Why is the ‘Farm to Bar’ chocolate-making model so important?
“In Grenada [in the Caribbean], where Sail Boat Chocolate is grown, the small farmers are independent and the island has been emancipated from slavery. There is now a level of infrastructure and education there which means that there are now no children working on the land and farmers are being fairly paid. On that small island, it has evolved a long way with the help of this model.”
What makes this model more sustainable?
“This is quite a new movement, only really in the last 20-30 years – championed by Mott Green [who founded The Grenada Chocolate Company with Doug Browne and Edmond Brown]. The ‘Farm to Bar’ model cares for the farmer and ensures that they are paid well – it’s not just the people who own the land that benefit, but the people who farm it too. The chocolate is made in the same location as where the beans are grown, making it traceable from beginning to end.
When chocolate is processed in first world countries, there is a lot of energy, water and fuel for transportation used. In Grenada, the focus is placed on supporting the local community and having a business model that works there locally for the benefit of local people. If there is also the possibility of shipping chocolate on an engineless sailing ship then that really helps to spread their market further in a sustainable way.”
What excites you most about the Sail Boat Chocolate project?
“Working with Fortnum’s and putting a spotlight on the world of sustainable shipping. It is a small niche but if we can get people thinking more about our attitude towards shipping and the consumption model that we have – and if people consumed less chocolate that was better quality – then we can allow the planet to rebalance itself in many ways. That was Mott’s vision – to create fantastic chocolate but also to get it to market in a sustainable way.”
What is your favourite type of chocolate?
“Something quite pure and dark – allowing all of the beautiful flavour notes to come through. I prefer thinner chocolate, as it is easier to eat. I love fruity profiles – Trinitario, the bean that Sail Boat Chocolate is made from, really hits the spot with its exceptional flavour and fruit notes.
There is a lot of focus on the percentages of chocolate, but you can get really good chocolate that isn’t a terribly high percentage. It’s helpful to compare it to wine – you probably wouldn’t go to the supermarket and compare all of the percentages of alcohol on the back of a bottle, you’d compare the origins and taste profiles of each wine. I think people need to approach their chocolate more in that way.”
What is your favourite chocolate pairing for our Sail Boat Chocolate?
“White tea is a great pairing, as it will keep your palate very clean. Port, Whisky and Rum are fantastic as well. Alcohol goes very well – the higher the alcohol level, the more it will make the chocolate sing.”