Disclaimer: Even healthy chocolate can make you fat if you eat too much of it!
We all appreciate that chocolate is good for the soul and can actually be good for you. In commercial brands of chocolate, the cacao beans are roasted to form cocoa and combined with sugar and fats. The difference with raw cacao is that the beans are fermented and dried, retaining their antioxidants and nutrients. Raw chocolate contains magnesium, iron and pottassium for energy, aid circulation and strengthens the muscles, bones and teeth. It also contains flavanoids, which have been known to lower blood pressure and increase good cholesterol. It even contains an organic compound called phenylethlamine, which is thought to elevate mood.
The great thing for us is, there are now many British makers of chocolate who create chocolate of a higher quality, whether that is; organic, fairtrade, handmade, eco-friendly, local ingredients, raw, or gluten-free. All of this without compromising on taste.
So, this Easter as part of my public service, I have done the research for you and taste-tested a number of these healthier brands. It's been a tough job but rest assured my soul is in a good place. You can thank me later.
All of the products below come highly recommended by me! (And there are NO affiliate links in this post)
This is a small family business where ethics and fairtrade come very high on the agenda. I ordered from here a mini bar library containing 5 different flavours. I'm still working my way through them but my favourite so far is the butterscotch. The chilli and lime bar had my eyes watering. If you're not a big fan of chilli in chocolate then this is best avoided. There is so much choice on their website, I have my eye on the giant chocolate buttons, with many different options free from; sugar, gluten, dairy or soya. There are also vegan and vegetarian options.
Conscious are old pros in the raw chocolate market and have been making chocolate since 2004. All of their product range is free from gluten, free from dairy, free from soya, free from refined sugars. It is also suitable for vegans and is made from ethically sourced ingredients. I picked the Love Potion No. 9 flavour, because I liked the sound of it. This chocolate is made with Maca and essential oil of rose. In hindsight I would have probably preferred a less "floral" aftertaste but the chocolate itself was delicious. There are loads of flavours to try all with cool names like; Wild at Heart, The Nutty One, Simply Saintly and Lion's Raw.
Ombar's number 1 reason for making raw chocolate is quite simply because cacao is amazing. All of their chocolate is organic, , vegan, ethical and of course, raw. The chocolate itself was really smooth and tasty. I went for a nutty one but there are lots of flavours to try, from the more conservative coconut or mandarin, to those with the extra health benefits of lemon and green tea or blueberry and acai berry.
This was one of the more luxurious brands that I tried, possibly more grown up than the others and beautifully packaged. The chocolate is lovingly prepared with quality ingredients and carefully selected flavours. I tried the Goji and Coconut, the chocolate was very smooth, very dark and very soft. Their aim is to "love your insides" and the products not only provide the known benefits of raw chocolate but also the incredible ingredients that go into their flavours such as; Fig and Wild Orange, Pineapple and Ginger, Cinnamon.
5. Doisy & Dam
Slightly annoying, although I got over it pretty quickly, was the fact that you couldn't buy single bars of this chocolate from their website so I had to buy a bundle of 4 bars. I went for a lucky dip and ended up with two dark - maple, toasted rice & pink salt and goji & orange, and two milk - crunchy almond butter and vanilla & cacao nibs. I can confirm that it was all delicious, the dark chocolate was not too bitter and the crunchy almond butter one was to die for, if you like that sort of thing.
6. NOM NOM
Oh my...I think I may have found my most favourite chocolate ever! Nom Nom's Peanut Butter. It's like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups but much more subtle and by far, far better!!! The chocolate is made in Wales and their packaging and descriptions are lots of fun, describing this particular flavour as "It’s an early morning fix, late night vice, perfect with anything potion. That nutty, buttery, too good to be true concoction. The immerse it in chocolate to make your dreams come true notion. Not just for elephants. Unless I am an elephant." What is not to love?