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.

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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