Alternatives to Nestle
July 15, 2016 12:04 AM   Subscribe

I’ve reached a point where I can no longer justify buying Nestle products.

I no longer want to support Nestle's business practices. However, I really like their Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chips. Is there a more ecologically and socially responsible alternative that tastes similar, reacts similarly to being baked and doesn’t melt (so I can carry it with me in mixes on hot days)?

I need to be able to access it in Western Europe (either online without astronomical shipping fees, or in brick and mortar stores in the region). I travel frequently enough that even if it's not sold where I live, I could pick it up with relative ease when I’m in a country where it is sold.
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Trader Joe's got a "best" review among a range of chips, including Toll House, and it is owned by the same folks who run Aldi shops, so you might be able to find the same chocolate chips in Europe, if they use the same supplier. The next highly-rated chip was Scharffen Berger, but they are based in California, so you're probably looking at astronomical shipping fees with that outfit.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:13 AM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm an expat too. Chopping up your favourite chocolate bar works just fine! Can definitely vouch for Lindt and Green & Blacks. I vastly prefer this over the "chocolate chips" I can get here.

Hadn't thought of checking Aldi though!
posted by jrobin276 at 12:17 AM on July 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

I absolutely *love* Guittard chocolate, but I just found out that the company was established in San Francisco. Dissolving some of their "bittersweet" pastilles in some warm milk & blending with an immersion blender makes the _best_ hot chocolate. I bet their semisweet chips would be divine in cookies. The chocolate is very rich and has a wonderful texture. If you can find it, definitely try it.

If you're used to using the recipe on the Nestle bag, you might want to start expanding your recipe horizons, too.

If you're in Western Europe, I'd suggest asking neighbors. If you can find someone nearby who bakes, they will probably have a good suggestion for you. Nestle isn't _that_ good.
posted by amtho at 2:26 AM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

The next highly-rated chip was Scharffen Berger, but they are based in California, so you're probably looking at astronomical shipping fees with that outfit.

Scharffen Berger was bought by Hershey in 2005. I believe Hershey moved manufacture out of California (and scaled it up--I don't think there was national distribution prior to the takeover). I wouldn't be surprised if Hershey is marginally more ethical than Nestle (if only because they're not involved in both coffee and chocolate, afaik), but probably not a whole lot.
posted by hoyland at 4:22 AM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Coco Camino makes chocolate chips, chocolate bars and hot chocolate among other things that are Fair Trade -
posted by Calzephyr at 5:12 AM on July 15, 2016

I recommend buying chocolate in bulk and chopping it up. It's super fun, and you can get much higher quality chocolate for the money when you are purchasing, say, an 11lb slab. Look for restaurant or bulk suppliers; there are a few online options like the one linked here.
posted by cubby at 8:52 AM on July 15, 2016

Best answer: Sorry - that's not a good link for you as they only ship to USA. This supplier has some good fiar trade options. You just need a dry, cool, airtight storage solution and you can enjoy your many kgs of chocolate for days and days.
posted by cubby at 8:59 AM on July 15, 2016

I find the Lindt dark baking chocolate to be a more rounded alternative to toll house. I've bought it often in the UK. It doesn't have that acidic note you find with Green & Blacks, or bitter edge that some dark chocolates have. Also check out Callebaut blocks of chocolate. I temper and shape them into thins.
Chocolate chips are expensive in Western Europe - they are the exception, not the default. Your best bet is to find a bar chocolate and chop it up. If you want it in droplet format, look for pastille chocolates. Or, with some practice, temper it yourself and create the shapes you want.

(Also *love* Guittard chocolate. Have never found it in Europe.)
posted by troytroy at 2:25 PM on July 15, 2016

If it matters, Lindt is not free trade, and Green and Blacks (and all of Cadbury, in fact) is certified Free Trade .
posted by smoke at 8:05 PM on July 15, 2016

Best answer: Do they carry Tony's Chocolonely where you are, or do you pass through NL regularly? I love their chocolate -- and they were the first to make me notice that "slavery-free chocolate" is a thing we need. I bet the puur would substitute well, though I haven't tried it. Yet.
posted by sldownard at 6:51 AM on July 16, 2016

Green and Blacks is owned by Kraft alas
posted by lalochezia at 7:38 AM on July 16, 2016

It is utimately owned by Kraft, but owned through its subsidiary, Cadbury - and all Cadbury chocolates are free trade, and Green and Blacks is included.
posted by smoke at 3:35 PM on July 16, 2016

We are Ghirardelli fans ever since visiting their compound in San Francisco so I know I have a bias, but the semi-sweet chips are great.
posted by getawaysticks at 12:16 PM on July 17, 2016

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