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Hello, this is Cookery Editor, Sue, and this week I’ve been to a press event for the Fairtrade Foundation, and I find it hard to believe that next year they celebrate their 20th anniversary in the UK, as I remember when it first launched. The whole basis of the foundations is to encourage consumers to buy products where the farmer who produces them gets paid a fair price for the work that they do and the food that they produce, by looking out for the Fairtrade logo on products. A huge variety of products are members of the scheme and as well as food, there’s also things like cotton products for clothing, homeware and toys, and also metals like gold, silver and platinum. And in food, some of the common products include chocolate, tea, coffee, wine and fruits such as bananas and avocados, which tend to come from countries where in the past farmers have been exploited (and are still being exploited in some areas), but by paying a fare wage helps to fund sustainability for the future.

It only has the word “chocolate tasting” on an invitation to guarantee the presence of the Woman’s Weekly cookery team, and it’s even better when it’s a chocolate and drink paring. Green and Black’s were at the Fairtrade event with tasting samples of a couple of new flavours that they’ll be launching in September, which I’m not allowed to talk about yet, but they also had tastings of their white, 70% dark chocoalte and milk chocolate. They suggested paring their white chocolate with a sweet dessert wine such as a Sauternes, and what they suggested was to have a sip of the wine, then try the chocolate and then another sip of wine – and they did have it right and the flavours went together really well.  I thought that the chocolate used in our recipe for White Chocolate Cheesecake served with the wine would have worked really well.  Next they’d chosen a fruity port which they said would bring out the cherry notes in their dark 70% cocoa chocolate, and it did!  I’d never really noticed any cherry flavour in that chocolate before, but sampling it with the port I really could taste it.  Then finally they’d paired their milk chocolate with whiskey, which again was a surprising combination but it worked.

Then, as a huge tea drinker, I enjoyed learning more about Clipper Teas.  I’d tried their herbal ranges before, but I didn’t realise they had such a wide selection of black teas. And if you like different teas at different times of the day, they suggest their “Big Breakfast” tea for a tea to wake you up in the morning, and the lower caffine “Red sky at night” to drink in the evening so it won’t keep you awake all night. And as well as their tea they also had tasters of their hot chocolate (yes, more chocolate) which they describe as a “cuddle in a cup!” What I liked was that it came in 1kg cartons (and smaller sizes, down to an individual sachet), but the large size is perfect for families as I think it’s bound to be a popular bedtime drink – although they suggested that size was more suitable to have at work for everyone to share.

Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream

Then perfect on a hot day like today was the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream – using fairtrade cocoa, chocolate, vanilla snd sugar.  Their “social mission specialist” was over from Vermont, where the company was founded, and he was explaining how the principles of fairtrade fit in with their company’s “mission”.  A quote from the Ben and Jerry’s website is that they are “all about making the best possible ice cream in the nicest possible way.”  Their aim is obviously to make a profit, but they aim to do that responsibly.

Liberation Nuts

As well as chocolate, another weakness of mine is nuts, and I normally have a packet in my office drawer for “emergencies” (writing recipes makes me hungry sometimes, and thinking about food all the time makes me hungry).  I enjoy trying someting a little unusual, so the Liberation “Oven baked Chilli & Lime Cashews with Peanuts & Roasted Corn” caught my eye and I really enjoyed the extra crunch that the roasted corn gave an extra crunch.

Anway, after trying all these different things I didn’t need any lunch!