Saturday, 3 October 2009
Last week I made the commitment to start using Fair Trade chocolate chips in my cooking. I found a company that produce them and a local health food shop that supplies their goods. I asked my son to ring them and find out if they sold the chips, but unfortunately they didn't. Since then I have been meaning to go in and ask in person. I was somewhat surprised when the phone rang and the lady from the shop told me that my chocolate chips were in. Apparently my son had left our name and number and the shop owner had ordered them in specially. My husband is going to pick them up for me later this morning. They are extremely expensive, almost twice the price of the ones we can buy in our local supermarket. Some of this price, I am sure, is because they are from quite an up-market manufacturer and are also organic, but these were the only ones I could see on a quick Google for Fair Trade chocolate chips. Some of this price, perhaps, is because this is what they ought to cost, a fair reflection of the price of chocolate. I am used to being able to have what I want, when I want, and, in terms of food, there is little that I cannot afford. In the days of slaves on sugar plantations, sugar would have been much more expensive if those who worked the land had been paid and had sick-leave and holidays. Free Range eggs are more expensive than battery-farmed. Off-setting the carbon emissions of flights makes cheap flights less affordable. I think of Charlie, he of the Chocolate Factory, and his anticipation and delight at his annual birthday gift of a bar of chocolate. At this price I will certainly not be taking my chocolate chips for granted and in more ways than one they will be more valuable.