The cake (or more recently, cupcakes) is a major focal point of most wedding receptions. No matter what dessert you offer, you can substitute traditional ingredients for fair trade alternatives to create a more ethical end to the meal. Fair trade ingredients are free from child labor, which is a major problem in the cocoa industry, and forced labor, which is prevalent in many agricultural regions around the world. Workers on fair trade plantations are paid and treated fairly, working conditions are safe, and better environmental practices are followed. On the day of your joyous celebration, you definitely don’t want abuse and slavery to leave a bad taste in your mouth. So choose fair trade instead!
Communicate with the person baking your cake that fair trade ingredients are important to you, and see if they are flexible about making substitutions. You may have to provide some assistance about where to purchase fair trade baking ingredients. Natural food stores and large chain groceries carry some fair trade supplies, and many more are available online. Here is a list of sources you can provide to your baker, as well as use for stocking your own kitchen:
- Wholesome Sweeteners: various sugars, honey, molasses and other sweeteners
- Frontier Natural Products Co-op: vanilla extract
- Equal Exchange: baking cocoa, coffee
If you plan to serve coffee with dessert, ask about making that fair trade as well.
Depending on the venue, your amount of influence over the food served at your wedding may be limited. If your venue has a required caterer or baker, talk to them about the possibility of implementing the above ideas. You never know until you ask!
Have you attempted fair trade baking at home? Are you Team Cake or Team Cupcakes for weddings? Share in the comments!