The ethical chocolate taste test: can you taste the chocolatey freedom?

Last month we talked about ethical chocolate and why the chocolate you choose to consume can make a huge difference to child labour in West Africa, and we even listed the major ethical chocolate brands available in Australia. But I know what you’re all thinking: ethical’s awesome, but only if it still gives you that chocolatey hit of happiness you need, right?


So I took on the hard task of finding out which ethical chocolate will satisfy, and which will leave you feeling an empty shell of worthiness. Only problem was, I don’t really eat sugar. Enter Champagne Husby, who has saved the day by offering to eat bucketloads of chocolate over the past month just for you. Take it away, Husby…


The silky organic freedom-filled chocolate taste seeped into my mouth from the Madecasse bar.

The chocolate was strong in cocoa tang but low in sugar making the experience one of rich flavour (with a chilli after hit) rather than sugar rush.

On the packaging it was proudly claimed, “Bean to Bar in Africa” because “we wanted to change the world”. So the more you eat the more you save, the world.

Then there was the Mars Bar. It was its normal wonderful sugar-filled melting in the mouth self.

It didn’t boldly promise to change the world but in small print on the side it claimed that the cocoa could be traced to the factory and that this helped protect the environment and support farmers.

For this assignment I had to sample a range of chocolate products. They basically fell into the two categories:

  1. the ‘alternative chocolate’ which ran with the ethical thing and focused on quality ingredients and distinctive refined flavours,  and
  2. the sugar and flavour packed mainstream mega-bars.

I mostly go for the alt-choc thing. The taste is often better, with distinctive real flavours,  and the sugar high-sugar low roller coaster isn’t there.  Some brands stray too far down  the wholemeal and worthy aspect which really doesn’t go with the decadence purpose of chocolate (Madecasse did fall a bit into this category).

I’ve usually gone Lindt as it is a decent chocolate that is available in the supermarket. But now that I’ve tried a number of other good options that do bother to show that they have sourced ingredients that didn’t screw the workers or the environment, I might change.

I liked the Moser Roth brand (available from Aldi). The chocolate flavour isn’t overpowering and the extra flavours are subtle (I tried Mint as well as Chocolate  Orange).  They make both the packaging and block size distinctive to add to the whole alt-choc experience.

The Just Organic – Fairtrade Organic Milk Chocolate (also from Aldi), managed a good milky texture without being too heavy. I like the Divine brand too – they managed to combine both worthiness with luxury (or as they say “Owned by cocoa farmers. Made for chocolate lovers.”). Their chilli and orange was excellent with both flavours there but not overpowering – often chilli in chocolate can dominate the experience.

But that’s just my opinion.

Whether you go the eco/organic/fair-trade/heirloom-ingredient/grower-owned vibe or the multi-national/mass-produced/sugar-packed/flavour-enhanced option is up to your own tastes and mood. It is a good thing that whichever way you go you won’t be supporting child labour or environmental destruction. Although it would take a lot of chocolate eating to single handedly save the world.

Worth a try though, don’t you think?

What’s your favourite chocolate? And would you change brands if it meant not supporting child labour?


If you want to learn more check out World Vision’s Buy ethical, end exploitation campaign – they talk about the ethical options and why they’re so important when buying chocolate, cotton, diamonds, coffee, palm oil, fish and technology.


Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.


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