Seth Godin’s plea to shun cheap chocolate reminds me I never told you about Tony’s Chocolonely.
About a year ago I noticed these brightly wrapped chocolate bars in the checkout of my neighborhood grocery store. They were huge, and they cost about $5 each, so I never bought one.
Then about six weeks ago in Amsterdam, Laura, Meredith and I strolled past a doorway marked with “Tony’s” signage and that led down a flight of stairs and into a basement shop filled with these bright wrappers. There was an entire wall of levers that, when pulled, produced small chocolate samples. Another wall was a window into a chocolate production facility. And there were computer terminals to help you design your own chocolate bar with your own personalized wrapper.
So this is where those $5 chocolate bars are coming from. Amsterdam?
Tony’s Chocolonely is a Dutch company started by a Dutch television producer named Teun van de Keuken who launched a crusade to rid the chocolate industry of slave labor after reporting on chocolate producers’ inability to guarantee that they did not employ slave labor. So he got himself arrested under a Dutch statute criminalizing the purchase of stolen goods and then launched his own company to prove that you can manufacture great chocolate and pay farmers a living wage. It’s a compelling story about a singular mission: to rid the global chocolate trade of slave labor.
In 2015 Tony’s expanded production to the United States, so the bars in my local checkout are actually coming from Portland.
Anyway, I’m a fan, and now you know. I almost forgot to tell you.