Those of you who read my blog regularly, or saw a picture of my chocolate-topped birthday cake will know I love chocolate. It is like catnip for humans. I can’t get enough. It also happens to make the perfect reading treat. It melts in the mouth, allowing your concentration to stay between the pages, and everybody knows there is a connection between chocolate and emotions. Professor RJ Lupin says so, and if nobody else does, that is good enough for me. Chocolate is like an edible hug, and lets face it. Our emotions are at play when we read. Alongisde our heros we confront our craziest fears, and we invest time in characters who can find themselves in grave peril.
Chocolate fuels this bookworm. I thought it would be fun to pair some chocolate with my latest favourite reads. What to choose? I discourage anybody from feeling guilty about their reading snacks. I wouldn’t change my habits for love nor body image. But getting a better deal for some of the poorest people in the world?
That’s the job of Fairtrade. Maybe you’ve noticed the Fairtrade mark and wondered what it means? It means the trade is fair (geddit?) for people who produce food supplies in developing countries. The people who manufacture goods, like my chocolate bars, must meet criteria, such as:
- paying producers a fair and stable price for goods
- Entering into longer-term relationships with producers, ensuring longer-term stability.
The Producers benefit from:
- training and skills to develop their businesses
- a ‘Fairtrade Premium’ to spend within their businesses or communities.
It shows a commitment to investing in the world’s poorest places. When Fairtrade UK sent an email asking if I would like some samples, I jumped in. I was sent these samples in exchange for review but all opinions remain my own.They sent such a great selection, I was able to pair books and chocolate very nicely.
The Midnight Peacock by Katherine Woodfine.
Chocolate: Chocolate And Love – Rich Dark 71%
My first reason for this pairing was the cute peacock decoration on the chocolate wrapper. The Midnight Peacock came out in October. I have loved Sinclair’s all along, but The Midnight Peacock was my very favourite. Aside from being a great mystery, it has this dark, sumptuous atmosphere. This is another reason these make a lovely pair. A little of this chocolate goes a long way, but it doesn’t have the bitterness a higher percentage of cocoa solids would produce. As a milk chocolate person, this made it the perfect dark chocolate for me. Dark, but not cloying, and it has a deliciously fruity smell.
The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed.
Chocolate: Chocolate And Love – Sea Salt 55%
This is my current read. A book which has taken my Twitter circle by storm, The Nowhere Girls covers some hugely difficult topics such as mysogynistic culture and victim-blaming. As of the first 100 pages, I can see strong relationships being formed between the three central characters. This is a book-group book. A book to send to your closest friends. This is a book which incites discussions which need to happen. It is one to share, so it had to be paired with a sharing chocolate. Sea salted caramel is having a moment, and is a flavour lots of people enjoy. This is dark chocolate, but only just – I mistook it for a heavy milk. The caramel is quite sweet, and put me in mind of banoffee. I love the crunch of the caramel pieces.
The Murder’s Ape by Jacob Wagelius
Chocolate: The Raw Chocolate Company – Raw Organic Chocolate Mulberries
I didn’t know what to expect when I saw the packet. I thought these might make a good pairing because the novel is a slow, winding adventure. I liked the idea of loose chocolate, which I could dip my hand into as the hours unfolded. I was worried they might have a chalky coating. You know what I mean by chalky, don’t you? Loose, dusty coating which leaves marks over your hands. The coating wasn’t like that at all. It was sweet and pleasant. The fruit wasn’t overpowering, either, and went well with the chocolate.
Guilt-free and scrummy. My verdict? I would love to check out more goods endorsed by Fairtrade UK. The chocolate came with some recipe cards, and those cookies look mouth-watering. Check back later – if the chocolate lasts long enough, I’ll give them a go and share the results!
HUGE thanks to Fairtrade UK for sending the chocolate samples reviewed in this piece. As stated, all opinions my own.
Do you have a favourite reading snack? Is fair trade something you have thought about? Do let me know in the comments below.