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