Aztec-Inspired Vegan Chocolate by Barocco Choco Hits UK Delis

After visiting Sicily earlier this year and researching the vegan treats they have on offer there, I’ve since learned about a new Sicilian vegan chocolate brand that’s already hit the shelves of delis in the UK. Allow me to introduce you to Barocco Choco, bringing an air of rustic authenticity to the realms of vegan chocolate.

Chocolate bar range

Barocco Choco is made in the Baroque town Modica in the south of Sicily, a historical city which has been renowned for its chocolate tradition for centuries. They use an ancient Aztec recipe that was brought to Sicily in the 17th century, gleaning the wisdom of the past masters. It looks and tastes totally different to regular chocolate, with a matte appearance and a crunchy texture. The ingredients list is minimalist, with only ground cocoa beans, a small amount of sugar and either real spice or natural fruit, depending on the flavour. All of the ingredients are fair-trade and sourced from ethical plantations from across the globe. Their ingredients are cold-worked, which retains a high proportion of the nutrition too, giving you all the more reason to tuck in. Because Barocco Choco stays true to the original recipe and uses only pure high quality ingredients, it has earned the titles organic, fair trade, gluten-free and vegan, which gets a gold star in my books.

There’s a good spread of flavours to choose from too, including chilli, lemon, cinnamon, orange, vanilla and classic dark chocolate. Check out the independent shops up and down the UK that stock this brand so you can try it for yourself, and follow Barocco Choco on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to stay connected with this stellar vegan chocolate brand.

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NVW2016: Why Choose Vegetarian Leather Shoes?

National Vegetarian Week has arrived, bringing with it a flurry of innovative veggie recipes to inspire plant-based cooking. It’s an ideal opportunity to welcome the veggie-curious to a meat-free diet, and introduce some of the issues that a vegetarian lifestyle tries to tackle. People go veggie for many reasons, from looking after their health, to saving the planet, to a love of animals. We want to introduce the veggie-curious meat-eater to the issue of leather, and the different reasons why someone might choose to wear our Vegetarian Society-approved leather-free shoes.


Vegetarian Leather

To state the obvious, leather is animal skin, and so producing leather necessarily involves the death of an animal. Sadly, their life is often no better. Most leather comes from India, China and Bangladesh, where there are no animal welfare protections or they are not enforced. In the US, leather often comes from factory farmed animals, enduring overcrowding, dehorning, tail-docking and castration. Whilst some have argued that leather is simply a by-product of the meat industry, others see it as a very lucrative subsidy to the industry. If you care about animal welfare, then vegetarian leather is the way to go.

Amour Vert

Animal-free fashion brands are thriving. If you buy vegetarian leather from brands dedicated to being 100% cruelty-free, it’ll make the big wigs at the top of the fashion industry turn their heads. They’ll see that more people are shunning leather, and they’ll do whatever the consumer demands. Of course, we saw this happen with fur, and now faux fur has been set as the default, so big change can happen. As sustainability expert Anna Lappe said, every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want. At the risk of putting the Snap one hit wonder song in your head all day, you’ve got the power!


Vegan Leather

Although leather seems natural, the production of leather is no friend to the environment. The tanning of leather is the fifth largest pollution threat in the world, directly affecting 1.8 million people (an eye-widening statistic to say the least). The majority of leather is tanned in countries with little or no environmental standards or worker protection, so the toxic cocktail of chemicals and solid waste leftover from making leather is offloaded directly into local water supplies. The Buriganga river in Hazaribagh, Bangladesh, has even been classified as dead, because the pollution from the many leather tanneries have killed the fish and plant life. If saving the environment is an issue that’s close to your heart, then going leather-free is a good choice to make.

Bee Vegetarian Shoes

Luckily, there are eco-friendly alternatives to leather out there to switch over to. Our vegetarian leather linings are 100% recycled with a plant-based polymer coating, and they’re completely breathable. Our vegetarian suede is made using recycled plastic bottles and doesn’t watermark like animal suede. Wilby’s faux leather bags use cork leather, which is so sustainable that you don’t even have to cut the tree down to harvest the cork. With more and more fashion brands discovering environmentally friendly faux leathers, there’s certainly a light at the end of the tunnel for those who love the look of leather but also love the planet.


Vegetarian Leather

Of course all vegetarian leather is cruelty-free, to animals at least. However, if you buy cheap shoes, they are often made in poor conditions for the workers, whether they are faux leather or not. 87% of all shoes are made in Asia in countries without workers’ rights. Throughout the global shoe industry, workers endure poverty pay, long working hours, denial of trade union rights and significant risks to their health and safety. As campaign group Labour Behind the Label have found, the money they earn is simply not enough to live on. The unrealistically low prices on the high street are often set at the expense of the workers. Actor Rosario Dawson explained it well by asking: “If you’re not paying for it, who is?”


But once you look beyond the high street, there are plenty of other ethical options to pick and choose from. We work very closely with our shoe factory in sunny Alicante, Spain, to make sure no one is being exploited in the making of our shoes. Our workers are protected by EU law and work in safe conditions. Here’s our staff giving us a smile on Fashion Revolution Day. We’re proud to make ethical shoes that don’t compromise on style, hopefully making it easier for those transitioning from wearing leather to going faux.

If you’re interested in trying our breathable, eco-friendly faux leather shoes, now’s the time to buy! Use voucher code VEGGIE10 to get £10 off your order. Offer ends at midnight on Wednesday. Looking for more vegetarian leather brands? Check out our blogs on the best cruelty-free fashion finds. To find out more about the environmental impact of leather, read our overview of the industry. We hope you found this article informative, and we’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of kilmousk, Clean Clothes Campaign/Facebook, Zoë Pearson, Amour Vert/Instagram

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The “Land Of The Strays” Houses 900 Free-Roaming Adoptable Dogs

by Brianna Acuesta via True Activist

“Land of the Strays” is the shelter every dog-lover has been dreaming of with 900 free-roaming happy pups.


The “Land of the Strays,” or Territorio de Zaguates, is seriously heaven on Earth for dog-lovers, especially those looking to adopt a new family member. The privately-funded, volunteer-run organizationis in Costa Rica, where they bathe, feed, and exercise the 900 dogs they house by guiding them on scenic walking tours that are free and open to the public.

Visiting the refuge does not mean that there is pressure to adopt a dog; visiting to play and meet with the dogs is free, as many citizens just come by for the fun of it, and the “shelter” is no-kill.

This refuge is said to be one of the happiest places for a dog to live. There’s a lush landscape for the dogs to roam freely and play, and an indoor area with beds and bathing and feeding stations for the dogs to relax. Water stations are also placed all around the property to ensure that active dogs can remain hydrated at all times.


While this free-range environment is immensely healthy for the pups that call this place home, it’s also great for prospective pup parents who want to get to know their dog in their natural environment. Many traditional shelters don’t offer this experience because the dogs are scared in their cages and get little time outside. For this refuge, however, the dogs are so comfortable that their true colors are always showing, making it easier for the adopter to get to know the real pup from the start.

An added (and adorable) bonus of this shelter is that dogs get a unique name and a unique breed name. Experts say that putting a positive spin on the mixed status of dogs helps them to appear even cuter than their purebred friends and aids in finding these adorable mutts a forever home. Just imagine visiting the shelter and deciding between the “Chubby-Tailed Dobernauzer” or the “Alaskan Colly Fluffyterrier.” Too cute.

So if you ever find yourself in Costa Rica, make sure to add “Land of the Strays” to your itinerary. Being bombarded by 900 happy dogs is too good of an opportunity to miss.


What do you think of the idea of a free-range animal shelter? Comment your thoughts below and share this article!

Images courtesy of Andrew George/Facebook

This article (The “Land Of The Strays” Houses 900 Free-Roaming Adoptable Dogs And It’s Paradise) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and
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