Organic food trends are indicating that we are making smarter food
choices and eating healthy. Once the exclusive domain of health food
stores, foods such as organic produce, organic cereal, live culture
yogurt, and a plethora of other organic foods are now mainstream
Two of the hottest organic foods trends are in a couple of the world’s
favorite foods; chocolate and sugar.
With recent research surrounding the beneficial properties of dark
chocolate, in the last 10 years chocolate has moved from king of all
junk food to become a mandatory health food item, with organic
chocolate rapidly becoming one of the leading organic food trends.
Hundreds of new cocoa and chocolate companies have sprung up recently
in response to the growing demand for this rich, delicious delicacy.
The sweet and sinful art of chocolate-making, which used to belong
exclusively to German and Swiss chocolatiers, has blossomed in
companies rooted in environmentally friendly practices like rain forest
Cacao grows on cacao trees which grow in tropical climates, with about
70% of all cacao emanating from Africa, and the remainder from Central
and South America. Respectable producers respect Fair Trade conditions
and support practices that encourage social and ecological
The cocoa bean is bitter. Milk chocolate uses cocoa butter, full cream
milk and plenty of refined sugar to take the bitterness out. Dark
chocolate uses almost no cocoa butter, less milk and more of the bitter
cocoa powder to give it that rich, dark taste which is why darker
chocolate is considered better for you.
Unrefined sugar is another hot organic food trend. White sugar goes
through several stages of processing to reach its sparkling, white
crystalline state. Molasses and brown sugars undergo the least amount
of processing and have more of a nutty flavor and treacle-like
consistency. Along with the stickiness, sugar loses all of its
nutrition as it passes through its processing stages to full
refinement. Worse than that, refined sugar depletes our body of
resources like B vitamins and other nutrients which, in turn, induces
cravings for other foods.
Muscovado sugar, which is brown and soft, retains minerals and vitamins
natural to sugar cane. Beware of supermarket brand brown sugars that
are sometimes no better than white sugar and may contain coloring. Look
instead for organic unrefined sugar. Other types of healthy brown sugar
include Turbinado sugar and Demarara Sugar. Turbinado is good for dry
climates because it is in the form of dry crystals so it runs smooth
and doesn’t harden or pack. Demarara is also crystalline, but it
contains a rich molasses content which gives it a delicious, sweet,
nutty flavor. Both Demarara and Muscovado are hard to keep in dry
climates because they dry out quickly even when well wrapped and can
pack together to form a solid mass.
In order to preserve the soft, moist flavor in brown sugar, buy it in
small quantities and double wrap it by placing it in a zipped storage
bag and then putting the bag inside an airtight container. This extra
level of protection goes a long way towards preserving the original
flavor and texture. Then use it within a few months rather than let it
sit in storage for long periods of time.
It is good to see these organic food trends moving in a direction that
lets us reclassify food once considered junk food. Now we can begin
enjoy these sweet, natural indulgences without the guilt.