Tag Archives: vegan chocolate

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.

 

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.

Sweeties: Rescue Chocolate

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Chocolate is a serious topic round these parts, and we have to say, Rescue Chocolate is a habit worth adopting. Speaking of adoption, 100% of their profits are donated to animal rescue organizations!! Yes, you read that correctly – 100% donated! Ahem. Don’t act like you’re not impressed!

Rescue1_lrEach flavor highlights a different rescue-related issue: Peanut Butter Pit Bull (crispy peanut butter and chocolate, countering the negative public image of the pit bull-type dogs); Forever Mocha (hazelnut praline and coffee, highlighting ways to help people make and honor a lifetime commitment to their pets); Foster-iffic Peppermint (dark chocolate with peppermint, highlighting the need for people to provide foster care for shelter animals as they await their forever homes); Mission Feral Fig (fig, cranberry, almond, and spices, highlighting the humane solution for feral cats, TNR); The Fix (plain 72%, highlighting the importance of spay and neuter); Fakin’ Bacon (smoky, sweet and salty, a salute to farm animal sanctuaries and compassionate gourmands); and Pick Me Pepper (sweet ’n spicy dark chocolate with peppers, highlighting the advantages of choosing pets from animal shelters instead of breeders or pet stores). There are also smaller candies like the Bow Wow Bon Bons and Wild at Heart Raspberry-Filled Chocolates, plus seasonal goodies. Right now there are chocolate bunnies waiting to hop into your Easter basket, as well as Passover cashew-clusters.

Not only are these candies bringing attention to animal rescue, they are freakin’ delicious – and eco-friendly!! The chocolate is organic and fair trade, and all bars are certified kosher. Wrappers are recyclable and they use biodegradable peanuts for shipping.

Rescue Chocolate was founded in January 2010 and is based in Brooklyn, NY. Each month a different animal rescue organization is selected to receive a donation from chocolate sales.The list of animal rescues that has been helped by Rescue Chocolate is truly incredible! I’d post it here, but you’re be scrolling for ages. When you have an hour to read them all (okay, maybe ten minutes), you can click here. You will see breed-specific dog groups, SPCAs, Humane Societies, No-Kill shelters, farm animals sanctuaries and more.

Rescue2_lrAll this talk about what a good thing you’ll be doing when you eat Rescue Chocolate almost made me forget – this stuff is ssooo tasty!! We’ve eaten each flavor by itself and we love using the Foster-iffic Peppermint in coconut ice cream.

Where can you find these wonderful bars, you ask? At the moment, you’re going to need to go online if you are in Maryland like us. Buy directly from Rescue Chocolate or use their handy reference to see if any of the stores selling their sweeties are close to you.

Sweeties: Haute & High Class Chocolates

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Is your Valentine really classy? We’re talking uptown, chic, high-end, all her purses come from Susan Nichole type gal or a guy who wears only tailored shirts and has a collection of Etsy cufflinks made from vintage coins. You know who we mean.

Guess what: we’ve got the perfect vegan chocolate for the glam. It’s called Vosages and even as I type the brand name, I feel a little weak in the knees. Vosages is the chocolate of queens and kings, in our opinions. It is exotic, luxurious and absolutely decadent.

And Vosages has a page devoted to vegan chocolates & bars. Yes, there is a truffle collection. It is mouth-watering.

vosages_lrThis brand of chocolate was introduced to us by our friend Emily. She showed up one day with a copy of their catalog. Talk about food porn. The photography is delectable. You may want to eat the pages it’s printed on. No joke. But we didn’t get to try these truffles for several years, till another friend, Brittany, presented them to us as a gift.  And yes, Vosages vegan truffles are ALL THAT.

Chocolate and coconut milk, agave nectar and dried fruit create two varieties of alluring, sensual truffles:

Coconut Vegan Truffle  100% dark chocolate ganache blended with organic agave nectar and organic coconut milk and rolled in organic coconut flakes

Açaí Vegan Truffle 100% cacao dark chocolate ganache blended with organic agave nectar, Brazilian açaí and organic coconut milk and rolled in pomegranate powder

There are six of each. And no matter how much you love your Valentine… the reality is that you may eat all these before he or she can even open the box.  Twelve truffle collection is $25.00 and available online from Vosages. Vegan bars are available online and at Whole Foods.

Oh – we got so wrapped up in the chocolates, we forgot to mention that Vosages is a green company, through and through! This woman-owned company is based in Chicago.Their eco-initiatives can be seen in their ingredient sourcing, energy use, packaging and employee facilities. Really, it’s just one more reason to love Vosages.

Share the love with Vosages elegant confections. And stay classy – very classy, in this case!

Sweeties: Easy Vegan Love

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It’s not every day you walk into a store like Target and see a display of non-GMO, vegan, made-in-the-USA chocolates, all wrapped up in a cute Valentine’s Day box. But we did. Here in Maryland, Target is carrying a selection of Valentine’s Day candy from Seattle Chocolates. What a treat! This is easy vegan love, folks.

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More good news – Seattle Chocolates are kosher, gluten-free and sourced responsibly. In 2014, they began using only Rainforest Alliance cocoa. By 2015, their entire line will be certified and bear the Rainforest Alliance seal. A worthy goal.

And what about the candy itself? The individually wrapped Dark Chocolate Truffles with Cocoa Nibs are hand-packed. The candies are rectangular and firm – the centers aren’t gooey. Instead, it’s dense, heavy chocolate flavor. The ingredients list is simple and short. This is a chocolate-lover’s truffle – not for someone who like sugary-fake chocolates. We loved them. The truffles melt in your mouth into a mess of chocolate-y heaven. It’s almost a buttery sensation. Yum.!

If your Target doesn’t have Seattle Chocolates, you can shop online or try their handy state-by-state locator for a dealer near you. This is sure to delight your sweetie. Show him or her how easy it can be to share vegan love!