My American Sisters and Brothers may remember gasoline prices last year which were approaching almost double the price currently in the summer of 2009. Those prices did not reflect a serious decrease in supply or a sudden jump in demand so much as a fear that there would not be enough gasoline for the world. It's called "speculation" and I hope most of you have seen its effects on worldwide markets.
This article about cocoa caught my eye yesterday and made me think back to the summer of 2008. Prices on raw sugar, cocoa and coffee rose because fear that El Nino may demand crops. There has been no damage, this is merely speculation that such may occur and thus the prices rise. To learn more about El Nino visit the link I provided above. (Graphic from http://www.gho-englisch.de/Archive/2006/Jul_06/el_nino.jpg, accessed 07/16/09)
Your Chocolate Priestess has written before on why prices of chocolate rise -- disease and insect damage to crops on a wide scale, increased demand for chocolate, increased demand for higher quality or specific types of chocolate, more ecologically sound practices, and different labor practices. Those are reflections of what is happening at any moment in the chain of chocolate manufacturing and consumption. But this price increase because of El Nino is pure speculation.
You may think such speculation is merely the price to pay for free markets. You may think it is unfair and needs to be regulated. I'm not here to tell you what to believe, but I am here to get you a heads up and help you think about all the factors that go into the price you pay for that chocolate bar or chocolate ice cream or chocolate drink you plan on having today.
Remember as consumers you have the right to be heard and to decide where and how to spend your money. As a follower of The Chocolate Cult you have a duty to let chocolatiers know why you are making the decisions you are and encourage everyone to follow the Path through moderation and purposefulness.
Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.
If you are reading in the eastern half of the Midwest, don't forget The Chocolate Cult's first CONTEST. Don't put it off until the last minute, apply now and earn a chance to get free chocolate, one-on-one time with the Chocolate Priestess, and your opinions on The Chocolate Cult.