... why not chocolate? Why ever not?
And, as it turns out, I'd been looking for an excuse to give you an update on my ethical cocoa investigations. It turns out that the issue is even more complex than it might appear. (Of course.) Since my post re: ethical chocolate, I'd noticed that my go-to chocolatier, Guittard, offers a line of fair-trade certified chocolate chips. "What did that mean about their other chocolates?," I wondered. I shot an email off to the family-owned company and received a prompt reply from Gary Guittard. It turns out that the TransFair USA's certification "Fair Trade," which purportedly entails "fair labor conditions" has some loopholes, namely child labor like unto indentured servitude.
You make the call. Consumer dollars speak loudly. But so do interactions with suppliers and vendors. Be informed. Be vocal. Spend wisely.
I saw some Green&Black's 72% cocoa baking chocolate on sale and picked up a bar. This company offers exclusively organic chocolate from South America, some of which is FT certified. Since certified organic farms must also comply with fair labor practices (which means no slavery, but perhaps "not acceptable" work conditions), buying organic chocolate means also getting ethical chocolate.
And so after much ado... that is what I served for dessert: a dark chocolate gelato, destined for greatness beside cranberry-vanilla sorbet, with a sprinkling of candied orange peel.
Dark Chocolate Gelato
2 oz good-quality bittersweet chocolate
1 1/4 c half-and-half
1 c milk
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c cocoa powder (unsweetened)
4 large egg yolks
Coarsely chop chocolate. In a 2-quart heavy saucepan bring half-and-half and milk along with 1/4 c sugar just to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add cocoa powder and chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Have ready a large bowl of ice and cold water. In a bowl with an electric mixer beat yolks and remaining sugar until thick and pale. Add hot chocolate mixture in a slow stream, whisking, and pour into saucepan. Cook custard over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until a thermometer registers 170°F. (Do not let boil.) If custard is lumpy, pour through a sieve into a metal bowl. If smooth, pour into metal bowl. Cover bowl of custard with a lid or cling wrap and set bowl into a larger bowl of ice and cold water. Chill custard until cold.