It’s easy to be cynical about Valentine’s Day, but, at its heart, it’s a holiday all about celebrating love, which is hard to argue against. And for those of us whose love language is gifts, it’s a great day for receiving (and giving!) presents.
If you’re sweet on your sweetie and you want to let them know it, a box of chocolates is more than a handy simile for the unpredictability of life – it’s an absolutely classic gift for courting couples. And Galentines and Palentines and parents and kids… there are very few people who don’t appreciate a tasty chocolate treat.
But, nothing leaves a bad taste in your mouth like the thought that your chocolate might be causing harm – to the environment or the humans involved in its production. So for a gift of chocolatey goodness that represents love in all forms – including love for the planet and its people – look no further than these admirable ethical chocolatiers.
Here at Peppermint HQ, we went into full mourning when Melbourne-based ethical chocolate brand Hey Tiger closed its doors back in 2021, and accordingly, we were elated to hear the do-good chocolatiers were back and delicious as ever! New owners Soulfresh remain committed to the mission that began Hey Tiger – creating killer chocolate that disrupts the chocolate industry by standing in solidarity with cacao farmers and donating 2% of every block sold to The Hunger Project. Now that’s sweet!
Tilda & Cacao
Can chocolate change the world? Tilda & Cacao’s sumptuous small-batch, stone-ground chocolate might just change your answer. Each plant-based, additive-free bar is hand-crafted with love in Gerringong, New South Wales, using ethically sourced raw and organic Criollo cacao and native Australian inclusions like Davidson plum, aniseed myrtle and finger lime. Tilda & Cacao believes in the power of everyday actions to make a difference, from a tasty chomp of chocolate to a brighter future for all.
Made by husband and wife team Maggie and Ming in regional Tamworth, New South Wales, Deva Cacao makes organic raw chocolate that is naturally sweetened with raw Australian bush honey – the first of its kind in Australia! Calling itself the “cleanest chocolate on the market”, Deva Cacao chocolate is free from dairy, gluten, soy, refined sugar and artificial colours, flavours and preservatives making it GAPS diet-friendly, celiac-friendly, keto-friendly and paleo. Truly a chocolate for everyone.
The distinctive colourful wrappers and chunky, uneven split of Tony’s Chocolonely’s chocolate bars may seem whimsical and wacky at first glance, but it’s actually designed to draw attention to social inequality and slavery within the chocolate industry – the very issue this proud B Corp-certified company set out to combat in the first place. Like a Lawfully Good Willy Wonka (that guy was Chaotic Neutral at best), Tony’s is crazy about chocolate and serious about people.
Loving Earth is a Melbourne-based company dedicated to sourcing the highest quality, organic, fair trade cacao, grown by the Ashaninka community of the Peruvian Amazon, the largest Indigenous community in Peru. Collaborating with Indigenous growers is core to Loving Earth’s philosophy. Its heirloom Amazonico Criollo Cacao beans are used to create plant-based, Certified Organic chocolate in indulgent flavours like Caramel Swayzee and Double Hazey that are sure to satisfy.
Based in Byron Bay, Chow Cacao is inspired by its hometown’s balmy, beachy vibes in everything from their fun, summery flavours – like Birthday Cookie Caramel and Golden Peanut Honeycomb – to their retro, 70s-esque packaging – which is printed with soy-ink and 100% recyclable. Its mouth-watering range of handcrafted chocolate is plant-based and gluten-free, made with fairly traded, organic cacao from Peru and organic coconut sugar from Indonesia. Groovy, baby!
Wellington Chocolate Factory
New Zealand’s first craft bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Wellington Chocolate Factory, is making life that much sweeter on its mission to create a better-tasting world. As lovers of delicious and authentic chocolate, they are committed to sustainability. This includes being 100% Fairtrade and organic certified, building direct connections and relationships with cocoa farmers, and using environmentally sustainable practices. Their Certified Organic, award-winning chocolate bars look almost too good to eat thanks to custom artwork on their packaging created by local artists.
With a focus on food sovereignty, transparent supply chains and, not to mention, damn delicious chocolate, we’re big fans of Living Koko. The Melbourne-based cacao lovers are a zero-waste, values-led organisation supporting Pacific Island communities with a distinct seed-to-community approach that develops sources of income to increase self-reliance and independence. Living Koko creates small-batch, bean-to-bar chocolate and bespoke cacao products, made of the richest beans from the Samoan Islands.
Bennetto Chocolate Bars are a treat to feel good about – organic, vegan, carbon neutral and made with simple ingredients. Take a single-origin bean sourced from Acopagro – a Fairtrade cooperative of 2000 small-scale farmers based in the Peruvian Amazon – and blend it with education opportunities for women and jungle reforestation. Then add carbon-neutral manufacturing and one tree planted per thousand bars sold and the result is Bennetto’s drool-worthy organic choccies – a recipe for fair trade success.
Allpress Espresso x Bahen & Co
Two great tastes that taste great together! Flavour obsessives Allpress Espresso and Bahen & Co have teamed up, combining Allpress’ signature espresso blend with Bahen & Co’s Hacienda Victoria cacao from Ecuador to produce a run of limited-edition artisanal chocolate that will jazz you up better than the finest of java. Hand-crafted in Margaret River, Western Australia, using stone ground cacao and twentieth-century machinery, these choice choccies – exclusively available in Australia – come in three special flavours.
Working in partnership with traditional farming communities in Central and South America, Pico sources the highest quality cacao beans, produced using centuries-old growing and picking techniques, which are then hand-crafted in Switzerland by master chocolatiers wielding the artisanally scientific techniques of their Schoggi-loving forefathers. The culmination of these diverse repositories of generational knowledge is anything but old-fashioned – dairy-free, sustainably produced, vegan, premium organic chocolate. Harnessing artisanal techniques, skills and passion, the brand’s Certified Organic chocolate is made with fairly and ethically sourced cocoa beans, a global Fairtrade collab worth munching on.
Jala Jala Treats is a proudly 100% Indigenous-owned business that specialises in making tasty treats utilising unique Australian flavours. Founder Sharon Brindley is a Yamatji/Noongar woman living on Bunurong/Boon Wurrung country and passionate about the native flavours of the Australian bush. Jala Jala means ‘very good’ in Wajarri, and the chocolates certainly fit the bill, balancing high-quality cocoa butter with vibrant flavours like Davidson plum, wattleseed and finger lime.
The founder of Alter Eco Australia, Ilse Keijzer, was born in the Netherlands, the birthplace of the Fairtrade movement and that shows in the brand’s commitment to full-circle sustainability. Certified Organic since day one, Alter Eco strives to go further pursuing the pilot program for Regenerative Organic Certification – working with its cacao partner, Acopagro Coop, to replant and conserve a portion of the Peruvian Amazon, practising dynamic agroforestry in their cacao cultivation. These brilliant beans are then sent to Switzerland where they are crafted by master Swiss chocolatiers into deep, dark smooth chocolate, lovingly wrapped in the world’s first compostable, non-toxic candy wrappers.
Pana Organic is all about creating food that is organic (natch), vegan and innovatively delicious. Its products are plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, Kosher and Coeliac Australia endorsed – leaving room for only the highest quality of responsibly sourced ingredients, meticulously listed in plant-based ink on the recyclable packaging. Carefully crafted, the crave-able chocolate is hand-made in the brand’s Melbourne kitchen or solar-powered factory. You can taste the love – for the Earth, for the process, and for their team – in every bite!
Kakadu Plum Co
Kakadu Plum Co is a social enterprise celebrating Indigenous culture and Australian native ingredients. Though not Indigenous-owned, the brand collaborates with many Indigenous enterprises, working directly with Traditional Owners and Indigenous Australians who wild harvest many of the ingredients. Its handcrafted, vegan chocolates are a “celebration of Australian bush food ingredients” blended with high-quality, single-origin cocoa beans for flavours like Pepperberry and Raspberry, Wattleseed and Almond and of course, Kakadu Plum, Lemon Myrtle and Macadamia. Plus, 33 cents from each bar sold is donated directly to The Plum Project to help support Indigenous bush food projects and employment opportunities.