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08th Mar 2020

This sustainable chocolate range from Cork just won a major food award

We’re sure that somewhere out there scientists are beavering away creating a new type of chocolate that helps you loose weight.

Until that blessed day arrives, we’ll have to content ourselves by making our treats as guilt free as possible in other ways. Enter Exploding Tree chocolates from Cork, which this week won a food award for its sustainable stance.

Exploding Tree chocolates are made with 100 percent fair-trade cocoa beans from Ghana and using coconut sugar as a natural sweetener. Based in Clonakilty, the company continues its ‘honest, ethics business’ ethos right through every stage of the process. It only makes small batches of products which are wrapped by hand before being only in community-minded local shops and wholefood stores.

Exploding Tree – headed up by Allison Roberts – also does its best to keep its carbon footprint down: both the business and family behind it choose not to have a car, so all their deliveries are made by bicycle or post.

Coupled with this, the brand made the switch buying only 100 percent biodegradable, low-carbon and sustainably manufactured packaging. And they did it a decade before the current vogue for sustainability began.

That’s no mean feat for a small company, and a move that was quite rightly honoured by the Irish Food Writers Guild which this week awarded its 2020 Environmental Award to Exploding Tree.

“In addition to taste, quality and continually achieving standards of excellence, sustainability is a crucial determinant when it comes to nominating and voting for our winners,” said Guild chair Kristin Jensen. “And while the issue of sustainability has only really dominated the headlines in recent years, it has always been an integral part of our awards process. Over the course of the IFWG Awards’ 26-year history, we have consistently looked to reward those operating sustainable businesses, so this is not just a passing trend.”

Exploding Tree offers a selection of bars and truffles, as well as three- and six-month chocolate lovers’ subscriptions that we reckon would make the perfect Mother’s Day gift.

The complete list of winners of the 2020 Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards is:

  • Food Award: Frank Hederman for Hederman Hot Smoked Irish Salmon, Co Cork
  • Food Award: Shine’s Seafood for Shine’s Wild Irish Tuna, Co Donegal
  • Food Award: Inch House Traditional Black Pudding, Co Tipperary
  • Irish Drink Award: Teeling Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, Co Dublin
  • Outstanding Contribution to Irish Food Award: Joyce Timmins, Co Dublin
  • Environmental Award: Exploding Tree (Chocolate), Co Cork
  • Community Food Award: Falling Fruit Ireland (fruit harvesting), Co Dublin
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Jeffa Gill (cheesemaker), Co Cork

Photography by Paul Sherwood