A Chocolate Guide for February
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A Chocolate Guide for February

Posted on Friday, February 1st, 2013 at 10:39 am
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February is that time of year where we get to show some extra appreciation for that special someone in our lives. Whether we’re handing out Valentine’s Day cards, having flowers delivered, or buying a small trinket, the holiday is all about cherishing our loved ones. Few items are as synonymous with this holiday of love then chocolates. Receiving that heart-shaped box of truffles makes our taste buds salivate with excitement.

Chocolate is made with cocoa beans, which come from tropical climates all around the world. As a result, the cocoa harvest happens throughout the year depending on the country. Luckily, several countries are harvesting and processing cocoa beans in the month of February. This is especially good news if you’re looking to buy some organic chocolate. Candy makers and chocolatiers committed to delivering delicious, organic chocolates will have an abundance of fresh cocoa beans to make their delicious confections!

Countries harvesting their main crop during the month of February include: Brazil, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Ghana, Jamaica, Liberia, Mexico, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Togo, and Trinidad. All of these countries have another harvest that happens around the middle of the year. Cocoa beans from different regions will have a different flavor. If you’re curious, look for chocolates made with specific cocoa beans for an international chocolate experience.

When purchasing chocolates, you also need to decide if you’ll be buying Fair Trade Certified products. Several organizations certify cocoa farms as “Fair Trade.” This means that the farmers adhere to specific guidelines that ensure the cocoa is farmed and harvested in a sustainable way. It also makes sure that employees are paid fair wages and work in humane conditions. Buying Fair Trade Certified chocolates not only benefits the farms who are putting forth the effort to farm responsibly, but it’s also encouraging the fair treatment of all workers from any social class. If environmental causes are important to your loved one, be sure to pick up some Fair Trade chocolates to show you really care.

Here are some great natural chocolate brands to consider:

Alter Eco

Bissinger’s

Endangered Species Chocolate

Lake Champlain

Sunspire

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.