Candy tastes all the sweeter when sourced sustainably. Take, for instance, Fortnum & Mason’s new Sailboat Chocolate. Its delectable flavor is only enriched by the fact that it’s the world’s first farm-to-store chocolate and is 99 percent emission-free.
To achieve this feat of confectionary mastery, the luxury department store has harked back to its 17th-century roots and combined some old-school transportation methods with modern green thinking.
The chocolate’s epic journey begins in the West Indies. Here, The Grenada Chocolate Company harvests the finest organic Trinitario cocoa beans from the unique volcanic terroir. The solar-powered chocolate factory, which is nestled amid the lush cocoa groves, then processes the beans and readies roughly 770 pounds of chocolate for the trip ahead. As an added sweetener, all workers are shareholders in the company and are paid above the standard daily farming rate set by the government.
The chocolate then sails across the Atlantic in a 90-foot wooden schooner that’s propelled purely by its three foresails and gusts of wind. (Think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets Master and Commander.) This is no small task given the vessel’s sail plan and limited ability to make turns, especially when weighed down by hefty saccharine cargo. By law, the vessel, known as T/S Britta, needs to carry diesel petrol in case of emergency, therefore the chocolate can’t be deemed 100 percent emission-free although it basically is.
Once safely in the UK, the chocolate is hauled by horse and carriage to NearyNógs Stoneground Chocolate Makers for the final stage of production. From there, the finished product makes its way to Fortnum & Mason’s Piccadilly store using a zero-emission electric van and is put on the shelf for sweet tooths to consume.
The chocolate slates are available in three different styles. There’s a 71 percent that features heady floral aromas and tart berry fruit notes; an 85 percent that is characterized by bold cocoa notes and the rich smell of tobacco and leather; along with a 100 percent that boasts the earthy baked aromas of chocolate brownie.
“We’re incredibly excited to launch Sail Boat Chocolate with Chantal Coady and The Grenada Chocolate Company, the world’s first farm-to-store 99 percent emission-free chocolate slates,” Sophie Young, the confectionery buyer at Fortnum & Mason, told Robb Report. “This is an important step in supporting Fortnum’s ‘Future Matters’ commitment to creating long-lasting change, showcasing our values in an innovative way while delivering a delicious bar of high-quality, sustainable chocolate to our customers.”
The family-run outfit, which has been around for more than 300 years, has a rich history of not only championing traditions but also driving innovation to stay relevant to the ever-changing world. To be sure, the new Sailboat Chocolate shows that old-fashioned “slow” processes and sustainable practices can yield delicious results.