Humankind’s love affair with chocolate – or cacao – dates back more than three millennia to the civilization of the Olmecs, ancestors of the Mayans.
In Mayan culture, cacao was believed to be a special gift from the gods to be shared with everyone. They drank it and used it in celebrations and ceremonies.
As the Aztec civilization rose in the 14th Century, so did the status of cacao, which they called xocolatl and used as currency. Some say the Aztecs considered cacao to be more valuable than gold, and it became somewhat exclusive to the wealthy.
During these early centuries, chocolate was consumed as a drink, often mixed with ground maize, chili peppers, vanilla or honey. This continued until a huge breakthrough in chocolate preparation came in the early 1800s – the invention of the chocolate press.
This machine could squeeze the cocoa butter out of roasted cacao beans, leaving behind the cocoa powder, which could be mixed with liquid and pressed in molds… and, for the first time, eaten.
It has been a favorite food and drink ever since.
Unfortunately, often lost in its intriguing history and tantalizing taste is the damage being caused by modern out-of-control global chocolate production.
Destructive industrial farming practices and their consequences – the heavy use of pesticides, deforestation, soil degradation, erosion and the exploitation of farmers – continue to deplete soils and challenge the sustainability of chocolate production.
On top of that, low wages for farmers and other labor exploitations have added to a spiraling social crisis within the chocolate-producing industry.
In these current conditions, it’s more important than ever to make sure your chocolate is grown and produced with care for the earth and for farmers. We’re proud to bring you delicious dark chocolate bars that lead the way on both of those measures.
Cocoa’s Delicious Health Benefits – More Than Just a Sweet Indulgence
If you’re like most people, you’ve seen some products labeled as cacao and others labeled as cocoa and wondered… so what’s the difference?
Cacao is the raw bean that comes from the pod of the cacao plant, while cocoa is produced when fermented cacao beans are roasted, enhancing the flavor. It’s these delicious cocoa beans that are used to make our dark chocolate bars.
It all starts with the evergreen cacao plant, which grows near the equator.
Native to Mexico and Central America, its cultivation expanded to Africa in the 1800s and today, around 70% of the world’s chocolate is produced in Africa, especially Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and Ghana.
The beans grow on the trunks and larger branches of the trees, inside pods that are around a foot long and range in color from green to yellow, orange, red and purple.
Cocoa is loaded with a variety of minerals and antioxidants. A 1 oz. serving of cocoa typically contains:
It’s also high in fiber and antioxidant polyphenols, special plant compounds with a variety of health benefits. When you eat a high-quality chocolate bar, you get the enjoyment of combining the nutritious with the delicious.
Unfortunately, most of the chocolate on the market in the U.S. dilutes the cocoa until there’s little to no benefit…
Tricks of the Trade for Choosing Guilt-Free Chocolate That Tastes Delicious
First, let’s talk about why Swiss chocolate is such a big deal.
It has a lot to do with how chocolate processing developed over the centuries. The first mechanized chocolate factory was built in Switzerland in 1819. Several others sprung up in the country soon after.
As chocolate-making took off, the manufacturers began to innovate. One producer developed the first milk chocolate. Another added nuts and honey and pressed it into a unique mold.
One of the greatest innovations was conching, a process of mixing and aerating cocoa under warm temperatures. The result is an especially smooth, even texture.
With all this chocolate-making going on within the small area of Switzerland, the Swiss became especially skilled, and their reputation for awesome chocolate was established.
Now, let’s talk about how to select quality chocolate from among today’s choices.
If you want to enjoy the benefits of cocoa along with the delicious taste, don’t pick up just any chocolate bar. Far too many of them are loaded with excessive sugar, soy lecithin and artificial flavor.
In the U.S., the most widely consumed type of chocolate is milk chocolate, which typically contains substantial amounts of sugar and filler ingredients, and only small amounts of potentially beneficial cocoa.
Furthermore, the standard manufacturing process for milk chocolate tends to destroy about 25-50% of the available antioxidants in what little cocoa is in there to begin with.
So, if you’re looking for a chocolate bar with nutrition benefits, milk chocolate is not going to be your answer.
Instead, look for a dark chocolate bar that contains at least 60% cocoa.
Because dark chocolate contains higher levels of cocoa, it’s richer in polyphenols, such as flavonols and epicatechins. It also typically contains higher levels of potassium and iron.
But even when you’re choosing among dark chocolates, there are a few important things to look for if you want the very highest quality…
The Fascinating Journey from Colorful Cacao Pod to Beautiful Chocolate Bar
From raw cacao bean to finished dark chocolate bar, this delicious treat goes through many steps before it’s ready to melt in your mouth.
It starts with picking the pods and splitting them open get to the beans. Then the beans are fermented, roasted, mixed and ground, making them ready for the last steps of conching, pre-crystallization, molding and packaging.
Usually, the beans also make a trip from the country where they are grown, picked, fermented and dried to another country, where they go through the final processing.
Unfortunately, the earth is often stressed, and farmers aren’t always treated fairly in this process. We aren’t interested in being part of that broken system.
We make it our top priority to choose manufacturing partners who support the earth and the farmers who grow our food. Our Solspring® Biodynamic® Organic Dark Chocolate Bars set the standard for the finest Swiss dark chocolate bars. Our bars:
Are Demeter Certified Biodynamic and Certified USDA Organic.
Contain 60 to 70% biodynamic cocoa with biodynamic cane sugar for sweetness and biodynamic cocoa butter for added smoothness.
Contain 4 to 5 grams of dietary fiber and 3 to 5 grams of protein per serving, as well as potassium and iron.
Are exclusively produced by a family-owned Swiss chocolate maker with more than 90 years of innovative experience, one of the first to commit to Fair Trade practices and organic growing standards.
Because the raw cacao beans used to make Solspring® Biodynamic® Dark Chocolate Bars are grown and processed using biodynamic practices, no potentially harmful synthetic fertilizers, additives or chemical solvents are ever used.
But our growers pay attention to more than just what isn’t put on their trees. They’re part of a dynamic regenerative movement that is working to bring life back to our soils…
Treating the Cacao Orchard as a Living Organism
In recent years, there’s been increasing discussion about the way plants are grown. The shift from small family farms to huge industrial farms has raised concerns about decreased nutrient values in food and depleted soils.
Researchers are finding that chemical-intensive farming practices cause erosion, acidification, salinization and loss of genetic diversity in the soil, as well as the release of greenhouse gases.
The damage is making it harder for soils to support the production of quality foods.
Nearly a century ago, a group of German farmers started to notice the damage chemical farming was doing to crops and the earth. Concerned, they got together and developed a set of standards designed to protect healthy, life-sustaining agriculture.
Calling their earth-conscious approach to farming biodynamic, they named their organization after the Greek Goddess of the Harvest, Demeter.
Biodynamic agriculture has a lot in common with organic agriculture. Like organic, it doesn’t use any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.
But it goes even deeper, with biodynamic farmers pursuing the goal of regenerating and maximizing soil fertility, and ultimately making a farm completely self-sustaining.
Biodynamic farmers emphasize following the cycles of nature and returning life back to the soil. They do this by planting a diversity of crops and working to ensure all inputs (fertilizers, natural pest controls) come from within the farm.
Biodynamic farming is “regenerative organic” farming. It aims to regenerate the natural soil fertility and biodiversity that has been destroyed by modern agricultural methods, reinvigorating life on the planet from the ground up.
How Biodynamic Reaches Beyond Organic
While noting that many organic farmers recognize the importance of caring for their soil and may already practice some of the biodynamic methods, let’s take a closer look at how Demeter Certified Biodynamic standards compare to the National Organic Program’s (NOP) Certified Organic standards…
|No limits on importing organic fertilizers from outside the farm
||Focused on the goal of producing nutrient-rich fertilizer within the farm, only a limited amount of fertilizer can be imported, and it must be Demeter® certified.
|Allows imported organic pesticides
||Manages pests by creating a biologically diverse habitat that encourages balanced predator-prey relationships
|Does not require the use of livestock
||Requires the integration of livestock to improve soils and help generate fertilizer within the farm
|Does not require crop rotation
||Requires crop rotation and intensive use of cover crops (called “green manure”) to pull carbon from the air and add nutrients to the soil
|Organic feed for livestock can come from anywhere in the world
||At least 50% of livestock feed must be grown on the farm, with the rest required to be organic or biodynamic
|Standard requiring farmers to “conserve biodiversity” can be poorly enforced, leading to the reality of monoculture in practice
||Requires that a minimum of 10% of total farm acreage be set aside for biodiversity
|Focused on how crops are treated, this standard allows for only one section of a farm to be certified, raising the potential for cross-contamination
||Focused on treating the whole farm as a living organism, this standard requires that the whole farm be certified
|Product certification focuses mainly on ingredients used
||Product certification focuses on all agricultural ingredients used, with 12 biodynamic processing standards applied in addition to growing standards
Demeter Certified Biodynamic is as good as it gets in agriculture – it’s the platinum standard for high-quality food.
A Chocolate Maker Committed to Solving Industry Problems
A perfect chocolate bar involves more than rich, multi-layered lavor and smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
A perfect chocolate bar does good for the earth and the people who make it. It is part of a movement that is thoughtfully addressing the destructive industrial farming practices and social issues facing the chocolate-producing industry.
Our Swiss chocolate partner takes these challenges head-on, with serious and long-standing commitments to:
Sustainability – From its founding, sustainability has been a key company value. For example, they maintain long-standing partnerships with a large number of farmers’ cooperatives in cocoa-producing countries around the world, allowing them to purchase directly in the country of origin, maximizing farmers’ profits.
Ingredient traceability – Following high-quality industrial certification standards, the company can trace all ingredients used in their chocolate production.
Social responsibility – Our manufacturing partner is committed to equal employment opportunities as well as continuous support and education of their cooperative partners. They actively help with training cacao farmers in biodynamic and organic regenerative practices, which further ensures sustainability and transparency within the supply chain.
Eco-friendly production – With processes in place to actively reduce their consumption of resources, such as energy and water, they persistently strive to improve their environmental performance.
Solar energy generation – Solar panels installed on the company’s warehouse allows them to draw on solar energy to help reduce CO2 emissions.
Climate protection – As confirmed by the independent Swiss Myclimate organization, this chocolate producer has reached the standard for “carbon neutral chocolate.”
Thanks to our partner’s passionate commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, Solspring® Biodynamic® Organic Dark Chocolate Bars are a luxurious taste experience and positive social statement combined in one gorgeous bar.
Four Delicious Ways to Enjoy Biodynamic Chocolate
We’re excited to bring you fully biodynamic dark chocolate by Solspring® in four different delicious flavors.
Biodynamic® Dark Chocolate Bar – A classic dark chocolate bar, smooth with that lovely, pungently bitter note that accentuates the sweetness.
Biodynamic® Dark Chocolate Bar with Himalayan Salt – Our classic dark chocolate bar sprinkled with Himalayan salt mined from ancient seabeds in the region of the Himalayas.
Each variety offers a delightfully different chocolate experience with the same social responsibility, regenerative impact and delicious dark chocolate flavor.
Solspring® Dark Chocolate – A Luxurious Experience That’s Good for You, for Farmers and for the Earth
Mayan chocolate farmers never imagined the variety of delicacies that would one day be produced with their beloved cacao…or that one day it would become globally popular, leading to human and environmental degradation.
But the world is waking up, and we are proud to lead the way in restoring care for the cacao, the people and the planet to chocolate production.
We’re also excited to bring you chocolate with the benefits of biodynamic cultivation. Our cultivation, production and business processes support cacao farmers in their commitment to being good custodians of the earth and humanity.
Solspring® Biodynamic® Dark Chocolate Bar and Dark Chocolate Bar with Himalayan Salt bring you the highest quality Swiss dark chocolate, made with 60 to 70% cocoa for an ideal combination of quality goodness and delicious flavor.
We’re reclaiming the benefits of chocolate and bringing them to you.
Experience the delightful difference of biodynamic chocolate with Solspring® – the food brand that gives you access to biodynamic foods from truly regenerative farms.
Enjoy the famously luxurious experience of Swiss dark chocolate while doing good for the earth, for farmers and for your body. Order Solspring® Biodynamic® Dark Chocolate Bars today.