This year is Divine’s 20th birthday! And to celebrate, they have brought out the stunning limited edition Juniper and Lemon Dark Chocolate bar that is in our member’s Craft Gin Club March Gin of the Month box. We think it’s the perfect time to take a look at the incredible things they have been doing to champion the cocoa farmers they work with over the years, from giving them part ownership of the company to providing schemes that aim to empower the men and women they rely on. Divine is the ultimate feel good accompaniment to a big coupe of One Gin Sage and Apple Gin and tonic!
Cheers to 20 years!
Chocolate is beloved all over the world, but few chocoholics have any idea where their favourite indulgence comes from – or how the cocoa farmers upon which it depends live and work. Divine Chocolate, which celebrates its 20th birthday with the stunning Lemon & Juniper Dark Chocolate bar in your box, has spent two decades showing chocolate lovers that feeling good and tasting good can go together.
As you unwrap the gorgeous Lemon & Juniper Dark Chocolate bar in your March Gin of the Month box, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’re about to dive into a pool of pure indulgence. But, just like the One Apple and Sage G&T that pairs so well with this incredible sweet treat, you’ll be empowering men and women a world away.
As Sophie Loveday-Davies of Divine chocolate explains on the eve of the company’s 20th birthday, “For the past two decades, the mission of our company has been to empower cocoa farmers by going above and beyond Fairtrade policies.”
Not content to merely pay their farmers fair wages – although, of course, they do that, too – Divine Chocolate is part owned by the people who harvest cocoa beans for their bars. In the late 1990s, the men and women of Kuapa Kokoo – a transparent, democratic co-operative of cocoa farmers – voted to form Divine Chocolate. Kuapa Kokoo currently owns 44% of Divine, making it a major decision makers and Divine the only farmer-owned chocolate company in the world.
Particularly notable in the month of International Women’s Day, Divine has partly funded a raft of gender equality indicatives, along with microfinance and adult literacy schemes. As Sophie says: “While women are essential in the labour involved in the fermentation and drying of cocoa beans, they often faced unjust treatment. We realised we needed to empower men and women, but particularly women.”
As Kuapa Kokoo cocoa farmer and mother of five Mercy Zaah explains: “We women are trained. We learn skills to help us generate more income for the family, and also have a voice in decision making in the co-operative.”
All of Divine’s efforts culminated in the election of a female former cocoa farmer to leadership of Kuapa Kokoo – now that’s something to celebrate! So, too is the spectacular chocolate bar they’ve released for their big birthday celebrations.
Sophie says, “We combine aromatic juniper – which I know all gin enthusiasts love – with the refreshing taste of citrus.”
Made with all natural flavours – that means no artificial sweeteners, and they’ve skipped the palm oil, too – this bar is an elegant, adult chocolate that even vegans can happily enjoy. And it happens to be a perfect way to kick to off their 20th year, too.
“It’s a really exciting time for us! We are very proud to show that a relatively small company in the chocolate market can have such longevity,” says Sophie. She continues: “We’re proud of what we’ve achieved, but our vision still drives us. We’ll continue to expand our reach, while delighting chocolate-lovers at the same time.”
You can find Divine Chocolate at Waitrose, Oxfam and online and in our March Gin of the Month box.