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October 11, 2016

The Best Organic Chocolate

by Julieta Lucca

Happy #ChocolateWeek!

To celebrate, we share our favourite organic chocolate bars and why we love them.

There’s something about chocolate that really gets me thinking. We grow up thinking chocolate is either bad for you or something you can only have sparingly, but no one talks about what the chocolate we eat is made with or why if it tastes so good, we can’t have it whenever we want.

Cacao 101

The process of making chocolate from the bean itself is not difficult, it just takes time and a number of different steps. Not to mention expertise and attention to detail. That is, if you are looking to create chocolate that’s not packed with extreme amounts of sugars and chemicals.

When it comes to growing the trees that gives us the cacao beans, it gets a bit more complicated. Cacao Trees are only grown in countries located between 10ºN and 10ºS of the Equator. They usually prefer warmer climates and good amounts of nutrients in the soil. There are around 33 cacao growing countries in the world with the largest producers being Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Indonesia. Many present-day chocolatiers around the world work directly with cacao farmers to ensure they receive a fair wage for the product they produce. And because the farmers live and breathe cacao, they can provide incredible insights on the different crops and harvests.

Believe it or not, neighbouring trees and plantations can affect the taste of cocoa beans from the very beginning, making each harvest unique, it just takes a good chocolatier to enhance those notes.

Real Chocolate

It’s hard to believe that many companies out there are pumping chocolate bars with unnecessary quantities of added synthetic sugars and chemicals, when in fact, a good bar of 80% cocoa solids chocolate is absolutely delicious.

Most of us grew up with milk chocolate because we were never taught about dark chocolate, not even how amazing cacao in its raw form is. It has taken a generation of health addicts to spread the word about it.

When I choose to gift my body with the amazingness that is chocolate, I like to choose a chocolate bar that I know is created with quality ingredients, has a moderate/low amount of sugar and no chemicals. You will not just be eating chocolate but benefiting from it. Dark chocolate is known for being rich in Antioxidants, Fibre, Iron, Magnesium and more minerals as well as a pretty tasty way of reducing stress level hormones.

The bottom line is, real chocolate is good for you and you should eat it. 

 

Doisy & Dam

Doisy & Dam are possibly my favourite chocolate bars EVER! Their chocolate is handmade in Norfolk, England and their cacao comes from the Dominican Republic.

They pride themselves on not only having extremely creative combinations of flavours and textures but producing completely vegan, gluten-free and chemical-free chocolate.

The combination of superfoods like goji berries, baobab and poppy seeds makes Doisy & Dam quite the unique treat!

You should definitely try:

Maple, Toasted Rice & Pink Salt

Lemon, Poppy Seed & Baobab

Quinoa, Smoked Tea & Vanilla

 

Ombar

Ombar goes above and beyond when it comes to crafting their chocolate bars. Ombar bars are labeled as raw because they are not cooked. Heating ingredients up cooks off their natural goodness, and when it comes to chocolate, this means some of their natural and original nutrition is lost.

Ombar source their chocolate from Ecuadorian cocoa farms and they treat it like a health food, using unrefined coconut sugar, real fruit and live cultures to create some amazing chocolate bars.

You should definitely try:

60% Coconut Raw Chocolate Bar

90% Raw Chocolate Bar

Acai & Blueberry Raw Chocolate Bar

Green & Black's

Green & Black’s is sort of a staple in me and my boyfriend’s diet. There’s no week that goes by without us cracking open a bar, there’s no bedlinen set that hasn’t been christened with chocolate crumbs. Green & Black’s is the first ever organic chocolate brand I purchased and their story is pretty sweet! Give it a read here.

The richness of Green & Black’s Chocolate comes from the Trinitario beans they use. The beans are grown under the shadow of rainforest trees alongside other crops like avocado, coffee and bananas, this natural biodiversity helps protect the beans from diseases.

You should definitely try:

Sea Salt Milk Chocolate

Burnt Toffee Dark Chocolate

Hazelnut & Currant Dark Chocolate

Seed & Bean

Seed & Bean have a great range of creative and contemporary flavours. Their chocolate bars are 100% organic, Faitrade, vegan, kosher and handmade in small batches in Northamptonshire, England. Their beans are sourced from the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and the Sao Tome Islands of West Africa

Did you know?

“By converting to organic, cocoa producers are saving money by using less fossil fuels in fertilizers therefore reducing their carbon emissions and stopping their exposure to harmful pesticides such as lindane, which although banned in the EU for it’s cancer causing effects is often found to be used in cocoa production.” Find out more about Seed & Beans ethos here.

You should definitely try:

Hazelnut & Almond Milk Chocolate 

Sea Salt & Lime Milk Chocolate 

Sweet Orange & Thyme Dark Chocolate

Chocolate and Love

Chocolate and Love bars are made with fine flavour cacao beans sourced from Peru, the Dominican Republic and Panama.

Apart from being organic and GMO-free, C&L bars are Gluten Free, Soya Free and made in Switzerland.

One of the things I love the most about their bars is the packaging, there’s lots to learn from the back of the wrapper! My favourite is their Coffee 55% Dark Chocolate, the best after-dinner treat.

You should definitely try:

Coffee 55% Dark Chocolate 

Sea Salt & Caramel 55% Dark Chocolate

Panama 80% Dark Chocolate

Share your favourites with us! Join the conversation with #JOYloves #ChocolateWeek

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