What's NOT in Our Chocolate
We’re doing the OPPOSITE of ALMOST EVERYTHING the mainstream candy industry does to chocolate. THAT’S US! Want to hear more?
We’re completely free from all major food allergens, as listed below. These allergens are not in our products, not used on the production lines, are not used in the factory and the factory is actively managed to prevent these allergens entering inadvertently. We believe this is the highest standard of any free-from production anywhere in the world. For any ingredients purchased from a 3rd party manufacturer (eg vanilla) the supplier guarantees (and we test) that the ingredient is completely free from any of these allergens:
- Tree Nuts
- Wheat & Gluten
- Fish & Crustaceans
- Corn: None of our products contain corn as an ingredient, but if you’re concerned about corn please note the following:
- The vegan white chocolate (bar and chips) and vegan No Milk chocolate (currently chips only) use a vanilla extract that is spray dried on organic maltodextrin that has been sourced from organic corn.
- The No Added Sugar Chocolate with stevia uses organic erythritrol that was derived from organic corn.
There is a bewildering array of synthetic pesticides, fungicides & herbicides that are allowed to be present in cocoa beans under USDA regulations. Yes, you read that right? Regular chocolate is highly likely to contain pesticides.
As well as pesticides that are allowed, there are still residual levels of now banned pesticides like DDT that remain in the soil because they break down so slowly, and various studies show there can be ongoing presence of these pesticides in cocoa beans in large growing regions in Africa. We don’t want beans with these pesticides anywhere near our chocolate!
Pascha Chocolate only uses certified organic cocoa beans and is sourced from growing regions that have not historically had this pesticide use. We test for the presence of these synthetic pesticides before accepting batches of cocoa beans as part of our organic certification – which gives us confidence that all Pascha Chocolate is completely free from all synthetic pesticides.
Various studies over the last decade have shown the presence of mycotoxins like Aflatoxin and Ochratoxin in chocolate – these are toxins produced from funghi that can be carcinogenic. The mycotoxin production is linked to farming practices - especially with damaged cocoa pods where mold toxins can accumulate. This can be avoided with good farming practices – separating infected pods and harvesting ripe pods at the right time.
At Pascha we test our chocolate for aflatoxins and Ochratoxins. The upper limit of aflatoxins is 10 ppb (parts per billion) and for Ochratoxins it is a max of 5 ppb.
Most chocolate is made with emulsifiers – compounds that act to help bind the fat and sugar within the chocolate so that viscosity can be maintained and the chocolate will flow well (and be easier to handle). The most widely used emulsifier is soy lecithin. Studies now show emulsifiers can be inflammatory and carcinogenic. But with chocolate we don’t actually have to use it – we can manage the viscosity of the chocolate by using extra cocoa butter, swapping a healthy fat for an inflammatory unnatural ingredient. At Pascha, we do not use any emulsifiers in our chocolate.
Pascha does not use Dutched cocoa in any product. All Pascha chocolate bars and baking chips are made from cocoa beans, not cocoa powder. Dutched cocoa powder has an added alkalising agent, added to lower the acidity which changes the flavor profile of the cocoa, making it less bitter, and darkens the color. But the processing of the powder with the alkalising agent reduces the flavanol content of the cocoa. Natural cocoa can typically have around 35 mg/g of flavanols, whereas heavily processed Dutched cocoa powders can be around 4 mg/g – significantly less flavanols.
Pascha is not and never will be raw chocolate. Several brands of raw chocolate or raw cocoa powder have appeared over the last few years, promising higher levels of flavanols due to lower temperature processing. At Pascha we want to use high flavanol cocoa beans which we can roast to a level we know to be safe from any lingering microbiological activity. Aside from making the cocoa beans safe, roasting also develops the flavor of the cocoa bean, just as in coffee. No raw chocolate for us!
Pascha does not and never will use anything that is remotely artificial. Our flavors and colorings are natural and come from the ingredients themselves. Our shelf life is dictated by the purity of ingredients and the chocolate making process.
Over the last decade, the chocolate industry has developed a reputation for using forced child labor in West African cocoa plantations, with children shipped across borders, sometimes knowingly by their families to work in large industrial sized plantations, living and working in terrible conditions. The process of harvesting cocoa pods is still a manual one of cutting the ripe pods from the trees, and the cheaper and faster this can be done the more money the plantation owner can make.
Pascha does not source from any farm that uses slave labor. All of our cocoa beans come from Peru in Latin America, where the social structure of the growing regions is completely different. In Latin America the farms are almost all small and family owned. If the cocoa farmer’s children work on the farm it is under the eye of the parent, helping out the family business. Pascha is also UTZ certified, (which is now Rainforest Alliance) and this means the farmers have to sign formal contracts committing to social standards, including no use of forced child labor.
Pascha cocoa beans come from shade-grown trees, grown on farms committed to high ecological standards that are required by their UTZ/Rainforest Alliance certification. There is an increasing problem in many cocoa growing regions from large scale deforestation, removing all tree cover to allow more cocoa trees to be planted with more direct sunlight exposure. In the short term the yields are good but without the shade and biodiversity of other tree types around soil, quality is depleted, there is more crop disease and cocoa bean quality suffers.
Pascha is committed to sound farming practices that preserve biodiversity, maintain cocoa bean quality and looks after the cocoa growing regions we source from in a sustainable way.