Madecasse Chocolate: Deliciously Ethical from Madagascar


I don’t really consider chocolate an indulgence- more like a part of my daily diet (I’m so not kidding about that!). And that means I eat a lot of chocolate; probably about a bar a week. And seeing that I enjoy it so much I def look for high quality, Fair Trade and organic brands only. After all, as much as I love chocolate, it’s NOT a necessity for life!

I choose ethical brands because the conventional ones (Hershey’s, I’m looking at YOU!) not only tend to use lower-quality cocoa that tastes terrible, but doesn’t pay farmers fair wages and might even be involved in taking advantage of child labor and/or environmental degradation from the cocoa farming. That ain’t sweet and I won’t contribute to it!

A cocoa farmer in Madagascar (that’s a cocoa fruit he’s eating, the flesh is delicious, and the seeds are what cocoa is made from).

Madecasse chocolate is one of the best chocolates I’ve tried, flavor-wise, so much so that I quickly devoured the samples the company sent me and bought some more at the market! Creamy and rich, without any waxiness (many inexpensive chocolates use cheap fats and oils to create a creamy mouth-feel, but it’s just fat, not real flavor; Lindt, I’m looking at YOU here!). Truly, one of my top 3 fave chocolates, Madecasse is now on regular rotation in my household.

Madecasse is made from the best ingredients, and simplicity is key; the 80% cocoa bar contains just cocoa, sugar, and cocoa butter. Contrast that with Lindt, who add barley malt powder, palm kernel oil, caramel flavoring, and a bunch of other junk in their darkest chocolate.

The sea salt and nibs bar is hands-down the best I’ve had of that variety (Knipschildt, who is based in my current hometown in Connecticut makes a great one too).

Vanilla is an important ingredient in most chocolate; these women are sorting and drying vanilla bean pods.

The company was started by three Peace Corps volunteers, Brett, Tim and Joe, who worked in Madagascar, and not only is it Fair Trade, but Joe told me, “we make the entire bar there, from training and empowering farmers to tying the raffia tie on the packaging.”

All the chocolates are available in the company’s web store, and I have found them in NYC at Whole Foods and Westside Markets. Outside NYC, check here for a store close to you that carries Madecasse; it’s worth it!

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.