In profiling Alter Eco this month, we once again appreciate the bounty that the South American climate provides us. In exchange our purchases can benefit the people of the region. Alter Eco sources all of its products from small-scale, farmer-owned cooperatives: cacao from the Peruvian Amazon and the Ecuadorian Coast and quinoa from the Bolivian Altiplano (high plain).
Alter Eco Foods offers 11 types of dark chocolate bars created by Swiss master chocolatiers, including some rather unusual varieties: quinoa, burnt caramel, coconut toffee, and brown butter (which I will attest is as delicious as it is strange-sounding). They also offer delectable truffles, which are available in bags or individually near the cash register for those impulsive chocolate cravings. They come in black, velvet, salted caramel, and sea salt varieties.
But maybe before you indulge in their chocolate delights you should try Alter Eco’s quinoa, which provides a complete protein. They offer four heirloom quinoa varieties: red, black, pearl, and rainbow. If you haven’t yet tried to make healthful quinoa dishes at home, you can check out the many recipes at Alter Eco’s website. Some that caught my eye include Sweet Spring Quinoa Salad with Ramp and Rhubarb Dressing, Cucumber Quinoa with Fresh Mint and Sriracha, Moroccan Roasted Quinoa ‘n Kale Salad with Caramelized Onions & Dates, Sopa de Quinoa (an old family recipe from Ecuador), and Flourless Quinoa Chocolate Cake. (Wait, how did I end up with chocolate again?)
Alter Eco is dedicated to absolute sustainability through following four principals: using Fair Trade guidelines when acquiring ingredients, purchasing only organic and non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) crops, off-setting carbon emissions by reforestation efforts in the areas that produce their crops, and creating minimal waste by working towards 100 percent compostable packaging. Their quinoa packaging is already completely biodegradable and is made from eucalyptus and birch trees.
Alter Eco has helped to support over 30 community projects and development programs. One program is helping Peruvian farmers move from the dangerous task of growing coca for cocaine to instead growing cacao. And in Bolivia, fair trade wages have provided running water and sanitation in 15 villages and established the region’s first high school and health care clinic. Alter Eco’s mission is “global transformation through ethical relationships with small-scale farmers, and an integral sustainability orientation at every point on the supply chain.”
Alter Eco Company Snapshot
Founded in 2005
Headquartered in San Francisco
USDA Certified Organic
Fair Trade Certified
Carbon Neutral Certified
on-GMO Project Verified
Certified B Corporation
Information from this article and more can be found at www.alterecofoods.com.
Amy Newsome felt that in order to write this article with as much authority as possible she had to try each of Alter Eco’s truffle varieties. They are all incredibly delicious but her favorite is the Salted Caramel Truffle.