There’s a new hashtag floating around the Twitter-culinary-sphere, #dessertworthy. Started by San Francisco’s own pastry chef-extraordinaire, Emily Luchetti, #dessertworthy is a rally cry to make mindful decisions about eating sugar; encouraging us to save sugar for dessert and keep it out of everything else. As someone who is health conscious but an unabashed dessert enthusiast, this resonates with me. Minimizing sugar throughout my day helps clear my conscious when I dive face first into an ice cream sundae.
Speaking of diving into food, this past weekend I was in the artisanal, yupster food mecca that is Seattle. One of my mandatory stops in Seattle is Theo Chocolate. As I made multiple laps around the store, taking full advantage of Theo’s generous tasting policy, I realized that Theo Chocolate is the epitome of #dessertworthy.
What makes Theo Chocolate so dessert worthy? Simply put, it’s amazing chocolate, which I’ll go into in a moment. But Theo goes one step further in making itself worthy. As a fair trade company, Theo Chocolate has made a commitment to stand up to the seedy underbelly of the chocolate industry - the one rampant with human rights violations and environmental atrocities. Knowing that the chocolate I am enjoying doesn't come with a side of child slavery and earth-pillaging certainly adds to my enjoyment.*
Not to rank product over philosophy, what made me first fall in love with Theo is that it has mastered the art of flavored chocolate. This is because actual ingredients, not weird artificial flavoring compounds, are used. Another point in the #dessertworthy column.
I didn’t know this the first time I enjoyed a Theo bar. It was the holidays, and I was presented with a Gingerbread Milk Chocolate bar. I was wary at first, assuming it would taste like a Yankee Candle. I was wrong. It was like Santa, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Starbucks Red Cup joined hands and sang “Joy to the World” in three part harmony. And the Dark Chocolate Coconut? It tastes like a tropical paradise, not a bottle of sunscreen.
Theo takes its flavors combinations beyond what I would have ever imagined. Bars like Chai Milk Chocolate, or Bread and Chocolate, or Fig, Fennel and Almond Dark Chocolate grace the Theo menu. Theo’s creativity when it comes to chocolate knows no bounds, but at the same time steers clear of the brash or trendy. You won’t find a bacon chocolate bar in Theo’s offering, and for that I am eternally grateful.
Another interesting factoid about Theo is that it is one of the few bean-to-bar chocolate companies in the United States. This means that Theo’s fair trade and ethically sourced cacao beans are roasted and milled onsite in Theo’s Seattle factory. This gives the folks at Theo total control over their final product. You can read more about the process here.
So the next time you are in the mood for chocolate, think of Theo (Bay Area folks can buy it at REI and Whole Foods). From product to philosophy it will not disappoint; it is truly and in every sense of the movement, #dessertworthy.
*This post is not intended to browbeat and shame you into eating only fair trade chocolate. Though if it does encourage you to seek out fair trade chocolate, that's a win in my book. For more information on fair trade chocolate companies, click here.