Easter Eggs: Homemade and Fair Trade

Dedicated to my friend Bron: it is impossible to be friends with her without trying to consume food more ethically!

A few months ago I made the very difficult decision to stop buying chocolate bars and blocks that weren’t fairly traded. Now that easter has rolled around I’ve found it really hard to find any appropriate easter eggs! Apparently it’s not just me – fair trade eggs are hard to find! I’ve been thinking outside the box, though, so instead of store bought Cadbury easter eggs, this year our family are going to receive… home made Cadbury easter eggs!

Home Made, Fair Trade Easter Eggs: A Tutorial

Materials and Ingredients
Small or medium egg chocolate moulds
I found some at Spotlight for about $3.00 but you can probably also find them at confectioner’s stores, some craft stores or online
A pyrex or metal mixing bowl
A small saucepan
Copious amounts of fair trade chocolate, borken into small pieces – you want about twice as much as your moulds can hold.
Australians: try Cadbury Dairy Milk or Green and Black Mayan Gold
Foil
Optional: large delicious nuts or turkish delight
(e.g. macadamias, almonds)

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Making the Eggs
1. Melting down your chocolate.
Boil a little bit of water in your saucepan and leave it at a rolling boil. Put half your chocolate in the mixing bowl and balance it on the saucepan. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth.
My friend in the States has something called a “double boiler”. I have no idea what it is but apparently it melts chocolate like this without the danger of balancing two bowls of boiling liquid on top of each other. I guess you could use one of those if you have one!

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2. Filling the moulds.
Spoon the melted chocolate into your mould. Tap the mould on the bench top to get rid of air bubbles and smooth the back of the chocolate.

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3. OPTIONAL STEP!
Put a nut or a piece of Turkish Delight in the middle of the egg so that half of it is sticking out the back.
This will help your egg hold together when you make the other half. However it may also compromise the fair-traded-ness of your egg depending on where these ingredients have come from!

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4. Waiting.
Transfer your eggs to the frige and wait for them to solidify.

5. Making the rest of the egg.
Pop the half-eggs out of the mold and then melt down the rest of the your chocolate. Fill the moulds as before. Carefully line up your solidified egg-halves over the melted egg halves in the mould and press down gently to join the two. Rush the filled moulds into the fridge!

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6. Finishing.
Once the second halves are solid your eggs are ready to wrap. Gently shake the eggs free from the mould. Wrap them in foil. If you are so inclined, decorate your eggs with ribbon.

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Ta Da! These chocolate eggs will charm your loved ones with their homemade quirkyness and are more ethical than the ones for sale in the supermarket. Double win!

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24 thoughts on “Easter Eggs: Homemade and Fair Trade

    1. Alison Post author

      Just because they are made from fair trade certified chocolate. I haven’t found any eggs with the certificiation at my supermarket (not even the plain cadbury eggs!). This was a way I could turn blocks of certified chocolate into fair trade eggs!

      Reply
      1. pinhead22886

        Yeah, I don’t know how I feel about fair trade goods. There’s nothing WRONG with them, if that’s what people want to buy, but there’s nothing all that special about them either. I certainly don’t feel that they’re any more “ethical”, necessarily. I’m uneasy with the fact that a sticker on a product eases people’s consciences.

      2. dumsum

        [deleted/reposted for typos]
        Label away. Was anything I said untrue?

        Fair trade is a movement designed to help producers in developing countries by means of artificially inflating the price of the goods they produce. Check.

        Producers in developing countries have generally struggled to succeed (at least by western standards). Check.

        I understand that bringing this up kind of ruins the mood of the whole thing here but unfortunately facing up to reality kind of has that effect on people.

        In any case I think it’s important to do so because unlike Brad I go one step further and happen to be of the opinion that there actually are things wrong with fair trade. What fairer price do we have on goods than that which is dictated by pure Supply vs Demand?

        Naturally, people in developing countries should be helped. But telling them that they’re able to enter an already flooded market — tea? coffee? sugar? chocolate? — with the promise of an artificially inflated wholesale price just does not make any sense from a business perspective because it fails to take into account the effect on the non-fair trade market. Seeing an artificial price higher than the fair price brings yet more suppliers into an already flooded market which in the end will only have the effect of driving down the price.

        Fair trade shoots itself in the foot from the start — which makes Brad’s uneasiness about a sticker easing people’s consciences all the more valid.

      3. pinhead22886

        Simon, I see what you mean about seeing something wrong with fair trade products. But at the end of the day, if the intelligentsia in developed countries want to pay inflated prices for exactly the same product just because it was produced in a developing country, that’s their business. You and I aren’t in a position to say that’s wrong, and at the end of the day, their “demand” for fair trade goods contributes to the overall demand in an economy. Just because you or I may think that that’s an inefficient allocation of resources, doesn’t mean there’s any less demand for those goods. That makes their production justifiable.

        The point in my mind is that if lefties (myself included to a significant degree!!!) want to encourage development in poorer communities, they would be better off using their resources (which they otherwise seem to use to purchase ridiculously expensive chocolate and coffee) to encourage agricultural producers in developing countries to produce something which would actually be in high demand and short supply across the globe (eg. hemp, which is an amazingly versatile and incredibly valuable product which is not produced to any significant extent in most wealthy developed countries).

        Firms in developing countries LOVE hemp, because its a natural and relatively cheap alternative to things like STEEL, which is a finite resource! I fail to see how farmers in developing countries are being helped by paying more from our pockets to encourage them to produce more of a product that is already in over-supply…

        Admittedly I only have a basic understanding of global economics (or economics of any sort really), but I’d invite you to draw your own conclusions about whether my self-confessed rudimentary understanding of economics renders me more or less qualified to comment on this issue…

      4. Alison Post author

        All this about supply and demand is very true and if that’s all it was then I would agree with you both. But you both know that the fair trade certification is much more than that!

        There is also the element of child labour and slavery – a lot of conventionally traded chocolate is dependent on the work of young indentured workers who are very, very poorly paid and treated. The fair trade certification is not about inflating a price for the sake of paying producers a wage that makes westeners feel better about themselves. It’s about ensuring that employers engage in fair practices in the treatment of their employees.

        World Vision has am informative campaign on this issue here.

      5. pinhead22886

        But don’t you see that the use of cheap or forced child labour is a product of farmers trying to produce a product that is already in over-supply. Because they can’t sell their cocoa for a price high enough to earn a living, they’re forced to cut costs through slave and child labour. Perhaps if they were helped to convert to growing crops which are in higher demand and lower supply, they would be able to make a living withoutusing child labour…?

        “The fair trade certification is not about inflating a price for the sake of paying producers a wage that makes westeners feel better about themselves.” It seems to me that this is exactly what it is… :S

      6. Alison Post author

        “The fair trade certification is not about inflating a price for the sake of paying producers a wage that makes westeners feel better about themselves.”
        “It seems to me that this is exactly what it is… :S”

        But it’s not. Cadbury fair trade chocolate is exactly the same price as the conventional chocolate. Similarly the fair trade Green and Black chocolate is the same price as the conventional Green and Black chocolate (those just cost more than Cadbury because they are “organic”, which is another issue entirely).

        Fair trade is not about price inflation, it’s about certifying a product for consumers who are concerned about how the product has been created.

      7. pinhead22886

        Then why have non-fair trade chocolate at all? If these businesses were genuinely concerned, why wouldn’t they refuse to sell any chocolate that couldn’t be verified as ethically produced? It doesn’t make sense.

        Also, a sticker doesn’t really guarantee anything. Who decides what is and isn’t acceptable in the production process? Perhaps the cocoa is sourced from farms that don’t use child labour. That’s admirable. But what of the palm oil and other ingredients that may also be in the product? Its a gimmick.

      8. dumsum

        Okay, one might be able to say there’s an aspect of a product, say “fairtradedness”, for which people might be willing to pay a price. But that price isn’t determined by demand – the whole idea is to determine (by whatever means) the price that these farmers need in order to make a worthwhile living, and essentially set that as a price floor. This is dangerous particularly to those who are not beneficiaries of the scheme. 2 wrongs don’t make a right.

        If, however, the price was set by demand then I would have no problem with it. Unfortunately that doesn’t work in the fairtraders’ interests because they have to face up to the reality that we already have the fairest possible price for the goods themselves, and there really doesn’t seem to be much demand for “fairtradedness”, resulting in very little extra dosh with which to pay.

        Producers in developing countries trying to compete in those markets is what I mean by them failing economics – if you can’t profit from the fair price then you shouldn’t be in that market. I’m all for helping them but it needs to be done in the right way. As you alluded to, the proper way to get a higher price is to operate in an area of short supply. Let’s encourage that instead of lying to their faces that they can profit from flooded, highly competitive markets.

      9. Alison Post author

        See my comment above to Brad – I don’t think you can make this argument about consumers being “willing to pay a price”. The cost to consumers is no different and you pay no extra buying a block of fair trade dairy milk than you do buying a conventional conventional fruit and nut. The cost is borne further down the supply chain by someone else (the chocolate company? some other unknown middle man?)

      10. Anonymous

        But still ethical? You haven’t made the case yet that fair trade is not ethical, just expensive.

        MM

  1. birdienl

    Oh, how nice! That will be a real treat for all your friends and family.

    Here in the Netherlands we’ve had quite a surge in Fair Trade chocolate over the past years, so I won’t need to use my wonky chocolate-melting skills to make your gems, luckily!

    Reply
  2. etimodnar

    Yay! They look great!

    All this talk about fair-trade and how useful it is reminds me of this:

    Fair trade isn’t perfect, but I’d prefer to buy it because it sends a message to companies that people care about HOW produce gets into our hands. That issues such as child labour aren’t worth turning a blind eye to. If all producers bought cocoa beans that did not use child labour, others plantations would see it worth their while to stop using child labour in order to get suppliers.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Fair trade, chocolate and demand

    Hi, Wow! Fi told me about this post and I’m so glad I found it. I think your eggs look scrumptiously awesome! 🙂
    I agree that Fair Trade certification is a product of our over-consumer guilt. We have to much, spend too much, eat too much, and buying niche fair trade or organics can be a way to help us ease our guilty consciences without actually making the changes necessary (ie. buying less, accepting a smaller wage, giving most of our money away). On the local scale it can also be used as an method of snobbery and self righteousness. Moreover, many farms under fair trade certification actually do not uphold their obligations, see for example, http://news.bbc.co.uk/panorama/hi/front_page/newsid_8583000/8583499.stm

    However, as far as I understand the situation is that coffee or chocolate grown on the ivory coast and other parts of Africa tends to be grown on farms where unethical practices such as child slavery are very common. This chocolate goes into Mars, Nestle and I think Cadbury products. However many European brands of chocolate are more likely to be sourced from outside of Africa. I’m willing to be educated on this however, if I’ve got it wrong.

    As for demand, while providing an in-demand product may help temporarily raise local income levels, typically what happens is that in the space of about 2 years, many others have also switched to that product and there is a glut of supply, prices drop and often the local environment has been damaged in the process. Not to mention the investment that local farmers put in to change crops.

    Reply
    1. Alison Post author

      Re: Fair trade, chocolate and demand

      Thanks for commenting!

      A reference to Fi makes me think that you are either Bron or Jeremy. From the argument, I am guessing Bron!

      Reply

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