When it comes to doing right by doing chocolate, forget looking for Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance labels. Instead, pick up a few bars of Madécasse, a high quality chocolate grown and produced completely by local farmers in Madagascar.
Madécasse founders Tim McCollum and Brett Beach fell in love with Madagascar and its people while serving as Peace Corps volunteers there. Rather than teach the Madagasy to raise goats or make baskets, for example, the duo turned them into cocao farmers and chocolate makers. Stateside, McCollum and Beach formed Madécasse, a Brooklyn, New York, based company that works directly with local Madagascar farmers to grow cacao and vanilla beans on family farms, then harvest and process the beans into bars of chocolate. The chocolates are sold in U.S. under the Madécasse brand.
I spent some time with McCollum during his all-to-brief recent visit to Dallas, promoting Madécasse chocolates and evangelizing his story to dozens of Central Market shoppers.
“Rather than sell to middle men at deflated prices, Madécasse allows the farmers to earn a living for all their work,” McCollum told me. The best part: Madécasse’s 70% and 80% chocolates–and their Sea Salt and Nibs bar–are so well-balanced in acidity and sweetness, so soft are their tanins, you’ll swear it’s the Malagasy who are doing you the favor. Madécasse chocolate bars are available at Central Market (Texas) and Whole Foods Markets nationwide.
Here’s Tim McCollum, talking about his Madécasse chocolates.