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Exclusive Truffles at River Market

Deep, dark smooth chocolate sourced from Ecuador and Peru surrounds these sumptuous bite-sized truffle delights. Pure organic coconut oil sourced from India combined with milk and cacao creates the silky-smooth, melty filling.  Only available at community-owned food co-ops, this exclusive 8-pack of Swiss-made, organic, fair trade truffles from Alter Eco launches with two new flavors, Salted Caramel and Sea Salt, to accompany their wildly-addictive Black and Velvet Truffles. These co-op-exclusive truffle assortments are available for a limited time at food co-ops around the country, and are making their debut just in time for Co-op Month.

Berto Zambrano from Fortaleza,Peru for truffle articleFounded in 2005, Fortaleza del Valle Cooperative is the source for the rich, fruity cacao used in Alter Eco’s Black, Sea Salt and Salted Caramel Truffles.  Located in Calceta, Ecuador, this cooperative of small-scale cacao farmers has been working to improve their farming techniques in order to enhance quality and expand market opportunities. The fair trade premium has enabled the cooperative to invest in infrastructure, processing equipment and pre-harvest financingfor the 630 members.  Through crop biodiversity, the farmers are now able to include the plantation of cacao, banana, coconut and timber in their fields, using this diversification to catalyze their business.

Nestled along the river Huayabamba at the edge of the Peruvian Amazon, the farmers of the cacao found in Alter Eco’s Velvet Truffle survey a landscape that’s entirely different than it was 15 years ago.  In 1994, a United Nations program made it possible for these farmers to begin replacing their illegal coca crops (used to make cocaine) with cocoa, releasing them from an oppressive, volatile and often dangerous relationship with drug traffickers.  Located in the San Martín region of Peru, the ACOPAGRO CacaoCooperative has over 2,100 members of small-scale cacao farmers.  The fair trade premium has allowed ACOPAGRO to invest in a new office and warehouse facility, equipment and quality trainings for its members, and social programs such as access to medical services like dental and eye care.

Coconut oil is the perfect complement to antioxidant-rich dark chocolate. Besides the many health benefits, coconut oil is a sustainable alternative to the palm kernel oil often used in traditional truffles. Alter Eco sources its coconut oil from Fair Trade Alliance Kerala, on India’s Malabar Coast. Founded in 2005 Kerala has more than 3,500 members. This farmer-owned co-op practices jaiva krishi, a sustainable farming method that mimics virgin rainforest.  FTAK farmers grow a host of tropical products such as cashews, coconut palms, coffee, cocoa, pepper, nutmeg, vanilla and other spices on their small plots. The mixed-crop plantations play an important role in preserving local biodiversity and, at the same time, safeguarding the food security of the farming members.

Alter Eco has taken their commitment to sustainability one step further with these truffles by introducing new eco-friendly packaging.  Alter Eco has developed a groundbreaking wrapper — printed with non-toxic compostable ink — that will decompose in yard waste and at-home compost bins. “Alter Eco’s goal is to provide consumers with a decadently delicious taste experience, while never compromising our own values,” said Edouard Rollet, Co-Founder and President of Alter Eco. “With these truffles, we’ve taken goodness to a whole new level.”

Look for these delicious truffles in October at River Market. You can learn more about cooperatives at www.strongertogether.coop, and find out about Alter Eco at www.alterecofoods.com.