This Halloween, these cocoa producers hope you’ll go Fair Trade!

It’s the time of year that all chocolate lovers eagerly anticipate: Halloween is just around the corner, and since Halloween is one of our favourite holidays, we here at FTOÉ are eagerly counting down the days until the 31st!

If you’d like to support the Fair Trade cause this year and hand out Fair Trade goodies to the trick-or-treaters that come knocking on your door, where better to look than Ottawa’s very own Camino? Camino works directly with family farmers in 9 countries and strives to maintain and uphold Fair Trade practices, and ensure that all their products are made from Fair Trade ingredients.

Fair Trade Certified companies’ dedication and commitment to the family farmers they personally interact with ensures fairness in the cocoa supply chain. This means that farmers involved in cocoa production are treated with the respect they deserve.

Isidoro de la Rosa, Executive Director of the CONACADO cocoa cooperative

Many co-operatives across the globe are Fair Trade Certified. One such co-op is CONACADO (Confederación Nacional de Cacaocultores Dominicanos) in the Dominican Republic. CONACADO was founded in 1988 and consists of family farmers that make up a quarter of all cocoa farmers in the Dominican Republic. Camino began their collaboration with CONACADO in 2003 and it continues to this day.

Isidoro de la Rosa, Executive Director of CONACADO cocoa cooperative, knows the importance of the support provided by Fair Trade buyers like Camino. “In our country there was no tradition of fermenting cocoa,” he says. “With Fair Trade income we were able to implement a fermentation program to improve the quality of our cocoa and to convert our production to certified organic. This improved our position in the export market. The Fair Trade market is a very important market for the survival of our associates.”

Fair trade practices make it possible for co-ops like CONACADO to work towards their vision of achieving a “technologically developed cocoa farming sector with internationally renowned high quality cocoa products produced by men and women that have reached an adequate living standard.”

These efforts also help CONACADO work towards their mission, which is to ensure better income and an adequate standard of living for cocoa producers “by supporting a sustainable approach to property management, the improvement of product quality, efficient harvest marketing and by strengthening business and organizational practices and community development.”

With a wide variety of delicious chocolate bars (available in snack sizes – perfect for trick-or-treaters!) and chocolate-covered goodies, we are certain there’s something for everyone. FTOÉ is offering a discount on Halloween-sized Camino treats (while supplies last), but Camino’s products are also sold at several locations across Ottawa (such as Ten Thousand Villages, Market Organics and Rainbow Foods) as well as online.

Our very own Director of Events, Lia, even came up with a scrumptious chocolate cupcake recipe using Camino’s Fair Trade cocoa that we’re sure will be a hit at your upcoming Halloween party!

So, when deciding what to fill your trick-or-treat goody bags with and what to serve your guests this year, why not go Fair Trade?

Happy Halloween!


By Abeer Sami

Featured recipe: Vegan chocolate cupcakes with buttercream

DSC06858We consume more chocolate around Halloween than during any other time of the year. That’s why FTOÉ spends so much time promoting Fair Trade options leading up to Halloween.

The added perk is that Fair Trade chocolate is even more delicious than conventional chocolate, and this recipe proves it. It’s also really adaptable for your Halloween needs: you can decorate these cupcakes with skull sprinkles or spiders, orange frosting or black. And what better way to get the kids involved than getting a little help with decorating?

This recipe is great for those who have sensitivities to dairy, eggs and nuts, as it’s 100% vegan and nut-free. These cupcakes are also 100% light, fluffy and delicious! Let us know how you made these your own in the comments, and Happy Halloween!


Vegan chocolate cupcakes with buttercream

[Vegan, nut-free]

Makes 12 standard cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

1 cup Fair Trade turbinado sugar [1]
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Fair Trade salt
1/4 cup Camino natural cocoa powder
1 cup tap water
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (Fair Trade, if possible) [2]


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Mix together sugar, flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder (sifted, if lumpy). In a small bowl, whisk together all of the liquid ingredients, then beat them into the flour mixture. Beat by hand until there are no lumps left.

Line 12 muffin pans with liners and divide the batter evenly among them. The cups should be about 3/4 full. Bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched with a finger. Let cool completely before frosting.


For the buttercream:

1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup vegan margarine (such as Earth Balance)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (Fair Trade, if possible) [2]
Food colouring, if desired
1-1/2 cups Fair Trade powdered sugar [3]


With an electric mixer, beat the shortening and margarine until it’s looking light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat one minute longer, scraping down the sides of the bowl twice. If you’re using food colouring, you should also add it at this point. Beat in the powdered sugar on low speed until combined. Then, on medium speed, beat the icing until the colour is very light and the icing looks like it has a whipped consistency. Gel food colouring can be adjusted at this point, but once the icing is whipped, liquid food colouring could make it “collapse” (the air could be deflated), leaving you with a very thin, dense icing. Proceed with caution!

Once your icing is ready, use it right away. You can spread it onto the cupcakes, or if you prefer, use a very large star tip and piping bag to pipe the icing onto the top for very professional-looking results! (Here is a link to a tutorial, if you’re not familiar with this method.)

Decorate your cupcakes and serve! Will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Past that point, it is best to refrigerate them.



[1] Wholesome Sweeteners and Camino are both Fair trade and Organic certified, and widely-available in Ottawa. Check your grocery’s organic aisle, or consult our Fair Trade Finder to see which small businesses near you carry these products.

[2] Fair Trade vanilla extract is not easily available in Ottawa anymore, but you can try Market Organics on York Street. They have carried Fair Trade vanilla in the past (the brand was discontinued) and might have been able to source a new type.

[3] The only Fair Trade powdered (icing/confectioner’s) sugar that FTOÉ knows of that is available in Ottawa is Wholesome Sweeteners. You can purchase this at most small specialty food stores such as Herb and Spice shop, Market Organics, Kardish and Rainbow Food.


Les produits vedettes de FTOÉ: Puffed rice & quinoa milk chocolate (Camino)

Chocolat au riz et au quinoa soufflés (Camino)


Je n’aurais pas du, mais je n’ai pas pu m’empêcher… J’ai commandé une boîte contenant 20 de ces barres de chocolat et en une semaine, il ne me restait plus que la moitié! Il faut dire que ce chocolat est d’une qualité supérieure et le riz et le quinoa donne du corps à cette petite traite.

– Julie B.

Puffed rice & quinoa milk chocolate (Camino)


I shouldn’t have, but I did. I ordered a box of 20 of these chocolate bars and after a week, I’m already through half of it! I must say these delicious treats are made with some quality chocolate. The puffed rice and quinoa are a good addition and add a little substance to the mix!

– Julie B.