Changemaker Nomination: Rocket Dog Rescue

Here’s yet another of our 2012 Changemaker Nominations suggested by a chocolate lover! 

Congratulations to Rocket Dog Rescue: www.rocketdogrescue.org

Here’s what Annie has to say about this awesome organization:

“I met Pali years ago before she started Rocket Dog and she was volunteering with Hop-A-Long Rescue.  I had come to her in search of help with a pit bull we had found in a parking lot, and it is just as true then as it is now how she does whatever she can to help any dog that comes her way.  I have never seen Pali’s dedication to rescue waiver in the ten plus years that I have had the honor to call her my friend.  I have seen all the hardships and sacrafices and time that it is so overwhelming that any other person would just quit, especially now with how the economy has hit rescue groups and with shelters closing.  Pali is an extremely special woman and Rocket Dog Rescue takes every dime and stretches it to the max, no one gets paid it’s an all volunteer group.  The past three years RDR has been given the title of “Best Non-Profit” by the Bay Guardian, and that goes hand in hand with Pali’s total dedication to the cause of helping those animals in need, no matter how dire the situation.  Thousands of dogs have been able to find love and live out happier lives through the hard work of Pali Boucher and Rocket Dog Rescue. Thank you for having “changemakers” a part of your company.”

A little more about Rocket Dog Rescue:

“Rocket Dog Rescue is a volunteer based organization serving the greater Bay Area, dedicated to saving homeless and abandoned dogs from over crowded animal shelters. We also help dogs from other areas that have compelling situations where they are in danger of abuse, neglect or euthanasia. Rocket Dog Rescue places dogs into temporary foster homes where they are socialized, spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and treated for any medical or behavioral conditions limiting their adoptability. RDR actively searches for permanent homes for its foster dogs by producing and distributing photo-biographic posters, by hosting an actively updated website and by organizing mobile adoption fairs and special events that provide exposure to potential adopters. Rocket Dog Rescue also provides assistance to individuals and animal rescue groups fostering dogs in need of permanent new homes.

Founded in 2001, Rocket Dog Rescue’s ultimate goal is to create a world where all companion animals have loving and permanent homes and where no good natured dogs, no matter what their age, are killed in shelters because they are considered to be surplus or un-adoptable.”

Posted by & filed under 2012 Nominations.

Changemaker Nomination: SparkRelief

Here’s one of our 2012 Changemaker Nominations suggested by a chocolate lover! 

Congratulations to SparkRelief: sparkrelief.org

Here’s what Taylor has to say about this awesome organization:

“Eli founded a disaster relief nonprofit called Sparkrelief after experiencing the Boulder fires in 2010. He wanted to help, but didn’t know how so he went to the Red Cross to see if he could host some families in his large apartment. They told him to go away, so he created a platform where community members can find and offer housing during times of disaster. Sparkrelief has since helped out with multiple disasters including the Japan Earthquake, the Alberta wildfires, and the Joplin Tornado.

He is currently on a mission to rebuild the website to include housing, transportation, medical aid, food, and more and could use a little pat on the shoulder!”

A little more about SparkRelief:

“…working to make natural disasters suck less.”

“We are a group of volunteers, fourteen amazing people, dedicated to the common goal of significantly improving lives after natural disasters. We build a platform and create better processes, empowering communities to provide disaster relief. Sparkrelief is a 501(c)(3) non-profit.

• We see a world where people are empowered to help one another during disasters
• We seek to replace complexity and despair with simplicity and hope
• We promise to do our best to ‘Empower You to provide disaster relief’ and hope you will join us in creating a better world

From food, to clothing, to donations and volunteers, we want to build the bridges that will be used for decades to connect people who want to help with those in need. Help us build those bridges.”

Posted by & filed under 2012 Nominations.

Changemaker Nomination: Sustainable Harvest International

Here’s one of our 2012 Changemaker Nominations suggested by a chocolate lover! 

Congratulations to Sustainable Harvest International: www.sustainableharvest.org.

Here’s what Kimberly has to say about this awesome organization:

“I read on my chocolate bar that I could nominate an organization to benefit from your donation program. I have been donating to Sustainable Harvest International for several years. I think that the work that they do in teaching sustainable agricultural practices to people in Central America would dovetail nicely with the mission of your company.

The aspect I like best about SHI is that instead of simply telling people that slash and burn techinques are bad, they teach them new ways of farming. They also show them how those ways can improve the nutritional content of their meals, help them earn extra money, and improve their health.

Their model is that SHI must be invited into the community and they will only stay there for a few years to help the community get started. But the community must really desire to learn the new techniques so that they have ownership over it.

Thank you for your time and consideration of SHI, and thanks for being such a cool company (with extra tasty chocolate!)”

A little more about SHI:

The mission of Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) is to provide farming families in Central America with the training and tools to preserve our planet’s tropical forests while overcoming poverty.

Founded in 1997 by Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Florence Reed, Sustainable Harvest International addresses the tropical deforestation crisis in Central America by providing farmers with sustainable alternatives to slash-and-burn agriculture.

Posted by & filed under 2012 Nominations.

The Story of MIdnight

Ruminations from our Sarah, our Operations Goddess, as she recently dropped in on our top-secret production facility nestled deep in America’s heartland…

The chocolate starts melting early. It takes over an hour to gently melt 800lbs of 75% Cacao for today’s run of Fearless Chocolate Dark as Midnight bars. From the melter, chocolate is transferred to the tempering machine that takes the chocolate up to its peak temperature of 118F and then through a precise correlation of Time, Agitation and Temperature to accomplish the perfect molecular structure for a smooth, sleek finished bar. It was explained to me that as the chocolate cools from it’s peak temperature, it explodes into crystalline molecules like pop-corn until it’s all transformed. Then a subtle warm spike is the moment of truth when all of those crystals meld together to give us the smoothness we so treasure in a chocolate bar. All of this happens in a space-age, computer-controlled unit behind dark glass. The glistening chocolate flows from this monolith into the nozzles that deposit it dollop by precious dollop into the Fearless molds. Stars and Bite and Elephant are perfectly filled by the molds doing a jitterbug down the conveyor belt, giving each bar just the final perfecting dose of agitation to render them sleek and shiny.

The conveyor takes each mold around a corner and gently sends them at a snail’s pace down the long cooling tunnel. It takes 40 minutes for each row of 4 molds to make their way down the 50 odd feet of the tunnel, but when they arrive at the other end into the waiting hands of chocolatiers (blue-handed in vinyl gloves, ballooning hairnets around their heads, it’s impossible not to think of Oompa Loompas) the bars are completely cooled and ready to be popped out of their molds onto trays and stacked on rolling racks 6 ft tall.

A quick pass through the metal detector for an added measure of quality control (no one can even enter the processing floor without first taking off all jewelry/accessories and wearing hair coverings and white coats) and the bars are ready for wrapping. Each tray of 16 pieces is emptied bar by bar onto the wrapping machine conveyor, slipped into a shiny wrap of brightly colored flying elephants, date and batch coded, sealed and cartoned for transport to the packing tables. There each chocolate bar is hand-placed into a Fearless box, latched shut, and placed with 10 of it’s comrades in a handy-dandy display box. At last these Midnight bars are all decked out and ready to meet you!

OM NOM NOM NOM……

Posted by & filed under Chocolate, Delicious Design, production.

FEARLESS EVENT: GET YOUR DANCE ON!

FEARLESS will be reppin’ hard at this amazing event, providing succulent snacks to feed all those savage beasts in attendance looking to be soothed.

Event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/274676752631526

Held at Laughing Lotus Yoga (www.nyc.laughinglotus.com), Get Your Dance On is a high vibe dance party that welcomes absolutely everyone. Born in NYC, it is a combination festival, street fair, house party, tea lounge, and temple.

With special guest DJ DREZ all the way from Los Angeles, prepare for a night of your fave music, vibes, and peoples.

+ DREZ in the Dance Hall (complete with 8 points of sound)
+ Da’Riddim INya Drum Ensemble
+ Didge Project Chill Space
+ Complimentary super chocolate + cacao treats, coconut water, and more TBA

Celebrate summer, life, and your beautiful self with mighty beats & major community at the best party in town.

We love you. Come dance with us!

 

Posted by & filed under Chocolate, Demos, live events, tasting.

A Sweet Deal

By Heather Palmer
Guest Amazing Word Seamstress

While preparing myself for this post, I realize that sucking on chocolate before delving into the “sugar” issue might be a tad hypocritical.  Since my guilt requires justification before action occurs (ahem, putting down the chocolate), I knew solid research must stamp approval of my habit. Only knowledgeable consumption and confidence in choices leads to pleasure. Sugar is no exception.

“Sugar” as most people know it, is table sugar, and if you’re into “natural” sugar, you’re familiar with honey, agave, stevia, maple syrup, palm fruit sugar, and the slew of “sweeteners” that we never call sugar. This article focuses on natural sweeteners because with the increase in healthy consumption and mindful eating, most people are not informed or misinformed by marketing schemes and half-baked science.

When I say “most people,” I pretty much mean me.

PS—I AM NOT A SCIENTIST. If you really want to know about natural sweeteners, talk to a doctor, hopefully one interested in holistic eating.

Onward then.

In chocolate specifically, agave has dominated the alternative sweetener market. Agave is a part of the succulent yucca plant family and grows in Central America, South America, and Mexico. The average plant is 5-8 ft tall and 7-12 feet in diameter (so it’s big). When most people think of this majestic plant, they think purity, and in fact, for a long time its sap was used directly for medicinal purposes. But with the onslaught of health food movement demands, agave takes a dirty turn. (citation for following information: Dr. Mercola for the Huffington Post).

I’ll give you the facts mean and fast:

  •  Agave’s sap is not the same “blue agave” that you buy. The sap must go through massive amounts of genetic modification—which includes depleting the plant of its enzymes (BIG raw food bell goes off)—similar to the process in which corn is modified into high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). 
  • It’s not a live food
  • The fructose level of agave is anywhere between 50-97%, depending on the type of processing. HFCS’s fructose averages 50%, so even at agave’s best, it’s not beating HFCS’s fructose levels.
  • Increases the body’s insulin resistance, which is much more dangerous than preventing the body from rising insulin levels, thus making the fact that agave is “low glycemic” not only wrong information, but misleading and harmful. 

Huh? I thought agave was good for me? I thought it was a safe and an even healthy alterative to sugar?

The truth is that turning agave sap into “nectar” involves rigorous chemical processing, including additives such as: activated charcoal, cationic acid, ionic resins, sulfuric and hydrofluoric acid, clarimex, inulin enzymes, fructozyme. The result is fructose levels that average over 80%.

But what’s wrong with fructose? It’s in fruit? True, but fruit comes with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals that, when processed, agave nectar is stripped of, leaving the nectar with what scientists call “free” fructose molecules. These molecules are digested in the liver, and the body reacts to them they same way it reacts to alcohol. The fructose is released into the bloodstream, and causes the insulin resistance I mentioned earlier.

In case you’re not diabetic, or don’t know the effect of insulin resistance (like I didn’t), I’ll explain. When fructose is released into the blood, the insulin levels rise—this is normal and healthy in moderate levels, but possibly/likely dangerous for a diabetic person. Although this part is what people try to avoid by eating low glycemic foods, this is actually less a problem than what can happen after the insulin levels rise. The danger with fructose is that it increases a person’s risk of insulin resistance, which means the insulin levels do not decrease. This is extremely dangerous to both healthy and diabetic persons, the latter of which are who, ironically, the agave field markets.

As more people find out about the adverse effects of agave, they turn to other sweeteners such as stevia, raw honey, maple syrup, etc. Most, if not all of these, are derived from fructose (stevia is an exception and comes from sucrose, but that has its own problems this article does not have room to address). It is not the sweetener, per say, that is the problem. It’s fructose. No one person should have more than 25 grams a day. And fruit counts! Despite the advantages of fiber and minerals, that’s how toxic fructose is, which makes avoiding agave vital.

Don’t put down your chocolate yet! Serious chocolate makers understand consumer and health concerns and actively research alternative sugars, like the one FEARLESS uses, rapadura.

Rapadura is the only sugar besides jaggery that requires no refining. Nothing must be taken out of the plant and then put back in, nothing is heated to extreme degrees, no chemicals are added, and no one tampers with the final product. The production of rapadura involves squeezing, drying, and grinding the plant. Done.

This is the “sweetener” (sugar), that goes in FEARLESS bars. The true fear of sugar is not sugar itself: it’s the type and the quantity. Not even fructose is bad if eaten moderately and in its raw, natural form. In the same way, raw, dark chocolate, with unrefined sugar, is a wonderful indulgence in a clean, pure diet.

Now that’s pretty sweet.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

“Why is there an elephant on the bar?”

A statement from our FEARLESS leader, Mr. Jordan Schuster:

People often ask us “Why is there an elephant on the bar?” The answer is not easy to put in words, but that is also, in part, our elephant’s purpose.

As a chocolate maker I am often struck by the profound effects of food. Chocolate is of course special in the kingdom of foods often crowning the end of a wonderful meal, or perhaps rewarding the end of a day. Chocolate is often the jewel of celebration and I believe this is so because of its indelible effect upon our senses. And not just the exquisite tastes and unmatchable textures, but also the broad pharmacology of the chocolate seems to activate our biology in ways that other foods cannot.

Chocolate can certainly be intellectualized in the same tradition as wine and other fine foods. We can talk about bean genetics and terroir, processing methodology and origin. Its a wonderful conversation which we enjoy very much at Fearless. However, for me I am more sincerely struck by the pre-verbal magic of the cacao. I am struck by the liminal moment of tasting this jewel and the ensuing ballet upon my senses. I enjoy watching the same sensations ripple across the faces of those sharing our chocolate, and I marvel.

I like to claim that the enchantment of chocolate is ‘pre-verbal’ because I want the moment to be purely enjoyed without the lens of mature thought. Yes, I want you to be that kid again, devouring ravenously, or fervently savoring the mesmerizing nuances in each bite. Good food does that. The politics of good food are earnestly evident in their simple goodness, it cant be argued with. In the complex world I live in, I have developed such reverence for these simple and peaceful moments.

And back to elephants ;) here is a wonderful story of the bond between a man and the wild elephants he cared for, please read it, as it is simply heartwarming. I love this story. It reminds me of the moment I realized that I love chocolate the way I love elephants…..with an affinity that needs no words. Most of us have not experience anything near the level of proximity to elephants as the man in this story, yet its undeniable the sense of brotherhood/sisterhood we feel with them. We love to marvel at their unfathomable majesty, their power, and their compassion. Within an elephant is potential. Indomitable creatures capable of extreme violence but more passionately demonstrative of love, family, kindness, gentleness. As we observe elephants we cant help but observe ourselves. Their size emblemizes the enormity of our egos. Their presence is unmitigated. And yet the depths of their sweetness seems unfathomable. Courageous creatures, Fearless through and through, elephants inspire.

Clearly I can find no shortage of words to describe why I LOVE elephants, but do I really need any words to explain this to you? I dont think so. I think you understand in the same way that I do. Its a feeling. A sense of kindred spirit. A sense of connectedness that exists far deeper in who YOU are than words can ever touch. Elephants mere existence somehow teaches us who we are.

Chocolate for me is the same. Its a food that is a friend that is a teacher that reminds me to experience THIS very moment and all others with sweet, delectable reverence!

For this reason and many others we chose an elephant as the totemic figure on our Fearless Chocolate bars. The elephant is you and the elephant is your potential. The chocolate will remind you that your true wealth is what your natural experience of all things, even those that taste less wonderful than chocolate.

Thank you, dear elephants, for enjoying FEARLESS CHOCOLATE and for reading this article below, it is one you will not soon forget…

Wild Elephants Gather Inexplicably, Mourn Death of “Elephant Whisperer”

Posted by & filed under Chocolate, FEARLESS.

A Most Epic Voice Mail, Part 1

We are grateful to receive an magnificent amount of customer feedback. It’s hard work to build up enough chutzpah to put yourself out there, so we love it when someone responds to said chutzpah with matched chutzpah of their own.

An amazing voice mail was left for us over a weekend a few months back. Actually, it was three voice mails, as the caller kept getting cut off. Determined to be heard, he called back to finish his stream of consciousness.

FEARLESS Chocolate called back, and asked him to make a video to accompany the story he left us. Here is part one:

Stay tuned for the continuing saga of the World’s Largest Living Container of Chocolate.

Posted by & filed under FEARLESS, Video.