Chocolate cards

(I’m going to stick with the gift theme for another post.)

This is a household that consumes rather a lot of chocolate. Not any old chocolate, but still vast quantities of the dark and luscious food of the gods. With that large consumption, comes wrappers. A lot of them.

So with all those wrappers accumulating, I started to collect them and turn them into things. The chocolate of choice that we generally buy is Whittakers, and the wrapping of it really is lovely to begin with, dark and gold with a lovely picture. First came the birthday card and then came the wrapping paper.

For the birthday cards, most people haven’t even realised it was once a chocolate wrapper. I match it with a couple of other coloured papers and card, then stick it down. For the wrappers, they are all just stuck together to make whatever size I need.

I really love beautiful wrapping paper, but hate to see it being ripped and torn as a present is opened. I either see it as part of the present itself or like to see it as something that can be more easily discarded. I was always one of those annoying kids who carefully peeled back the tape on a present, not ripping and then gently refolding the paper for another use. People would go to sleep while waiting to see their gift unwrapped.

I hope people don’t think I’m just being cheap when I give it. As I really do think it looks good and it’s something to do with all those wrappers….I could cut back a bit I guess on the buying and consumption…but nah, that’s not going to happen any time soon.

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the chocolate gene

Chocolate.

Chocolate seems to play a very big part in this family. I wasn’t so fussed on it until I met my husband, otherwise known as Mr Chocolate. He doesn’t need chocolate, chocolate needs him. If he stopped consuming, the whole chocolate industry may just tumble down. So it’s safe to say after we first got together, he has slowly infiltrated my chocolate past, to a home now that is not complete unless there is a little dark something hidden away somewhere.

The monkeys came along and they too have inherited the dreaded chocolate gene. Other sweets thrown aside and scorned, their eyes only on the good stuff…. chocolate.

Monkey Boy is rather partial to a piece of dark chocolate, and will happily savour it, holding it in his hand and slowly nibbling at the outsides. The Little Monkey will suck up anything in his path to get to it. With a spark in is eye, and very fast feet… “Choklo! Choklo!…. CHOKLO!”

A friend recently challenged Mr Chocolate on a Chocolate Extravaganza (who could eat the most), I was quietly skeptical, but remained cheerfully optimistic. My pint sized girl friend had not seen my man in action you see. She thought her modestly gutsy efforts in consuming a packet of Tim Tams would match the “why stop when there is still more” attitude of my husband. The Chocolate Extravaganza was cancelled. Scared off, with the rather sombre face of mine, and whispered words of “You don’t have a chance…. you will NEVER win against him…”

When I first met Mr Chocolate, any chocolate would do. Sure he had his favourites, but when it came down to the line, he wasn’t that fussy. Years have gone by, and more than a few kilos of chocolate later, that line is in a completely different position. We try to be as mindful as possible, on what brands and types we buy. A sucker for dark chocolate, we really like Whittakers Dark Ghana. It’s a New Zealand company, that uses Fair Trade Chocolate, readily available and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. The Dark Ghana comes from Ghana (duh) and is bought through the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative. This Fairtrade certified cooperative of cocoa farmers has 45,000 members. Selling this way keeps the prices higher and more stable for the seller. Also investing in better farming methods that are more sustainable for their themselves and their industry.

Its great that there are more and more chocolate companies looking at changing their sourcing methods and encouraging fairtrade practices. This must mean that through greater awareness people are changing things with their spending dollars.  An example is Cadbury . Cadbury Schweppes is one of the largest producers of chocolate in the world  and has recently started producing a fair trade option for their Dairy Milk range in Australia. Be it a little controversially.

I know there are loop holes in these methods and problems will remain with things like child labour, but the more people talk about it and the more the consumer makes a choice with their shopping dollar the more, (I am ever hopeful) changes will come of it. There are more and more fairtrade chocolate options being made available, just have a peek.