Oikocredit Director Sharlene Brown reflects on the Kuapa Farmer Tour and shares her Divine Infused Cheesecake recipe. Sharlene joined Divine staff in a two week trip with Kuapa Kokoo farmers Christiana Adusei and Afriyie Boateng to help share the Divine story.

Several weeks ago, I met Afriye Boateng and Christina Aduesi from Kuapa Kokoo farmers’ cooperative in Ghana. They gave me my first education in chocolate. Like most consumers, I’ve spent years enjoying the decadent smooth melt-in-your -mouth goodness of chocolate but had never given much thought to the source of cocoa. In 2008, I heard the Divine story for the first time and thought it was brilliant that a Ghanaian farmers’ cooperative would have ownership stake in the company producing the chocolate bars for the consumer market. Producers like Afriye and Christian who grow crops like cocoa rarely get to benefit from the value of the final product, the chocolate bar in this case, especially in large multi-billion dollar industries like the chocolate.

 While Afriye and Christiana toured across the US meeting with consumers who purchased Divine and engaging with investors who support Oikocredit and its investment in Kuapa Kokoo and Divine, I gathered a ton of knowledge on the partially liberalized cocoa market in Ghana, the role of government in the cocoa trade, and the importance Divine places on traceability of the cacao used to make its chocolate bars. I was impressed with that every single bag of cocoa could be traced back to the particular farm from which it came and that Divine’s White Chocolate with Strawberries was made from 100% cocoa. In New York, I sampled the White Chocolate with Strawberries and fell in love. I’ve never had white chocolate that melts so easily on the touch and has such a smooth taste. I shared a bar with one of my oldest friends and she was converted to a Divine supporter. In Seattle, Washington I sampled the White Chocolate with Strawberries matched with a glass of Champaign and found my relationship with this Divine chocolate bar only deepened.

  

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Jim Carroll

Sharlene requesting more white chocolate!!

I then began wondering if the white chocolate could be used in cheesecake. I modified a recipe obtained from a woman named Nour, who I met in Jordan some years ago and the result was this:

Sharlene2

It came out pretty good. I’d recommend using 3 or 4 bars so the white chocolate comes through strongly.

Making Divine Infused Cheesecake based on Nour’s Recipe:

Ingredients:

·         4 cream cheese (light)
·         4 eggs
·         1 ½ tsp. vanilla
·         1 ½ cup sugar
·         1 stick butter, melted
·         ¼ of a box of Graham crackers crushed
·         3 to 4 bars of Divine’s White Chocolate with Strawberries
 

Preparation

·         In a food processor or similar device, breakdown Divine bars until you small pieces  (used my Magic Bullet)
·         Put cheese in bowl
·         Add sugar and mix (used hand mixer here)
·         Add eggs one at time and mix slowly to avoid bubbles
·         Add vanilla
·         Slowly fold in tiny Divine pieces (save about 1/8 to sprinkle on top after baking)
·         In a separate bowl, add crushed biscuits and add melted butter and mix well until biscuits are moist
In a cheese cake oven tray, place biscuit mixture and press down with spoon to make a smooth surface. Add cream cheese mixture infused with Divine chocolate on top of biscuit mixture
 

Baking Instructions and Final Steps:

·         Place in oven and bake for 40 – 45 minutes at 350 degrees F. Use a toothpick to test; it should be fairly clean. A little moisture is ok.
·         When done, let cool.
·         Slice fresh strawberries and sprinkle remaining bits of Divine’s White Chocolate with Strawberries
·         Share with friends and family!