Crixeo: Tony's Chocolonely


Tony's Chocolonely:
The Heir to Willy Wonka's Dream?

“We want to do things differently, and show that it can be done differently.” This is the driving force behind Tony’s Chocolonely, as well as our dear Willy Wonka, a magician and chocolatier first created by “the world’s number one storyteller,” Roald Dahl. Of course, Mr. Dahl never made a bar of chocolate in his life. As a child he was an eager tester of confections brought to his school by Cadbury, and as an adult he would eat a bar of chocolate every day with his sandwich during lunch. He knew, and taught his young readers, that chocolate could not be made without cacao beans, that Wonka’s factory needed billions every week, and that the Oompa Loompas themselves were absolutely wild about them. Dahl also, indirectly, inspired us to question exactly how chocolate was made. If not by Oompa Loompas, then by whom? If not by waterfall, then how? And if not by a man as eccentric and creative as Willy Wonka himself, then who could be so bold as to slap their name onto a bar of chocolate?

But in the time it took for Dahl’s classic novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to be published in 1964, and for the iconic Mel Stuart film starring Gene Wilder to be released in 1971, followed by an utterly terrible Tim Burton rendition in 2005 — few bothered to explore what actually goes on within the chocolate industry. Yes, there were some journalists who ventured to the Ivory Coast and Ghana to reveal trouble in the supply chain from bean to bar, yet the public remains relatively unaware of how their chocolate — outside of Wonka’s world of pure imagination — is produced. Then again, haven’t we always had a feeling the answer might be rather ugly?