Organic Dark Chocolates
If you have a vice, you might as well indulge it responsibly. Shaman Chocolates' profits propagate Huichol communities and culture. Descendents of the Aztec, the Huichol population is approximately 18,000. They reside in the sierra of Jalisco and Nayarit, and their traditions persist despite the encroachment that ensued with the arrival of the conquistadors. Huichol ceremonies use peyote, and the people are known for vivid depictions of themes from nature utilizing beads and yarn. Shaman Chocolates—founded in 2002—offers non-Huichols an opportunity to enjoy the people's sacred food, cocoa being frequently used as an offering to the Earth.
Shaman Chocolates is not the first initiative for the Huichol organized by Brant Secunda. This adopted shaman facilitated the return of the Huichol to the Sierra Madres in the early 1990s, allowing the maintenance of their culture and crafts. His 'Dance of the Deer' foundation acquired the trucks and boats for the move, and provided the bricks and mortars for a school.
The bricks of chocolate come wrapped in attractive packaging, featuring photographs of Huichol individuals in colorful traditional attire. My favorite was the dark chocolate with raspberries, but the more innovative combinations—for example, the milk chocolate with Hawaiian pink sea salt and macadamia nuts—are also enticing. I've yet to experience the green tea and ginger varieties. Seeing that Shaman Chocolates allow me to consume with a conscience, it's clearly time to stock up on these Huichol sweets.