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How Chocolastic! The 10 Best Vegan Dark Chocolate Bars

How Chocolastic! The 10 Best Vegan Dark Chocolate Bars

Chocolate can be, should be, and often is vegan!

Adopting a plant-based lifestyle may mean “giving up” a few things, but chocolate certainly isn’t one of them.

Unfortunately, it seems that chocolate has become synonymous with milk chocolate. But in reality, pure dark chocolate (you know, the heart-healthy kind), is totally plant-based! Here’s a quick primer on how most commercially available chocolate is made:

  1. Cacao pods are harvested from cacao trees growing throughout the tropics.
  2. The beans from inside those pods are then placed in earthen pits or wooden bins, covered with banana leaves, and left to ferment.
  3. After fermentation, the beans are dried in the sun for about a week.
  4. Dried beans are shipped to a factory, where they are first sifted and roasted.
  5. The beans are then cracked and winnowed, leaving the bitter but edible cacao nibs.
  6. The nibs are crushed and ground into a thick paste called chocolate liquor. Chocolate liquor has a strong, bitter taste, and a grainy texture.
  7. To make what we know as chocolate, manufacturers then add sugar, cocoa butter and vanilla, yielding a sweet but still grainy mixture.
  8. Finally, manufacturers run the mixture through a series of steel rollers to refine the texture, and may add more cocoa butter and soy lecithin.

Step #7 is where you would add milk if you were making milk chocolate. But of course this is totally unnecessary, and research has even shown that milk decreases absorption of the heart-healthy flavonoids found in chocolate.

Our Picks:

So let’s get to the chocolate! Here’s a list of 10 of our favorite commercially available, vegan dark chocolate bars. Let us know if we missed one, or share your favorite in the comments section below!

  1. Alter Eco Dark Chocolate Varieties
  2. Chocolove Dark Chocolate Varieties
  3. Crispy Cat Chocolate Bars
  4. Divine Dark Chocolate Varieties
  5. Endangered Species Organic Dark Chocolate
  6. Equal Exchange Dark Chocolate Varieties
  7. Kallari Chocolates
  8. Lake Champlain Dark Chocolate Varieties
  9. Newman’s Own Dark Chocolate Varieties
  10. Theo Dark Chocolate Varieties

Image Credit: Chocolate Reviews/Flickr

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14 comments on “How Chocolastic! The 10 Best Vegan Dark Chocolate Bars”

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Andy @ dairyfreeandy.com
3 Months Ago

I\'m so surprised that no single brand has conquered the global market for vegan chocolate yet. I came to your page looking for new brands to try, but I believe Divine is the only one available in Europe.

You inspired me to write a new post of the top 10 best vegan chocolate bars (in Europe!) Hopefully our readers can share tips from both when they\'re traveling the world. Check out the link for more! http://dairyfreeandy.com/best-vegan-chocolate-bars/

Lisa Reinhardt
4 Months Ago

Would love to have you review Wei of Chocolate - everything we make is organic, vegan, fair trade - plus gluten-free, soy-free, no GMOs and Paleo-friendly - and really delicious! We chose not to make it in bars so we could avoid that \'just one more square ...\' guilty feeling. Instead, let the whole round piece melt in your mouth and enjoy it - the empowering chocolate ;-) Check out 9 amazing flavors at http://weiofchocolate.com

3 Years Ago

try the delicious vegan chocolate bar line from Sugar Plum Chocolates, theyre dark chocolate infused with natural fruit bits. surprised they arent listed here http://www.sugar-plum.com/Gourmet-Vegan-Chocolate-Bars-s/367.htm

4 Years Ago

I have tried a lot of those but my favourite by far is http://www.giddyyoyo.com/ The company is based out of Ontario, Canada. Thankfully a local store sells their delicious treats here and hopefully as the company gains recognition, others will be able to give their goods a whirl. Their chocolate spirulina, Mint and vanilla salt are my current three faves.

char eats greens
4 Years Ago

My favourite local chocolate that makes the best raw and vegan chocolate is Giddy Yoyo! They make some stellar flavours like: sea salt vanilla and extra dark (are my personal faves!!) :)

4 Years Ago

The best ones are those that are fair-trade. See a good ref list: http://www.foodispower.org/chocolatelist.php Seems most vegan chocolate bars are plain. Had a delish Theo chocolate bar with almonds & cherries.

Susannah Armstrong
4 Years Ago

Try Rescue Chocolate! Great chocolate, lots of flavors and best of all proceeds help homeless pets!

lauren Ornelas
5 Years Ago

When I think of us all being on one planet - I recognize the need for all beings to have freedom to live without exploitation or fear of being killed -- especially for profit. I was disappointed to see that your top ten list included companies that are not completely free of child slavery. Please consider basing your list on companies that are truly cruelty-free without human animal or non-human animal slavery: http://www.foodispower.org/chocolatelist.htm

Editorial Team, OneGreenPlanet.Org
14 Aug 2012

Lauren, thanks for the feedback. We wholeheartedly agree with the need for all beings to have freedom to live without exploitation or fear of being killed, especially for profit. We also believe that while making conscious choices, one should not only take into consideration the impact of the products on our health and the lives of people and animals, but also the environment. When it comes to chocolate, there are a range of factors to consider, including the source of ingredients (labor practices, slavery-free, etc.), the ingredients itself (free of animal products, palm oil, etc.) and the production practices (pollution, packaging, etc). Like most global commodities, the lifecycle of chocolate production impacts people, animals and the planet in a variety of ways and we recognize that there probably is no perfect chocolate, as tradeoffs may need to be made. Thank you for sharing your well-researched list with our readers and we look forward to exploring this topic in more detail in the near future.

5 Years Ago

Your list is spot-on, but I would definitely add: Mast Brothers--gorgeously wrapped in beautiful Italian paper, single-origin dark chocolate bars. I got to share part of a friend's bar and I'm not kidding, this is breathtakingly amazing chocolate! http://www.mastbrothers.com/ Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier--My chocolate-worshipping aunt gave me one of their Cherry Almond bars...I think my eyes rolled back in my head, it was soooo good! Their Bittersweet, Cacao Nib, Three Hot Nuts, Cherry Almond and Espresso are all vegan, and also many of their artisan truffles. http://gailambrosius.com/allergen-guide/ Wei of Chocolate--organic, fair trade, vegan, gluten free, soy free dark chocolate infused with different blends of herbs, spices and flower essences. Okay, technically they don't make rectangular bars, just wrapped round chocolates. I love their planet and people consciousness, as well as their Chai-spiced and Chili-infused varieties! http://www.weiofchocolate.com/About_Us.html

Jennifer Valentine
14 Aug 2012

Thanks for the additional suggestions, these all sound wonderful!

5 Years Ago

Lulu's Chocolate should definitely be on this list. Their awesome chocolate bars are organic, fair-trade, raw, vegan (of course) and have a low GI since they use coconut sugar as their sweetener of choice. My personal fave is the Smoked Sea Salt Almond bar. Yum!

Jennifer Valentine
14 Aug 2012

Great suggestion! The sea salt almond flavor sounds incredible!

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