We get this question a lot and it's a great one! We've been inundated with the notion of creamy milk chocolate for decades so why would we think that chocolate is naturally vegan? As you know, cacao comes from a plant. The bean itself is a bit bitter. Cacao beans (or nibs found within the bean) contain high amounts of theobromine, flavonoids and other healthy phytonutrients. The beans are roasted then made into a thick paste, or chocolate liquor, and may then be mixed with cocoa butter and sugar to make dark chocolate. At this time, the chocolate is still vegan. :)
Typically, the higher percentage of cocoa (or cacao) in chocolate equates to greater health benefits; and the more sugar or cocoa butter that is added the lesser the percentage of cacao.
image courtesy of Barbara Dolan
Milk chocolate contains milk solids, which obviously makes it non-vegan and it often has more sugar and a lesser percentage of cocoa. The milk and sugar take away the natural bitterness of cacao...and it also replaces the natural healing nutrients of cacao. What's more, milk proteins bind with what's left of the healthy nutrients of cacao (flavonoids), making those phytonutrients unavailable for their healing properties (such as lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation, lowering cholesterol and more).
Next time you go to purchase a chocolate bar, take a look at the ingredient label. The simpler the ingredients the better. We typically recommend two to three ingredients in a plain chocolate bar or five ingredients or less in dark chocolate that is mixed with other ingredients. Ideally, look for organic cacao solids and organic cane sugar. It may also contain vanilla for flavoring.
Truffles are a little different since they have the creamy ganache center. Typically that ganache is made of cream, butter and sugar. Nicobella truffles use coconut milk and/or coconut oil to make our ganache creamy. Then we add wholesome high antioxidant foods such as blueberries, walnuts and sunflower butter to make it even better for you (in some cases we use more of the whole-food ingredient than the chocolate, such as the case with our walnut truffle). We use all whole foods, no flavorings or additives, to provide the flavor. Finally, our truffles are enrobed in 70% organic and Fair Trade dark chocolate.
Our munch products are made with five ingredients or less. For example maple nut munch contains dark chocolate (organic cacao solids and organic cane sugar), pecans, maple and sea salt. We use just as many nuts as the dark chocolate in our munch products so that they are high in protein and fiber, making them the perfect snacking chocolate.
Our goal is to start with high antioxidant dark chocolate and make it even healthier by adding whole vegan foods. We wanted to create something tasty that you can feel good about eating, while also knowing you are doing good for the planet and our animals.
Today through Sunday, January 29, 11 pm PST, take 15% off your purchase with discount code EatMoreDark.
"Make a list of important things to do today. At the top of your list, put "eat chocolate." Now, you'll get at least one thing done today." - Gina Hayes