There are many very interesting small businesses on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. Thanks to technology those using an online focus are able to succeed in spite of our small population.
Transportation is always an issue on this peninsula, with the options to get here being a choice of sea or air. So you expect costs of daily items to be higher than living on the mainland. It’s the cost of living in this beautiful paradise.
Chocolate prices hit new highs!
I went to our largest drug store, the place that sells everything from furniture and luggage, to kitchenware, coffee, tea, appliances, food, computers, cameras and TVs. They do sell legal drugs too, and fill prescriptions from your doctor.
The super large Lindt chocolate bars I craved were there. There was only one drawback. In between the time I’d last bought one, and the present the price had gone from five dollars to nine! I stared in disbelief for a moment, then regained my sanity and decided I really didn’t need one as much as I’d originally thought.
But somehow I couldn’t seem to justify this huge increase in my mind. What had happened?
Will technology help?
Then they have to ferment, dry and roast the seeds, before they’re sold to chocolate companies.
Like so many places in the world today climate change factors are affecting them. Unsustainably used groundwater is an important factor. Weather extremes like floods, droughts and windstorms have always made growing crops in the tropics a challenging business.
In addition fungal diseases and pests make the operation of these loosely developed farms difficult, with almost no remedies available in these poor countries. A new problem is that of many migrants fleeing the poverty in their own surrounding countries, wanting to share in the cacao industry, and this has caused tensions.
Now major chocolate makers from developed countries are seriously involved, trying to help the situation with technology, fertilizers and other needs that aren’t available to so many growers who haven’t had access to our high tech world.
Fifty million jobs are dependent upon the processing of Cacao beans before they arrive on a store’s shelves!
When I saw that price on the Lindt bar it immediately triggered memories of my early candy experiences, growing up in a small Zululand village in South Africa. The place to buy candy was the school tuck shop, situated almost opposite the police station and the red brick elementary school. This was where I began my chocolate adventures.
Guilty tuck shop pleasures!
Her face wasn't very friendly. She had permed, blue white sort of hair, a hooked nose, and sharp blue eyes behind her glasses. Her glasses were on some kind of cord, so she could whip them on and off at will, according to what she needed to see.
Mrs Amery had shelves and shelves of candies/sweets in her shop. I can see them clearly in my mind's eye now. My life goal was to taste every single one. There must have been well on 100 different varieties.
They were mostly contained in beautiful big glass jars - row upon row of them. You could either get two or four for a penny/cent in those days. My favourites were definitely the beehive, which was financially usually out of my reach, costing a tickey, or three cents EACH, and a peppermint crisp, which cost the same, but was actually better value, because it was bigger.
The beehive was shaped like a traditional one. When you bit through the rich milk chocolate your teeth and taste buds met up with a deliciously flavoured white soft marshmallow. Once you'd sucked that off you were down to a maraschino cherry surrounded by cherry jelly. There was still another thick piece of milk chocolate below that, and it was enough for 3 economical bites. If you were professional you could actually carefully melt them in your mouth one by one. Then it was good value.
The peppermint crisp was another masterpiece. At that time it had a red white and blue shiny foil covering that was absolutely beautiful, and indicated there was something luxurious and rich inside. It consisted of a lovely chocolate coating with crisp shards of peppermint inside. It had to be the ultimate.
You could get two nutticrunch toffees for a penny. They were bigger, that's why. Most of the time though because of financial restrictions, our selection was limited to 4 for a penny items. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.
Mrs. Amery also had a secret recipe for a green cooling drink that was very popular. I know it had colouring in it, and I saw her put tartaric acid in it one day, but no one actually knew anything else except it was delicious, and cost one penny a glass.
It was only much later that I understood why Mrs Amery seemed unfriendly. I heard she had lots of shoplifters in her little store.