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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

The Sweetest Chocolate Treats Come With A Fairtrade Mark

Endangered Species Chocolate Company sources its cacao beans from The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire on the south coast of West Africa (photo courtesy of Endangered Species Chocolate)

“The recipe is unique to what desired melt we want, what desired mouthfeel we’re looking for and the ratio of those ingredients is going to dictate that” –Whitney Bembenick, Director of Innovation at Endangered Species Chocolate Company

This week, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we visit a chocolate factory and learn how the fruit of the cacao tree is transformed into a silky bar of chocolate. And not just any chocolate, Fairtrade chocolate. We speak with Hans Theyer, the CEO of Fairtrade America about what it means to be Fairtrade Certified.

And to satisfy your cravings, Susan Mintert shares a chocolate cake recipe that almost anyone can bake. You could make it for your valentine!


Hans Theyer is the CEO of Fairtrade America, a wing of Fairtrade International. Fairtrade International is one of several certification bodies working to bring fair treatment for farmers and producers, minimum prices for commodities, environmental and conservation guidelines for growers among other restrictions and guidelines. Find out more here about the specifics of the organizations implementing fair trade practices in various industries.

Whitney Bembenick is the Director of Innovation at Endangered Species Chocolate Company in Indianapolis, Indiana. Endangered Species works with Fairtrade America to source the cacao, vanilla and sugar for their chocolate bars. In addition to sourcing Fairtrade ingredients, Endangered Species also gives 10% of their net profits to conservation organizations such as Rainforest Trust and The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. The company is moving towards a goal of giving one million dollars annually to chosen partner organizations.


The Earth Eats’ theme music is composed by Erin Tobey and performed by Erin and Matt Tobey.

Stories On This Episode

Susan’s Crazy Chocolate Cake

A desperation dessert is one you can throw together at the drop of a hat with ingredients you probably already have on hand. This cake fits the bill.

Kayte Young

Kayte Young discovered her passion for growing, cooking, foraging and preserving fresh food when she moved to Bloomington in 2007. With a background in construction, architecture, nutrition education and writing, she brings curiosity and a love of storytelling to a show about all things edible. Kayte raises bees, a small family and a yard full of food in Bloomington’s McDoel Gardens neighborhood.

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