Claudio Corallo has 40 years of experience producing coffee and chocolate in Africa, working first in Zaire (today the Democratic Republic of Congo) and since the 1990s in São Tomé and Príncipe, a tiny archipelago off the coast of Guinea in West Africa. When he started out, his greatest challenge was removing the characteristic bitterness of the variety of beans grown on his plantation. Today, he sells his dark chocolate to gourmet buyers in Europe, the United States and Japan.
The systemically low prices in cocoa have drastic consequences for farmers and their families. More than 2 million children in the Ivory Coast and Ghana are being deprived of their childhoods, either working in extremely hazardous conditions or working in lieu of going to school, so that we can get our chocolate fix.
Much has been written in response to the Mast Brothers scandal (or what our team refers to as "Mast-gate"). Nearly every perspective, rebuttal, or defense has been shared, so much so that I debated whether to publish this post, concerned I'd be adding to the noise. But there's one perspective that's missing and it's that of a (fellow?) chocolate maker.