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What is Sustainability?

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Love

Jess & The SGO

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Simply Divine Chocolate Tasting

So I know this is a little late as this happened in February but we really wanted to share this experience with you all:

chocolate tasting

Despite the bitterly cold February chill, guests near and afar braced the biting winds of the quaint seaside town and gathered in the warm, bright premises of Whitstable’s Victoria’s Boutique to experience what can only be referred to a luxurious necessity: Divine Fairtrade Chocolate Tasting evening. A must-go to event for everybody interested in Fairtrade or with an obsessive love for all that is chocolate.

Divine Chocolate, a chocolate manufacturing company formed in 1998, decided to donate its shares to Kuapo Kokoo, a Fairtrade-certified cocoa farmer’s organisation in Ghana. Since then, it’s thrived as a company, fully invested in assisting global farmers, and to use the power of chocolate to delight and engage. They aim to bring people together to establish global trading relationships, empowering producers and consumers along the way. It sells a lavish range of chocolate including Milk Chocolate with Toffee and Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate with Chilli and Orange, Dark Chocolate with Raspberries, White Chocolate with Strawberries and Milk Chocolate with Almonds.

Victoria’s Boutique, a cosy little boutique on Whitstable High Street, showcasing a variety of vintage designer outfits, was jam-packed when we arrived. When we entered the store, we immediately noticed the ‘chocolate tasting table’, a table laid out with chocolate and wine galore. Shepherded over to receive our complimentary glass of wine and sample of chocolate, Divine Chocolatier Erik Houlihan-Jong was busy preparing for his talk on the ethics of Divine chocolate.

chocolate tasting 1

After we’d finished our wine and chocolate, and listened to Erik’s fascinating talk on the Bar to Bean chocolate making process, we finally arrived at the time in the evening we were most looking forward to: the chocolate tasting. Eric broke up a bar of Dark Chocolate, Chilli and Orange, for us to try. He instructed us to hold the piece of chocolate, but not eat it yet. Instead, we should observe the chocolate with all of our senses. First, we need to consider the appearance of the chocolate, as it varies in colour. Touching the chocolate, it should feel silky, and begin to melt with the warmth of our finger. Then holding the chocolate up to our ear, we should snap it. The snap should be clean. Finally, take time to smell it. Similar to wine tasting, there are many aromas associated with chocolate. When we finally came to eat it, we first put the chocolate on our tongue and left it there without eating. Finally, we let the chocolate melt on our tongue.

chocolate tasting 2

Eating what seemed like our 200th sample of chocolate (sssh, I didn’t say anything), Erik explained to us how Divine chocolate helps farmers in third world countries. Cocoa trading company Kuapa Kokoo aims to ‘empower farmers in their efforts to gain a dignified livelihood, to increase women’s participation in all of Kuapa’s activities, and to develop environmentally friendly cultivation of cocoa’. The company weighs, bags and transports the cocoa to the market in the most democratic way, not cheating the farmers, and passing savings onto members. Divine chocolate is made from the best of Kuapa’s cocoa beans. This has led to the development and farming communities farming skills are improvements on standards of living including water, health, education and sanitation, and increased awareness of child labour.

Upon leaving the Boutique, my first thoughts were ‘when is the next Divine Chocolate tasting?’ I came away with a few (or lot of) bars of chocolate and a desire to taste every single flavour of Divine chocolate in my life. It created a warm feeling in my heart to know that by buying Divine chocolate over a non-fair trade brand, I would be helping the livelihood of farmers on Ghanaian cocoa plantations.

chocolate tasting 3

Interested in hosting your own Divine Chocolate Tasting Evening? Click on this link http://www.divinechocolate.com/uk/sites/default/files/img/TastingGuide.pdf to download the official Divine Guide to Chocolate Tasting, containing information about the Divine chocolate story, the Bean to Bar process, chocolate flavours and flavour wheel, organising your very own Divine Chocolate Party, and using wine.

Can’t afford to host this tasting evening, but still want to shop ethically? Visit this page for top tips on ethical shopping: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/food.aspx

Visit http://www.divinechocolate.com/uk/ to find out more about this truly Divine company.

Love

Megan & The SGO
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Will We Ever Understand The True Value of Nature?

Hi

Tomorrow Jonathon Porritt will be visiting Canterbury Christ Church University and holding a public lecture on the topic: Will we ever understand the true value of Nature?

It seems as if we’ve been talking for ever about different ways of valuing the natural world. Concepts like ‘natural capital’ and ‘valuing eco-system services’ have become commonplace for a small professional élite, but it’s still difficult to detect any profound change in the business-as-usual mindsets that still prevail amongst developers, economists and politicians. How can we ensure that such a critical body of knowledge and insight is embedded as the norm in all key economic development and planning decisions?

Who Is Jonathon Porritt?

  • He is the Founder Director of Forum for the Future
  • Eminent writer, such as: The World we Made: Alex McKay’s story from 2050 & Capitalism As if the World Matters
  • Broadcaster and commentator on Sustainable development
  • Co-Founder of The Prince of Wales’s Business and Sustainability Programme which runs seminars for senior executives around the world.
  • Non-Executive of Willmott Dixon Holdings, a Trustee of the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, and is involved in the work of many NGOs and charities as Patron, Chair or Special Advisor.
  • Formerly Director of Friends of the Earth (1984-90)
  • Co-Chair of the Green Party (1980-83) of which he is still a member
  • Chairman of UNED-UK (1993-96)
  • Chairman of Sustainability South West, the South West Round Table for Sustainable Development (1999-2001)
  • Jonathan received a CBE in January 2000 for services to environmental protection.
  • A Trustee of WWF UK (1991-2005)
  • Member of the Board of the South West Regional Development Agency (1999-2008)
  • Jonathon was installed as the Chancellor of Keele University in February 2012.

jp bookjpthe world we made

If you would like to attend the public lecture tomorrow (Thursday 26th March 2015). Book Here.

Love

Jess & The SGO

SGO Logo Website