Is chocolate vegan?

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Is chocolate vegan?

If you’re thinking about switching to an animal-free diet, there’s one question in particular that stands out: is chocolate vegan?

Because while some people can’t imagine life without gouda or breakfast sans bacon, we know there are more than a few of you who wouldn’t dare commit to anything that stood in between you and your chocolate fix. So if it’s this question alone that’s been preventing you from veganism, it warms our hearts to tell you that YES! You can be vegan and enjoy chocolate! But as with anything, there’s a catch.

Not all chocolate is vegan chocolate

Chocolate comes from cacao beans, which grow on trees. So in it’s purest form, chocolate is vegan. Unfortunately, most candy companies add milk ingredients to make their chocolate products taste lighter and creamier.

You know that Cadbury Dairy Milk calling your name in line at the market? Not vegan chocolate (obvs). Snickers? Nope. In fact, you can pretty much rule out anything you’d find at the corner bodega. Most popular candy bars are riddled with dairy, refined sugar, and a bunch of other crap you don’t want to put in your body anyway (in our humble opinion).

When you’re on the hunt for dairy free chocolate, it comes down to diligently reading the ingredients. The fewer the better, and keep an eye out for sneaky milk-derived ingredients like whey and casein.

Go dark or go home

Like a strong cup of coffee or a glass of fine wine, dark, vegan chocolate is an acquired taste. It’s more bitter than the milky stuff, and it’s actually good for you. Like, superfood good for you. To reap the health benefits of vegan chocolate, you’ll want to choose something with a high percentage of cacao — somewhere around 70%. If this is too much of a stretch for your sweet tooth, start with 55% and work your way up. For an extra special, and oh so healthy treat, try pairing dark chocolate with our vegan organic PepperMint VerMints — it’s to die for!

Where to buy vegan chocolate

As we mentioned above, you’re probably not going to find dairy free chocolate products at the corner store. Some chain grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s will have a decent selection of bars, vegan chocolate chips and vegan cocoa powder for baking. But your best bet is to go to stores that focus on organic and fair trade brands, or shop online.

Go Max Go Foods is an all-natural and vegan chocolate company specializing in the classic flavors you loved as a kid. (Vegan chocolate peanut butter cups for the win!)

Rescue Chocolate makes dairy free chocolate bars and donates 100% of their net profits to animal rescue organizations in the US. Talk about guilt-free dessert.

Allison’s Gourmet gets extra fancy with their award-winning dairy free chocolate creations.

And that's just the tip of the dairy free chocolate iceberg. For a more complete list of delicious options, check out  VegNews’ Vegan Food Guide to Vegan Chocolate

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