Category Archives: Sweeties

Sweeties: Gnosis Raw Chocolate

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Gnosis Raw Chocolate is definitely in its own category. This is the stuff. It will absolutely wow your Valentine. Made by hand in New York City, they offer TWENTY vegan, raw, organic chocolate bars. It’s quite an impressive array – and the flavor, texture and creativity are equally impressive.

We tried three kinds: Fleur de Sel, PommAcai and Mayan Heat.

Because the DH adores spicy food, Mayan Heat was first up. For those who like their chocolate HOT, the Mayan Heat bar pulls no punches!  Gnosis combines spices and herbs into cacao to support and quicken the heart and circluation. Cayenne increases metabolism and helps to open the heart, and warm you up during the winter months. Chipotle, cinnamon and nutmeg round out the spice in this bar, adding extra benefits for digestion and cleansing.

Gnosis1_lrThe Fleur de Sel bar offers up raw chocolate with three varieties of salt. Himalayan and Fleur de Sel salts provide 92 minerals, aid digestion, intensify deeper elements of cacao’s flavor profile, and play both sweet and salty on your tongue in an exquisitely balance.  Salt helps with digestion, is a strong natural antihistamine, and is essential for the prevention of muscle cramps. Fleur de Sel is naturally moist, and so fine it never touches machinery. Pink Himalayan salt comes from deep inside Tibet’s Himalayan Mountains, where it was deposited when the sea covered the area more than 250 million years ago. An elegant treat!

PommAcai is a bright, fruity bar that joins pomegranate and Amazonian acai berry with deeply healing raw organic cacao to provide the ultimate rejuvenating chocolate experience. The sweet fruit is tempered by rich cacao and leaves you refreshed and ready to face the world.

But Gnosis doesn’t stop there. They offer chocolate bars ranging from Cool Mint to Hazelnut to CocoAlmond to Turmeric to Nutmeg. Even more ~ they make trail mixes, spreads, supplements and elixir beverages. Basically, anything you could want to charm your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day.

Try Gnosis – they make superior vegan raw chocolates and other treats; are a small, woman-owned business; and support ethical sourcing for all their ingredients.

Ready to buy? Use their maps to find a store near you, or shop online directly from the Gnosis website.

 

Sweeties: Kakosi Nibbles

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Do you like Nerds? Imagine chocolate Nerds. That are good for you. In a cute tin that you could carry in a purse, laptop case or even your pocket. That’s Kakosi Nibbles.

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If you like chocolate covered espresso beans you’ll love this alternative. Raw cacao nibs enrobed in dark chocolate are a sweet, tasty and healthy choice. Yes, the middle of these little darlings is 100% cacao and 100% crunchy. A unique chocolate treat!kakosi2_lr

Available in 51% and 71% dark chocolate, Kakosi Nibbles are unadalterated raw cacao. They’ve got antioxidant flavonoids, and magnesium and are sourced by Ameriken Green company, using single-origin organic certified Criollo beans from the forests of Venezuela. The nibs are coated in rich, vegan, organic dark chocolate.

Ameriken Green is a cool company, too. They are devoted to fair trade, ethical practices, conservation, recycling/recyclable packaging, community sharing and hand crafted goods.

This would be a great little Valentine for folks you share a cubicle with, your siblings, teen-age or college friends, or just anyone who you want to share a little, you know, nibble of chocolate with.

Want to find Kakosi Nibbles?  Kakosi Nibbles has an online locator map. Type in your city and find the yumminess. We picked ours up at a local coffee shop, where it was in a display by the counter. Try online too – we found several independent companies were offering these tiny chocolates.

 

Sweeties: Divvies Chocolate

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Sharing is caring. Which is a great way to go for your Valentine – a chocolate bar you can truly share. 🙂

Divvies chocolate bars are already marked to split in half. Yes, it’s true, the half marked “mine” is a bit bigger than the half marked “yours.” Ahem. But if you’re a kind person and you gift this bar to someone, then it looks like you plan to eat the smaller half. If you’re a kind person…

divvies_lrWe tested out the Divine Chocolate and Benjamint Crunch. Both dark chocolate varieties were smooth and tasty. Definitely a thumbs-up for Valentine’s Day. Divvies chocolates are ALL 100% free of nuts, dairy and eggs. So aside from the bars, you even have the option to try chocolate hearts, a chocolate dinosaur and rock candies.

Divvies also makes cupcakes, popcorn and cookies – which are vegan.

If you want to find Divvies, use their store locator to see if a Whole Foods or Giant near you has the goods. If not, buy online directly from the company!

Sweeties: Creme-Filled Endangered Species Chocolate

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It’s the week of Valentine’s Day. We’re going all chocolate-all the time. That’s right – we’re going to highlight chocolate every day until we share seven vegan candies you can enjoy this Valentine’s.

I mean, is there really a better thing to get from your Valentine? And while chocolate can certainly be romantic, you can share chocolate with a friend, neighbor, co-worker, sibling, child – anyone really. It’s just a delectable sweet perfect for any sweetie!

First out of the gate this holiday is a newer offering from Endangered Species Chocolate. We wrote about them before, back in May of 2012, and mentioned many of the company’s awesome attributes, such as how they donate 10% of net profits to support endangered wildlife. Their chocolate is also Rainforest Alliance Certified, Non-GMO, ethically traded and gluten free.

And now, they are offering a line of creme-filled bars. Yes. You are seeing correctly – vegan creme-filled dark chocolate bars.

CremeChoco1_lrThese heavenly bites come in a variety of flavors: Sea Salt & Lime, Almond Butter, Coconut, Blueberry Vanilla, Orange Raspberry and Lavender Mint.  We have thus far only found the Filled bars at Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppes, and other natural foods stores. You can also get them online from Amazon.comCremeChoco2_lrThe DH and I, as well as a few friends, sampled three of the filled Endangered Species bars. The chocolate is smooth and lush, and melts evenly with each bite. The creme filling isn’t gooey, like the Easter candy you grew up with, but the soft texture compliments the richness of the chocolate and combines in your mouth perfectly.

And after all, if you can help animals AND eat chocolate, that seems like a pretty great combination for any Valentine!

ExpoFinds: the Piping Gourmets Whoopie Pies

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Did you ever wish your freezer was stocked with delicious, vegan, gluten-free, kosher, non-GMO whoopie pies? Seriously, why NOT? Especially with The Piping Gourmets making just such a product! When we were at EXPO, you could barely get next to this stand. We were literally in line to taste these little sweeties and the guy in front of me wasn’t just sampling – that dude was EATING one whoopie pie after the next. Geez! Well, I can’t pretend like I don’t get it. They were yummy!

 

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Photo from Piping Gourmets website

 The Piping Gourmets whoopie pies were small, not like the massive oversized ones you find at a bakery. The petite size makes them ideal for snacking and sharing with kids, though. They’re not TOO much, if that makes sense.

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Photo from Piping Gourmets website

 

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Photo from Piping Gourmets website

 

We also really liked the many flavors offered: chocolate/chocolate, chocolate/vanilla, chocolate/raspberry, chocolate/mint, vanilla/vanilla, and vanilla/lemon. The Dirty Hippie like chocolate/chocolate (of course!); my favorite was vanilla/lemon, which I think would be absolutely amazing as a treat with a cup of hot tea on a winter afternoon. Just pull one out of the freezer and thaw. Perfect! What a great snack for after school, too.

 

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Photo from Piping Gourmets website

These wonderful little whoopie pies are currently available at select Whole Foods Markets through the south-east US and Florida. Check the Piping Gourmets website to see where they might be available near you!

ExpoFinds: Evolved Caramel Coconut Cups

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The Natural Products Expo East had no shortage of chocolate, but to end up on the list, things had to be spectacular. Like eatingEVOLVED’s Dark Chocolate Caramel & Sea Salt Coconut Butter Cups.

Having been vegan for almost 20 years, I had long since given up on caramel. After all, it’s pretty tough to create caramel without dairy. I’ve crossed paths with a few other vegan caramels over time, and yes, they were awesome – but after one bite of eatingEVOLVED‘s confection, I knew this little New York-based company had struck caramel-gold.

These Caramel & Sea Salt Coconut Butter Cups are vegan, soy free, cane sugar free and fair trade. How in the world do they do it, you ask? How do they make a soy-free, vegan caramel middle? We wondered that too, especially since the ingredient list is so short: organic coconut, organic cacao, organic cacao butter, organic maple sugar and Himalayan sea salt. But the gentleman I talked to at EXPO said the secret is all in the coconut and maple, and of course the method.

caramelcups_lrLet me tell you, whatever the secret method is, it WORKS and the resulting caramel cup is INCREDIBLE! Maybe the folks at eatingEVOLVED made a deal with the devil or something. But it’s damn tasty. The middle has sugary warmth and melts beautifully in your mouth. Just perfect – dark chocolate and vegan caramel.

eatingEVOLVED makes other confections too – in the line of “cups” they also have Classic Coconut Butter Cups and Mint Creme Cups. They also have Primal Bars, which are vegan as well and some that are 100% cacao content, including Fig & Almond bars and Midnight Coconut bars. Yum!

The philosophy at eatingEVOLVED is that chocolate is food, not candy-crap. All eatingEVOLVED chocolate is free of gluten, dairy, or soy (that’s right, no soy lecithin!). They use the fewest ingredients physically possible to create chocolate. No junk, no fillers, just the highest quality, Fair-Trade cacao lightly sweetened with organic maple sugar. Amazing!

Currently, you can purchase these wonderful chocolates online from the eatingEVOLVED website. They also list retailers that sell their wares at this link. Hopefully, they will soon be available, well, everywhere!

ExpoFinds: Sibu Sura Chocolate

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Sibu Sura Chocolates are another local company we were excited to find at EXPO. They’re based in Myersville, Maryland and their line of Fair Trade chocolates are insanely decadent and are from a single-source origin in Peru.

With one bite, you know you’ve found something quite special. Sibu Sura’s Funky Bars are not simply flavorful, they are soulful. The richness of the chocolate is so potent, you can almost inhale it as the delicate confection melts against your tongue. I liked the Dark Raspberry Pop best, but the other flavors were all wonderful too. As far as which one you should try first… what do you like? Spicy? Fruit? Straight-up chocolate? Go with the thing that sounds best!

 

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All but two of their chocolate bars are vegan-friendly, so you can log on and choose from”Funky Bars” in Dark Raspberry Pop, Dark Ancho Chili, Dark Cherry N’ Almond, Dark Island with coconut, pineapple and macadamia nut, and Decadent Dark. Sibu Sura also offers other chocolaty goodies, such as Cocoa Nib Coffee, Cacao Nibs and chocolate by the block for home dessert projects.

Sibu Sura’s website lists several retailers around the country where you can find their products. You can also shop online, too. If you’re thinking ahead to the holidays, these would make wonderful gifts for co-workers, family and friends – anyone who truly appreciates high-end, sophisticated chocolates.

Locality: Shiny Spoons Pudding

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Folks in Baltimore come up with some pretty tasty stuff. Like Shiny Spoons Puddings. We first tried these at the DC Green Festival and we were hooked. We ate several that day and bought a bunch to bring home. And the good news – we also found these gems at Whole Foods and Grind House Juice Bar. You can also order them via Relay Foods. This is more than just love for the local company, though.

Shiny Spoons Pudding is made from buckwheat. It’s hearty & filling, smooth, creamy, gluten-free and vegan. The flavors are amazing, too: try dark, dark chocolate, vanilla bean & cashew, toasted pistachio with tea rose or my favortite – NoMilk chocolate with jasmine tea.

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The puddings were created in the kitchen of a young mother as an ode to her past and a commitment to serving her family only the purest, most wholesome ingredients. Using flavor combinations from her childhood, growing up on the shores of the Black Sea, Irina Rey set out to create healthy versions of sinfully delicious desserts that could satisfy even the toughest critics – her four young daughters.

 

These little sweeties are sure to please your kids – and you. The would be ideal for packed lunches, picnics, car trips and to pull out of the cooler at the beach. Shiny Spoons Puddings, you make Baltimore proud! 🙂 If you live in the area, seek these gems out. You won’t be sorry for the search!

Sweeties: Crispy Cat Bars

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There is something to be said for chewy, gooey candy bars. Not just chocolate bars – those are more like solid chocolate. But candy bars – the kind with something stretchy and sugary enrobed in sweet chocolate.

We recently found Crispy Cat bars. They are vegan, 100% organic, gluten-free, non-GMO and kosher. Crispy Cats are also big on flavor and fun. They’re going to remind you of the candy bars you ate as a child.

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The crunch comes from brown rice crisp and the bars’ other ingredients are highly recognizable, like organic dark chocolate, brown rice syrup, tapioca, agave syrup and coconut or almonds. Crispy Cats come in two flavors: Mint Coconut and Toasted Almond. Let’s be real, we inhaled BOTH flavors, but there was a slight preference for the toasted almond.

Crispy Cat bars are made by NuGo, a company based in Pittsburgh, PA. They  never use hydrogenated oils or trans fats in their products and never use waxy vegetable fat compounds in place of real, delicious chocolate. NuGo is committed to creating healthy snacks. 

You can buy boxes of bars directly from NuGo’s website, but the company has a store locator online and you can see where Crispy Cats are prowling in your neighborhood. We got ours locally at Wegman’s in Maryland. Other chains that carry them include Whole Foods and the Vitamin Shoppe. Also, check out the The Vegan Store online and Amazon.com – both online sources for Crispy Cats.

These candy bars really are purrrr-fect. (Hee hee… had to say that!)

 

 

 

Emily’s Matza Crunch Clusters

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Our friend Emily truly has a gift. She can take chocolate and make anything delicious. I know, you’re thinking – duh, it’s chocolate. But seriously, not all chefs are as masterful with chocolate as Emily. Just take her Passover treats as an example – Matza Crunch Clusters.

I’ll admit, it’s an oddity how much I like matza. Most people say that is tastes blah. Maybe I just have happy associations with it. As a girl, I grew up two blocks from a large Jewish synagogue in Penna. Next door to that was a kosher deli, and the owner, Mr. Kaplan, was always kind to me. Every time I went in, he had something tasty for me to try and it was in his deli I learned to love matza.

But I digress – Emily’s Matza Crunch is so much more than just the sum of its parts: roasted matza farfel and pecans, enrobed in rich, dark chocolate. It’s sweet and salty at once and the recipe is pretty much fool-proof, as she shared it with me. All you need to do is roast in the oven, warm chocolate in a slow cooker and stir. This is a super recipe for the family to help with!

 

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If you’d like to try Emily’s Matza Crunch Clusters, click over to the Sister Eden blog. The recipe is live there and this treat is sure to be the highlight of your Passover Seder meal.

Not celebrating Passover? Seriously, try this candy anyhow! Emily’s gift for chocolate makes it a sweet treat that anyone can love! The simplicity of the recipe combines to a luscious candy that, personally, I’d be happy to eat any time of year.

Of course, I have been known to eat plain matza all year long, too… like I said, it’s an oddity!

Happy Passover!