That's a wrap! Chocolate for Congo has ended for 2017. We're still working on tallying how much we raised. Stay tuned!

4th Annual Chocolate for Congo Benefit Returns This February

12 Portland restaurants and bakeries to feature chocolate desserts all month to benefit Eastern Congo Initiative

This February you don't have to wait until Valentine's Day to spread the love. There's an amazing event taking place all month called Chocolate for Congo with the aim of cultivating a brighter future for eastern Congo.  To help, all you have to do is indulge in chocolate!  All month long, twelve Portland restaurants and bakeries will be serving up chocolate desserts made with Theo Chocolate. One dollar from the sale of each dessert will go to Eastern Congo Initiative, a non-profit working on grant-making and advocacy with and for the people of eastern Congo.

Participating restaurants and bakeries are Baker & Spice, Bar Avignon, Clyde Common, Coquine, Irving Street Kitchen, Le Pigeon, Little Bird Bistro, Ox, Pie Spot, SE Wine Collective, SuperBite, and Tusk.  Althea Potter at SE Wine Collective will be making a Half-baked Chocolate Chip Cookie with Caramel-Sea Salt Ice Cream.  SuperBite will be serving a Bittersweet Chocolate Tarte with Peanut Caramel, Pretzel Crust and Malted Banana Anglaise.  Helena Root at Irving Street Kitchen has created a Grilled Chocolate Olive Oil Poundcake with Chocolate Fennel Chèvre Ice Cream. Nora Antene at Tusk has created a Chocolate Pistachio Pudding.  There are so many other chocolate desserts to indulge in as well at the other restaurants and bakeries.  You have a whole month; see how many you can get to!

This year marks the 4th annual Chocolate for Congo.  Theo Chocolate, based in Seattle, has generously donated the chocolate for the event.  As of this past year, they were sourcing 70% of their chocolate from the eastern area of the Democratic Republic of Congo, an area that has been ravaged by war for over two decades. With the support of export partner Esco Kivu, Theo has successfully trained over 3,400 Congolese farmers to grow high quality cocoa, providing a way for farmers to earn a reliable source of income and reinvest in their communities. Crops such as cacao and coffee are considered "militia proof" due to the face that its true value isn't realized until it is processed. 

Chocolate for Congo is the brainchild of Lauren Fortgang who is the former pastry chef at Le Pigeon and Little Bird Bistro.  The event is organized by the local group Never Again Coalition which works on genocide and mass atrocity awareness and advocacy for Sudan, South Sudan and the DR Congo.  

From Theo Chocolate’s website: Congolese cocoa now represents over half of Theo’s cocoa supply and can be found in every chocolate product that they produce. Through their purchases, Theo Chocolate has been able to positively impact over 20,000 people living in the region, increasing household incomes and improving access to vital services.

While the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is rich in natural and human resources, it has the lowest per-capita gross domestic product in the world. Violence, poverty, and disease in the DRC have claimed the lives of over 5 million men, women, and children. And despite democratic elections and multiple peace agreements, the eastern region is still impacted by conflict, which has significantly diminished the availability of reliable, income-generating employment, as well as education and health care.

Theo and ECI recognized an opportunity to help the region emerge from crisis by joining forces with local farmers to cultivate cocoa. This fast-growing, high-yield crop requires minimal re-planting, prevents deforestation, commands solid global prices, and is a major source of income for women. Cocoa is also considered “militia-proof” because its true value isn’t realized until it’s processed.

For more info on the amazing work of Eastern Congo Initiative and their partner in the region, Theo Chocolate, please visit their websites: easterncongo.org and theochocolate.com

Questions?  Email us at neveragaincoalition@gmail.com