For chocolate that is rich and aromatic, with that clean snap that promises a perfect bite, opt for Krakakoa bars.
Each Krakakoa bar is a labour of love crafted from organically grown cacao beans that are carefully tended, harvested, fermented up to seven days, air-dried and roasted for a wholesome chocolatey punch.
Working with more than 1,000 farmers who live in the periphery of national parks in Lampung, Sumatra and in West Sulawesi, going pesticide-free helps maintain the delicate balance of local ecosystems necessary to sustain these communities in the long term.
The brand also trains farmers in organic farming techniques, crop disease management, fermentation and conservation to ensure production standards.
In 2017, the company’s single origin Saludengen and Sendayu varieties – named after the villages that produce the beans that go into each bar – garnered silver and bronze medals at the Academy of Chocolate Golden Bean Awards.
Krakakoa purchases beans directly from small farmers for above the Fairtrade Minimum Price. This not only provides cacao farmers price security, but also an incentive to improve the quality of their product.
Krakakoa’s chocolates also include milk and dark varieties, as well as bars spiced with cinnamon, chilli and ginger.
Not all rice is created equal. Case in point: The heirloom rice sold by Langit Collective, grown from paddy seeds passed down from one generation to the next, are more flavourful and nutritionally dense than your usual supermarket varieties.
The rice is sourced from the highlands of East Malaysia where refreshing montane air, crystal clear streams and unpolluted soil contribute to the extraordinary fragrance and texture.
Grown by highland communities like Sarawak’s Lun Bawang, the delicious grains include Beras Sia, a nutty and fluffy ruby variety, purple-hued Beras Keladi with its pandan-like fragrance, and the inky Beras Rumie, which has a sticky, almost glutinous consistency when cooked.
These heirloom rice varieties are produced from a single annual harvest, allowing the paddy fields sufficient fallow time to regenerate.
While the fields lay fallow, water buffalo wade and graze in them, turning the soil and fertilising it with their microbe-rich manure.
Working with 69 farming partners across the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, Langit Collective is committed to promoting sustainable, chemical-free farming and the preservation of local agricultural traditions.
Muser Coffee Hill
Pulling an all-nighter and need a jolt of caffeine to keep you going? Try shade-grown Arabica coffee, a pick-me-up that benefits the environment and the community that produces it.
The beans are grown by Muser Coffee Hill, a social enterprise and AirAsia Foundation grantee that promotes the cultivation of shade-grown crops high in the hills of northern Thailand’s Doi Muser.
Once home to opium fields, large swathes of Doi Muser, located near the border with Myanmar, were turned to corn cultivation more than 40 years ago to eradicate the narcotic.
However, mono-cropping resulted in soil deterioration and biodiversity loss, bringing about crop failures and price fluctuations which badly impacted the region’s hill tribe farmers.
Seeking an alternative to corn, some farmers began planting shade-grown coffee. In 2008, Muser Coffee Hill stepped in to help these smallholders create a sustainable income by purchasing and processing the beans for sale.
Cultivated under a canopy of shady trees, shade-grown coffee promotes an ecologically diverse environment by taking advantage of the many types of trees that offer protective cover.
Shady fruit trees are particularly useful as they encourage birdlife. And with birds to feed on the pests that are attracted to the coffee plants, the crop can enjoy healthy growth minus pesticides.
Besides earning a stable income from coffee beans that are sold to Muser Coffee Hill at fairtrade prices, Doi Muser’s farmers continue to play an important role in forest rehabilitation by replanting native tree varieties to provide shade for their coffee plants.
You can also enjoy the flavours of Doi Muser’s crop in Santan’s Asean Blend Drip Coffee, an aromatic mix made with beans sourced from Laos, Vietnam and Muser Coffee Hill.
The next time you reach for sugar to sweeten a beverage, make that spoonful count as your choice could help sustain a community of small scale farmers in the Philippines.
Although coconuts are big business in the country – the world’s second-largest producer of coconuts – smallholder farmers are often affected by price fluctuations.
Enter Cocoro, a social enterprise that “believes in doing things right” with a fair trade policy that improves the livelihoods of farmers while providing consumers with products they can trust.
When it comes to producing sugar, Cocoro guides its partner farmers to implement better quality controls and manufacturing practices while continuously looking for ways to improve sustainability.
To make coco sugar, the sap of the coconut flower blossom is tapped, filtered and then heated until the liquid evaporates, leaving behind sugar clumps that are broken with a paddle into granules.
Cocoro’s organic coconut sugar is unbleached and does not contain any other ingredient apart from the coconut sugar crystals that form after the sap is heated.
Products include Cocoro Dark Caramel, a mildly sweet brown sugar with caramel overtones, and the delicate Cocoro Ivory, which complements desserts.
While as sweet as regular sugar, coconut sugar contains inulin, a soluble fibre rich in zinc, iron, calcium and potassium, and is a low glycaemic alternative for the health conscious.
Who needs 11 secret herbs and spices when just seven can transform your cooking from bland to amazing?
When concocting the organic spice blend for Bario Asal 7 Herbs & Spices, the brand’s founders included indigenous ingredients like white chilli, jerangau (sweet flag) and Bario salt.
This unusual combination of herbs and spices, grown in the Kelabit Highlands of Sarawak in East Malaysia, works especially well with meat and seafood – a dash or two is all you need to season your food.
Best of all, the herbs and spices used in the blend are grown organically or through traditional farming methods free of synthetic chemicals.
At close to 1,100 metres above sea level, the Kelabit Highlands is home to one of the last remaining highland rainforests in the world.
Within this mountainous region is Bario Asal, the original settlement of the Kelabit indigenous people. The local community continues to practise ancient wisdom in their farming, with produce still grown naturally, without the aid of heavy machinery.
The Bario Asal brand spotlights products cultivated by Kelabit indigenous farmers in the highlands.
These include Bario white rice grown in paddies fed by mountain streams, mineral-rich traditional packed salt derived from natural salt springs and stingless bee honey.
Every purchase of a Bario Asal product provides locals the opportunity to earn a living from traditional farming and, in turn, protects the agricultural biodiversity of the Kelabit Highlands.
According to airasia.com