Monday, June 29, 2020

Theo Chocolate - Peanut Butter and Jelly 55% dark chocolate cups - June 29, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Theo Chocolate
Peanut Butter and Jelly (raspberry) 55% dark chocolate cups
Good ++
Weight: 1.3 oz. (36 g.) in total package
Calories: 200 calories in 1 package of 2 cups
Cost: $2.39 for 1 package
Purchased from: Sprouts Farmers Markets, Mountain View, CA

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Red Fruits Theme Week.

Today's Organic Peanut Butter and Jelly (raspberry) 55% dark chocolate cups were from Theo Chocolate (Seattle, WA).

Theo Chocolate was one of the first chocolate makers to offer certified fair trade, organic chocolate bars and other chocolate offerings in North America. 

Today's heart-shaped, gluten and soy free, dark chocolate "cups" had a rich dark chocolate and home-ground roasted peanut butter aroma.

Inside, well-balanced strata of creamy peanut butter above, and bright red fruit raspberry jelly (with a seed or two, if I'm not mistaken, for authenticity) below. This was a perfect layering of high-quality flavors. All this without being ultra sweet (thank you!).

By looking at the Theo website, I was able to easily see that the Fair Trade for Life cocoa used to make this chocolate came from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and that the peanut butter came from the U.S.

Theo Origin Story -- meshes with growing desires for more product transparency
Founded in 2005, Theo Chocolate produced their first organic chocolate in early 2006--six months before I started Chocolate Banquet. There weren't that many high-quality, organic options back then in California or elsewhere then. And fair trade was a new concept that consumers were trying to understand. 

Improved vendor transparency though--about ingredients, source and supply chains--was quickly becoming a product differentiator. After all, to "sell" people on paying a premium for bean-to-bar, craft chocolate, you need to talk about and celebrate your great ingredients.

I remember being happy to find Theo chocolates at a few leading edge small chocolate shops.* Theo has also continued to offer new and tasty flavor combinations. Happily there are more organic and fair trade options today, and Theo is still among them!

*Sunita de Tourreil, founder of The Chocolate Garage (now closed) (Palo Alto, CA) and Elana Turchon, owner, SweetE Organics (Mill Valley, CA) were a few of the innovative retailers in the San Francisco Bay Area who helped introduce people to Theo and other organic and other craft chocolate options. (It's difficult to name them all, but Chocolate Covered, Fog City News, Bi-Rite Market, Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco and a few shops in the East Bay and South Bay that are no longer open, also were and/or continue to be instrumental.) High-end grocery stores like Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Markets, etc. joined in as well.

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