Cocoa Rhapsody: Beautiful chocolate that ticks all the boxes

Cocoa Rhapsody fair trade chocolate

The Cocoa Rhapsody stand at Jells Park Farmers Market

These days in my efforts to eat only fair trade dairy free chocolate, it’s become a bit of a challenge to find something that doesn’t compromise on taste or texture. On Saturday I had the good fortune to discover the Cocoa Rhapsody stand at the Jells Park Farmer’s Market. Chatting to business owner Patricia, it quickly became evident this is very much a passion project for the husband and wife team, wanting to make beautiful Australian Made chocolates utilising high quality fair trade ingredients. Patricia’s husband Floyd has many years of experience as a pastry chef and chocolatier which has been instrumental in the creation of these smooth, creamy chocolates. We had fun sampling  the many different varieties and it was difficult to walk away without one of everything! There is an extensive milk chocolate range as well as quite a few varieties that are vegan friendly/dairy free. It’s great to see an ethical product that tastes so darn good. These chocolates are also certified organic so you can skip the chemical nasties as you indulge.

Cocoa Rhapsody fairtrade chocolate

Our picks of the day

You can catch Cocoa Rhapsody at farmer’s markets around Melbourne, at a wide range of retailers listed on the website or order by email/phone. With Easter just around the corner it’s time to stock up!

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Shopping at the Farmer’s Market

Jells Park Farmer's Market

Jells Park Farmer's Market, Wheelers Hill

There’s a lot to be said for Farmer’s Markets, especially on a beautiful sunny day and with a hungry tummy. It’s fun wandering between the stalls and stopping to chat with the farmers or specialist producers about their own unique takes on marinated olives or  hand-crafted chocolate or artisan bread (just to name a few goodies available). The great thing about markets like these is that they give the smaller producers a chance to shine away from the larger operators. These guys are passionate about what they do and love to tell you all about it, often allowing you to try before you buy. Shopping locally is a great way to cut down on food miles and you will have the opportunity to eat fresh seasonal produce usually picked less than 24 hours earlier, as opposed to the cold stored offerings from our supermarket chains.

So with a hankering for olives and the freshest of veggies for that night’s dinner, we headed down to our relatively local farmers market at Jell’s Park for a long overdue visit. Although slightly reduced in stall holders from our last expedition, the market was teeming with wonderful fresh produce some of which included: free range eggs, fair-trade (& Vegan) chocolate, delicious olives, beautiful artisan breads, freshly picked last of the season stone fruits and vegetables so fresh and full of life I wanted to buy them all! It was wonderful to be able to revisit some of our favourite stalls including  Blackbird Spices who sell an amazing range of herbs, spices and blends, in particular one of our must haves, New York Pepper – such a versatile little ingredient for adding a zing to just about anything.

Farmer's Market Produce

Our goodies

Well after having enjoyed it so much this time around, we will definitely make the effort to do the rounds and support the local farming community and producers.

For more information on Farmer’s Markets visit the Victorian Farmer’s Market Association website where you can also download this handy guide which will let you know where you can get your fix of goodies week by week.  For readers outside of Victoria, visit the Australian Farmer’s Market Association.

Extreme (Shopping) Makeover

On Friday I took my newly purchased Ethical Consumer Guide app for i-phone along for the ride while I stocked up on some everyday groceries. Needless to say, it did add a significant amount of time to my usual whiz through the aisles as it involved scrolling through product lists every time I picked up an item.

It was however, a massive eye-opener. It would be fair to say that I changed in excess of 50% of the products I had considered my favourites due to the negative feedback provided by the guide. For instance, I need to buy some tomato sauce so reached for the usual household names…the guide gave the vast majority of these a big red cross. Interestingly, a lot of these companies are not Australian owned and lost points on several criterion such as misleading labelling and possible use of genetically engineered ingredients.  There were also some pleasant surprises; our favourite at home coffee brand Scarborough Fair got the big thumbs up, although as it’s already known for being a fair-trade brand with great practices it came as no surprise.

One things for sure, I certainly felt empowered by shopping with the guide instead of  blindly throwing in whatever package glittered most brightly from the shelves.

For a sample of the type of information you will find on the app, take a look at the online version.

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Ethical Consumer Guide’s new app for i-phone is here!

Shopping ethically is something most of us strive to do but without the information at your fingertips it’s easy for the best intentions to fall by the wayside.

Well along comes the ethical consumer guide’s app for i-phone where you can have all the information you need to select the most ethical product at your fingertips.  With access to over 2800 products listed it’s easier than ever to vote with your shopping dollar. Now if only there was a way to remember those canvas bags!