Complete Chocolate Lover’s Guide for the San Francisco Bay Area

cacao tree

The end of chocolate?


If a cacao tree falls in the woods and nobody is there to replant it, does my favorite food disappear?

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The UK’s Independent is reporting that in 20 years, chocolate will be so rare that it will be unaffordable for most people.

According to the report, although chocolate consumption is increasing, cacao farmers in the main cocoa producing areas are not sharing in the profits made by the multinational corporations that control the market. So the farmers are not replanting cacao trees, and their children are disinclined to join the family business.

Dire predictions abound in the article about the increasing consumption of chocolate around the world colliding with the decreasing production. I had to eat some chocolate just to get through it.

There are some bright points mentioned, such as increased cocoa production in other parts of the world. In fact, this weekend I tasted a Scharffen Berger Ben Tre Vietnamese chocolate bar. It’s 72% cacao with a very fruity taste. The bar was a little hard for my liking, but I wouldn’t refuse one. Once you let it melt in your mouth a bit, it’s very smooth with no grit. I liked the distinctive fruity flavor of the bar.

A couple of friends I shared the bar with are from Vietnam and didn’t know that there are cacao farms in Vietnam producing cocoa for export. I think that as the market for high quality chocolate grows, there will be more places in the cacao growing belt around the world where people will be producing cocoa.

I think we’ll be OK. Maybe we’ll all be eating less chocolate, but I hope it will be the better quality kind — both in taste and in the treatment of its farmers. So I’m feeling pretty good in spite of this article, but that could just be the chocolate talking.

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Published November 9, 2010