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Sailing the chocolate seas

Ever think about giving up chocolate for the good of the planet? Nah, me neither – some sacrifices are too great! Despite having such a captive market, though, chocolate makers from the corporate giants to small-scale artisan operations have looked for ways to reduce their environmental and social impact. Organic cocoa beans and Fair Trade farming operations have become standard on this front, but two chocolatiers, one American, one British, have gone to an extreme to cut their footprints: they’re having either supplies or product delivered by sailing ships.

In the UK, Rococo and Granada Chocolate Company have partnered up to produce the “fairly traded, organic, non-profit, sustainable and carbon-neutral” Gru Grococo bar, which was shipped to Great Britain from Grenada on the sail freighter Tres Hombres. As you might imagine, these chocolate bars are slightly more expensive than that Hersey with Almonds you pick up in the check-out line at the grocery store: £11.95 (or about $18 US). But, if it makes you feel better, all profits go to “the radical organic cocoa co-operative in Grenada” that makes the bars. Watch the ship take off from the Caribbean above.

Stateside, Mast Brothers in Brooklyn have taken a similar approach to shipping the cocoa beans they use for their own artisan chocolates. Last year, the Black Seal, a three-masted schooner, made the four-week trip from Massachusetts to the Dominican Republic to New York to carry a year’s worth of organic cocoa beans to the chocolatiers. While Gru Grococo looks to be a one-shot deal (sorry, I meant “limited edition”), it looks like the Mast Brothers will make sailing ship deliveries a regular part of their very green operation. The Wall Street Journal covered the maiden voyage.

My editor tells me it takes three examples of something to call it a trend, so if you know of another chocolate-maker using sail transport, do share.

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Image credit: Screen capture from “First carbon-neutral transport of chocolate” video