On Friday 5 October some thirty people: chocolatiers, Oxfam volunteers, representatives of the province of Luxembourg and the Fair Trade municipalities of the region, went to Bruges, the self-proclaimed capital of fair trade and chocolate.
The visit was initiated by the Fair Trade Platform in the province of Luxembourg and was part of Fair Trade Week. The Platform wants to promote solidarity between North and South, also in our own country. That is why it contacted the Bruges North-South service for an exchange of ideas. West Flanders has been a Fair Trade Province for 5 years and Bruges has been a Fair Trade Municipality for 10 years. So both had a lot of expertise to share. A few months ago, the city of Bruges launched its own fair trade chocolate under the name Sjokla, made by local chocolate makers, to take the step from talking to practice.
After a welcome speech by Alderman Dirk De Fauw, the North-South department of the city presented its policy, projects and initiatives. Marie-Pascale Delogne of the Platform then gave an overview of fair trade in the province of Luxembourg, before the chairman of the Bruges Chocolatiers Guild spoke a few words about the “Sjokla” project.
During a fair trade lunch, everyone could get to know each other better for a visit to the Pol Depla chocolate factory, to see how Sjokla was made, and a “gourmet walk”, on the theme of “fair trade chocolate”, in the historic centre of the city.
The Luxembourg delegation welcomed the full programme, which gave rise to new ideas, such as setting up “gastronomic tours” combining chocolate, fair trade and tourist attractions in a region which is not lacking in assets. One chocolatier present expressed the wish to organise an introduction to fair trade for all local traders. Another interesting idea: to bring together all the artisanal chocolate makers of the province of Luxembourg to promote their product, as the Guild of Bruges Chocolatiers does.
“The day was a success” according to Marie-Pascale Delogne. “We realised that we never have the chance to meet each other and exchange ideas between Walloons and Flemish people. We hope to repeat the experience with other Flemish cities or provinces. »