is a pretty beefy amount.  

Their website says they source their chocolate from the Ivory Coast.  And unfortunately, as described in the BBC documentary about slave labor in the cocoa plantation industry, the Ivory Coast is one of the main culprits in unethical behavior.  Because cocoa beans are sold and re-sold up the supply chain, this can camouflage the beans' actual origins.  This is how money laundering works, and it's the same mechanism used for the same reasons.  

So unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee that the chocolate is free of child slave labor. But at least there's more oversight in the fair trade product stream as compared to the free-for-all which is the supply chain for Hersheys and Nestle.

Anyway, the chocolate!  It was good.  Really good.  The label proclaims this 48% cocoa, which is pretty high for a milk chocolate.  It had the creaminess of milk chocolate, with a little bit of the bitter taste of dark chocolate.  I was both sad and relieved that I had bought only one bar.  (I snarfed it down before I even had a chance to take a picture, which is why you get a shot of the empty wrapper on this post instead of the actual candy.)