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My Favorite Chocolate Brands & Bars

My Favorite Chocolate Brands & Bars

I have a sweet tooth. THERE, I said it.

Regardless of how much sugar I cut out of my diet, something sweet will ALWAYS win favor over something salty or carb heavy. I have zero problem saying no to bread and cheese, but I can’t hold myself back from buying a paleo brownie topped with coconut ice cream. I mean I CAN, but why would I?

Last summer, I started experimenting with more dark chocolate consumption and less refined-sugar because I knew that by consuming dark chocolate I would benefit from the antioxidants and energy-perks, while also enjoying the sweet, subtle taste of sweetened cacao. I gave up refined sugar and instead reached for dark chocolate, unsweetened chocolate smothered in almond butter, coconut butter cups or homemade paleo desserts to fulfill my cravings for something sweet. I found that the extremity of my sweet cravings went away, and what I was left with was just a subtle sweet tooth that enjoyed a daily fix of chocolate.

I don’t go a day without a bite of dark or unsweetened chocolate; but I do go days without a brownie, cookie or other dessert. Chocolate has become part of my afternoon routine: after lunch, I reach for my bar in the fridge and break off a FAT piece to enjoy while I get back to work. It’s my afternoon pick-me-up!

Over the past year, I have tried so many different types of dark, unsweetened, craft, organic, inorganic, vegan, ‘manufactured in a gluten-free facility’ and small-batch chocolate; and as my gut health has shifted and my needs have changed, I’ve found myself experimenting with different brands on purpose – trying to find FODMAP-friendly or allergen-free bars that won’t spark inflammation for me. It’s pretty cool because there truly is a chocolate bar out there for EVERYONE. So many brands these days are passionate about gut health, environmental sustainability, cruelty-free practices, grassroots culture, sugar-free living, lactose-intolerant consumers, etc. It’s awesome.

For those of you who see chocolate as #KING or #QUEEN like I do, I’ve created a growing list of my favorite brands, and the reason behind why I like them so much. All of the following chocolates are 70% dark chocolate and above. Some of these I’ve discovered in random boutique wine shops or apothecaries, and others I’ve been gifted, or are simply available at Sprouts, Whole Foods or on Amazon! No matter where they’ve come from, the following chocolate bars are held close to my heart and only last in my fridge for a few days (sometimes…hours).

My Favorite Chocolate Brands & Bars

Eating Evolved Midnight Coconut & Signature Dark

Eating Evolved is sweetened with organic coconut sugar (goodbyeeeee cane sugar…although I’m not against the organic version), and the chocolate bars are organic, dairy-free, soy-free, paleo and vegan. BOOM. The signature dark is 72% cacao, and the midnight coconut is 100% cacao with flakes of coconut along the backside.

*can be found at Whole Foods and Sprouts

Montezuma’s Absolute Black with Cocoa Nibs

Montezuma’s is a UK brand that I stumbled across at Trader Joe’s in the checkout line. I told the guy working that I was looking for a dairy-free dark chocolate and he immediately suggested this one. You guys – I practically melted when I first tried it. It’s unbelievable (in my opinion). It’s 100% cocoa, but because of the cocoa nibs in the chocolate it has a little crunch and the slightest sweet flavor. This is my favorite unsweetened chocolate by far. It’s dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free and sugar-free. I’m excited to try the bar infused with organic orange oil!

*can be found at Trader Joe’s

Lily’s 70% Extra Dark Chocolate

I first discovered Lily’s at Whole Foods when I was searching for a chocolate sweetened with something other than cane sugar. This was right around the same time that I discovered Eating Evolved. It’s certified gluten-free, vegan and non-GMO. Lily’s is sweetened with stevia, erythritol and inulin. If you are sensitive to FODMAPs, then I wouldn’t suggest consuming this chocolate because inulin is a high FODMAP sweetener.

*can be found at Whole Foods and Sprouts

Pascha Organic Dark Chocolate

Although Pascha uses organic cane sugar as a sweetener, the amount is so minimal in their 70% and above dark chocolate bars that I disregard it. Plus, organic cane sugar is actually considered a low-fodmap sugar - #guthealth. Pascha chocolate is all around a great bar – made with sustainably-sourced ingredients in a dedicated allergen-free facility (free from peanuts, nuts, dairy, soy, eggs, wheat and gluten). It’s certified organic, fair-trade, paleo, non-GMO, kosher and vegan. I love their dark chocolate bar that’s sweetened slightly with lucuma, which is a Peruvian fruit that is gut-friendly!

*can be found at Sprouts and Natural Grocers

Dick & Taylor Craft Chocolate

This is a splurge chocolate, for me at least. My mom gifted me the Brown Butter Nibs and Sea Salt bar for Valentine’s Day and I couldn’t get through it fast enough. The chocolates are perfectly rich and robust in flavor. It’s not a typical chocolate flavor, though. The bars have a special taste of their own and you have to try it in order to understand what I mean. The bars are sweetened with organic cane sugar, but leave out vanilla, additional cocoa butter and other emulsifiers because they take their time with processing, which results in more flavor and higher quality.

*As far as I know, this is a chocolate that can be purchased at specialty wine shops and chocolatiers. I would purchase online if you’re wanting to try it, or do a little research to find where it’s available in your city.

HU Chocolate

HU Chocolate is a new find of mine. I discovered it at Whole Foods, but I’ve also seen it at Natural Grocers. The chocolate contains no dairy, GMOs, emulsifiers, soy lecithin, gluten, refined sugar, cane sugar or sugar alcohols. There are a ton of different funky options too: almond butter with puffed quinoa, cashew butter and vanilla bean, crunchy mint and salty dark chocolate. The company is super dedicated to providing consumers with quality chocolate that is free from any BS.

*can be found at Whole Foods and Natural Grocers

Raaka Virgin Chocolate

Raaka uses organic cane sugar as their sweetener, but the chocolate bars are so divine and special that it doesn’t matter. Plus, if you’re purchasing 70% dark chocolate or above, the sugar content is so minimal. Raaka does have a chocolate bar that is cane-sugar free and sweetened with Yacón Root, and it’s DANK. However, Yacón Root is not FODMAP-friendly, so be wary of this if you struggle with FODMAP intolerance.

*I found this chocolate at Nature’s Own in Kansas City, which makes me think that it’s also available at Whole Foods. It’s also available online.

Cultura Craft Chocolate

AHHH! Cultura is a Denver-based, woman-owned company – so cool. The chocolates are inspired by the ingredients and techniques used in Mexico; hence, the 70% Mexican Spice bar is the tits. The bars are sweetened with organic cane sugar and – in my opinion – are a perfect sweet treat with an afternoon decaf americano.

*can be found at Thump coffee shop in Denver, alongside any of their 75 retailers.

I’m not going to NOT call myself a chocolate snob… I’m so in love with the dark and rich flavor of dark chocolate that if I’m not married by 35 I’m going to put a ring of chocolate on my own finger and call it good.

The list above will continue to grow, and I’ll add chocolate bars and brands to it as I discover more! However, for now, these are my favorites go-tos that never disappoint me and always add a little happiness to my afternoon when consumed.

Do you have a favorite brand of chocolate that is 70% or above and absolutely delicious?! TELL ME!!

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