Tomorrow, September 4th, is World Chocolate Day, Sisters and Brothers. Your Chocolate Priestess has a Sacred Assignment for you all: Go find chocolate from another country the report back here tomorrow when I put out a call for Witnessing and tell your fellow cocoaphiles what you bought and if it was any good.
To inspire you, I want to show the 12 products I found in my local grocery store, Kroger. 12 products from 11 different countries. 12 products that are maybe a quarter of what that store had to offer in terms of chocolate items from around the world. Follow me and see that you may not have to travel far to expand your appreciation for the world's chocolate.
Some of the chocolate items I found were in boxes. These were primarily what I'd call "cookie" products in the various international foods sections of Kroger. Without being labeled, it seems that my local Kroger arranges them by general geographical location with Asian, European, and Middle Eastern foods in different aisles. Casali Schoko-Orangen is from Austria and the link to it is the best I could find in English. Pocky is from Japan made by Ezaki Glico Co., Ltd. Bauducco Wafer Chocolate is from Brazil and is one of several types of products they make an export. Cadbury Finger Dark is from the UK and is just one of over a hundred products from Cadbury a huge company whose decisions on fair trade, organic, and sustainable practices have a worldwide impact that I've looked at before in The Chocolate Cult if you recall, Sisters and Brothers. Adding to the multinational flavor of these selections is Streit's Wafer Rolls which says it is made in Israel but whose website is American.
Candy bars are very popular in the USA and thus I found a few bars from other places. I found these in the organic section of the store, the international foods aisle but also just in the candy aisle. Milka is from Germany but it is associated with Kraft Foods, an American company. Lindt is from France is may be the most recognized product in this selection for most Americans. Green & Black Organic is from Italy which surprised me because for years I assumed these were either American or British simply because of the name. Indeed when you dig further, Green & Black is a Cadbury company but this bars says it was made in Italy. All of these bars are really from international countries, with shipping and manufacturing around the world so check the label carefully.
I also found products that weren't either boxed or bars in the candy aisle and the international foods section of Kroger. DeMet's Turtles are made in Canada but you'll note on the website the listing is for Connecticut. The Malaga candy is from Poland, made by Wawel, and were one of several Polish candies I found on one shelf so I picked just one. McVitie's Digestives are from the UK again, a product from United Biscuits. Toblerone are from Switzerland and are probably the second product my American readers my readily recognize in this post.
Figuring out what country a product was from was actually tricky at times. Beyond the language barriers which really only applied to the Bauducco product for me, is the fact that chocolate is international in every meaning of that word. Cacao can only be grown in certain areas and these are not the regions known for great chocolate. When you look at the label you need to sort through where the chocolate came from, where it was manufactured or created, who is the distributor, and sometimes another country for customer service. For this Sacred task, Sisters and Brothers, look at the manufacturer and buy based on that.
Today go out and find a chocolate product from another country and buy it. Try it tomorrow and then reply to tomorrow's Challenge to reveal your experience with the rest of the Chocolate Cult.
Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.