Easter might mean different things to some of us these days - but something all of us enjoy is the chance to overindulge in chocolate.
Whether you're buying an egg or three for the kids, or to share with your partner, family or friends, you'll be on the hunt for this delicious stuff over the next week (unless you're already sorted...not me!)
WHAT TO LOOK FOR?
When buying chocolate I'm guided by the following 3 factors:
1 BUY FAIRTRADE because it directly improves the lives of the cocoa farmers. Prices are stable, and long-term partnerships based on honesty, transparency and equality bring real benefits to growers and their families in many ways (like buildings, resources, training, health facilities, environmental initiatives.)
2 BUY PALM OIL FREE because the clearing of rainforests in Sth East Asia for palm oil production poses a huge threat to the Sumatran tiger, orangutan, Asian rhino, Asian elephant, among other animals.. While there are sustainably grown plantations, as consumers can we trust what we're being told?
In NZ there is no requirement for palm oil to be listed on the packaging and it can be listed/disguised as many other names (like vegetable oil). Head straight to Hamilton Zoo website for a handy guide of what to look out for. You'll also find a list of brands and their products that are palm oil free, including a wide range of Easter eggs.
Most caramel and cream fillings are made using palm oil as an ingredient.
NOTE: all Whittakers chocolates are palm oil free.
3 BUY LOCAL because it's great to support NZ businesses! See below for some ideas.
LOCAL CHOCOLATE MANUFACTURERS:
Obviously these are made from Fairtrade and organic chocolate, and there are a large range of different flavour combos, all made in their factory in Christchurch.
While there are no Easter eggs, the packaging of each bar features different artwork so they look special anyway. And did you know that all wrappers are home compostable? The only chocolate bar available in NZ with this type of wrapping - why don't all brands do this???
Current online deal: all 100g bars 20% off, and in-store get 3 for $12 (100g bars)
See one block pictured below, and the full range here
FORTY THIEVES PEANUT BUTTER + HONEST CHOCOLAT COLLAB
Handcrafted by Honest Chocolat using organic, Fairtrade chocolate and Forty Thieves non-GMO peanut butter. (I've placed my order!) For those that love the peanut butter and chocolate combo, you can't go wrong...
THE KIWI FROM WHITTAKERS
In creamy milk or dark, they taste amazing, and 20c from each sale goes to Kiwis for Kiwi, a charity supporting the survival of our very special bird. Over the last 3 years Whittaker's donations have helped save over 195 kiwi chicks through Operation Nest Egg. Gotta love that!
All Whittakers products are made in Porirua.
WELLINGTON CHOCOLATE FACTORY
The cardboard packaging is too cute! (see above) Each has been created by a different artist. All chocolate is Fairtrade, and organic ingredients are used where possible.
I tried to get a tour of their factory when in Wellington last year but all tours were fully booked. Clearly these are popular and bookings need to be more than a few days before...!
GOODFOR + SHE UNIVERSE COLLAB
For plastic and foil free packaging, take a look at the cute eggs made by She Universe in Christchurch, available at the three GoodFor stores (Parnell, Takapuna, Ponsonby). Do check before heading there or buying online because word on the street is that they've been flying out the door...
Organic dark chocolate and salted caramel, and a sugar-free dark chocolate and tahini combo! They have other delicious chocolate options like freeze-dried strawberries coated in milk or dark chocolate, and a variety of chocolate-dipped nuts. These would be cute in a jar decorated for Easter if you get your creative on! Image below.
What about the foil wrap that you'll probably end up with? If clean, this can be recycled, but many councils need it screwed up into a fist-sized bunch. It's hard to research which councils do and don't, so my advice is to collect your foil over Easter (no matter where in the country you are), and combine all together when finished, ready for the recycling bin.
Whatever you might be doing this Easter, take the opportunity to relax, be safe on the roads, try making your own Easter treats (see my average effort below!), and eat plenty of chocolatey goodness!