Paying more for Fairtrade cocoa is key to ending child labour

30th September 2010 The Times

To eat chocolate is to enter a moral maze. It has been associated with indulgence and sex and more recently, justice

To eat chocolate is to enter a moral maze. It has always been associated with indulgence and sex — if you believe the advertising — and the newest selling point is justice: “fairly traded” chocolate that promises a decent livelihood for the cocoa farmers. In the past year this has become mainstream: Cadbury (with Dairy Milk) and Nestlé (with KitKat) have gone into Fairtrade, and some Mars products carry the less-exacting Rainforest Alliance label. You can have chocolate both sinful and worthy simultaneously: “Indulge your sweet tooth with this decadent collection of Fairtrade Belgian chocolates . . .” runs an ad on the Oxfam shop website.

Can you taste that goodness? At a party I handed round two plates of chocolate squares. They looked identical but I said one had Fairtrade chocolate on it, the other was conventional: I wanted to know which tasted better. My subjects voted in favour of the Fairtrade chocolate, and with a political bias: the more liberal-minded, the more they preferred the Fairtrade. I’d conned them, of course: the two chocolates were the same, which made everyone cross.

Read the rest via Times Online

My experience of London? Pride came before offal

Alex Renton eats oysters, damsons and other London foods in a piece for The Times,

On a trip to the capital, our writer feasts on oysters and damsons, and discovers a gem of a restaurant in the East End

15th September, 2011

The Times

I lived in London for half my life but I approach the city now with flutters in the stomach. A committed vegetarian I know who leaves the West Country twice a year for the Smoke says that, faced with the urban challenge, he lapses. He goes straight from Paddington Station to Burger King for a meat protein blast. Arriving last week from Scotland, I went — in the same spirit — directly to a Bayswater pub for a pint of much-missed southern bitter. Relieving me without a smile of almost £4, the barman asked me to take off my cap “for security reasons”. It isn’t Leith.

But there are joys. Fuller’s London Pride. A chilli-sauce-laden doner kebab stuffed into pitta bread in Shepherds Bush. Neal’s Yard’s organic Greek yoghurt. A stroll through Borough Market. And, of course, there are restaurants.

Read the rest here via Times Online