Posts in Classes & Events
Ethereal Travels- Accra, Ghana

Michael is traveling through Ghana, searching for high quality, sustainable beans grown by great people! Read through below to see the start of his sourcing adventure!

We woke up to a beautiful view in Accra with a rising sun and the close heat that let us know it would be a warm day. This is the dry season but they said the rains are coming earlier every year now as the climate changes. It’s high 90 with a chance of rain every day.

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Accra is a quick moving capital full of ongoing construction and embassy areas.  But we weren’t staying for long! The day’s destination was Suhum, about an hour drive away from Accra, with our new friends a ABOCFA.

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We met with Stephen, the GM of ABOCFA, and the board elected from the set farmers to run the COOP.

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ABOCFA is made up of about 700 member farmers and was organized about 10 years ago around a principal of being the FIRST IN AFRICA organization to be certified both organic and fair-trade in cocoa.

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In addition, they regularly monitor to assure no slave and child labor is being used. There should be a distinction made about child labor—if it’s a family farm and the children work as part of their family chores, and not denied access to school in order to work, it’s fine. I grew up working on a farm. As long as the right clothing and equipment is used and the tasks are appropriate for the child’s size and abilities, there’s no problem.

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Frankly, this is one of the reasons that I was hesitant to buy cacao from West Africa—assuring labor conditions for children. Through working with ABOCFA, we can understand their philosophy and how they are working with farmers to promote only practices that are good for these communities and the earth.

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To start our inaugural meeting, we shared coconuts cut that morning, light sweet water and soft coconut flesh. Later, we had bananas that tasted like cloves and cardamom. 

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I brought some of our Ecuador bars, which the farmers enjoyed! They usually don’t like dark chocolate because they usually only have high sugar chocolate, when they were able to have it. As a former British colony, most people speak English, more or less, in addition to a variety of local languages (Twi is most common around Suhum). We still need an interpretation often, but everyone is very friendly and patient with us.

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After talking about price and quantities that would be possible to export (more on export details later!), we had to head to see the Chief of the hamlets included in ABOCFA in order to ask for permission to visit farms. I’ll cover that in the next update! 

Groundhog Day

Ok campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties cause its cold out there! We're opening early on Groundhog Day, 6 AM, so everyone can get coffee before prognostication. (And if you're really feeling the spirit of the day, pick up some dark chocolate groundhogs or a hand-felted groundhog!)

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Music & Free Hot Chocolate!

One of America's most beloved pianist/composers and Steinway Artist Robin Spielberg spreads holiday cheer on the Woodstock Opera House stage at Spirit of the Holidays Sing-along on Wednesday, December 12! The Woodstock High School Madrigal singers, directed by Brian Jozwiak, join Robin on stage as they perform Christmas carols and winter favorites. Before the concert, get a free hot chocolate at Ethereal Confections starting at 6:00 PM (first 100 cups) then join the WHS Madrigals outside the Woodstock Opera House steps at 6:50 PM for a special pre-show performance!

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Enchanted Ethereal

The Wizarding World of Woodstock is coming up and we are transforming the place with enchanted candies, confections and concoctions! We will have Exploding Bonbons (chocolate truffles rolled in Pop Rocks), Snitch Truffles (Salted Karma Truffle rolled in cocoa powder), Bertie Bott's Beans, Jelly Slugs, Chocolate Frogs and...

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Butterbeer! We will be selling non-alcoholic Butterbeer outside the shop under a tent. It's a magical potion! The recipe can only be found in a rare book from the restricted section of the library!

We will also serve a boozy version in the cafe that has a shot of beer barrel bourbon. (Bourbon that is aged in barrels that New Holland Brewing's Dragon's Milk Stout has been aged in)

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National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month! The Atrocious Poets are hosting a citywide event throughout the month of April called One City, One Poet. We are participating with custom coffee and cocktail drinks, poetry to-go on our cup sleeves, and special poetry events.  

 

The Honey & Salt Latte is flavored with delicious salted honey caramel.

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Honey and Salt by Carl Sandburg

There are sanctuaries
holding honey and salt.
There are those who 
spill and spend.
There are those who
search and save.
And love may be a quest
with silence and content.
 

The Smoke & Steel Cocktail features a lavender gin, house-made smoked bitter grapefruit liqueur, white vermouth and garnished with a brûléed candied orange peel. 

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Smoke and Steel by Carl Sandburg

Smoke of the fields in spring is one,
Smoke of the leaves in autumn another.
Smoke of a steel-mill roof or a battleship funnel,
They all go up in a line with a smokestack,
Or they twist … in the slow twist … of the wind.
 

Poetry by Carl Sandburg line the sleeves of each drink in April, energizing your mind with more than just caffeine... Five different poems were printed, think you can collect them all?

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We partnered with Atrocious Poets for a poetry-writing workshop led by Mojdeh Stoakley, Director of the National Poetry Slam, and Education Director for Poets with Class through the Poetry Center of Chicago. It was an inspiring night for all! 

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Pure Imagination

As Willy Wonka said, "The suspense is terrible. I hope it'll last." 1 out of 5 golden tickets have been found! Will you be the one to find one of the remaining tickets? Come in and purchase a chocolate bar (or 10) anytime in April and you may be a lucky recipient!

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Ownership of a coveted golden ticket gets you behind-the-scenes access to our new location opening this fall. We, the Ethereal owners, will conduct you around the factory ourselves, showing you everything that there is to see, and afterward, you will enjoy Willy Wonka themed drinks and snacks and have a screening of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Afterward, when it is time to leave, you will be presented with lots of chocolate!

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We are preparing other surprises that are even more marvelous and even more fantastic for you and for all our beloved Golden Ticket holders - mystic and marvelous surprises that will entice, delight, intrigue, astonish and perplex you beyond measure. In your wildest dreams, you could not imagine such things could happen to you! Just wait and see!

"Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted... He lived happily ever after." -Willy Wonka