There are more and more vegan chocolate brands on the market – but which are the best? We tried and tested 15 for you (tough job, I know!)
By Lora O’Brien
Who doesn’t like chocolate? It’s so many things, all in one: a sweet childhood treat; a decadent adult indulgence; and lately, it’s even been heralded as a kind of health food. And why not? A 2011 Swedish study found that women who ate more than 45 grams of chocolate a week had a 20 percent lower risk of stroke than women who treated themselves to fewer than 9 grams of the sweet stuff. This is probably because cocoa has anti-clotting, blood-thinning properties that work in a similar way to aspirin.
In fact, regular chocolate eaters bring a host of benefits for to hearts too, including lower blood pressure, lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and a lower risk of heart disease. One of the reasons dark chocolate is especially heart-healthy is its inflammation-fighting properties, which reduce cardiovascular risk.
But yep – for these health benefits to kick in, only dark chocolate will do. And given the fact that cocoa beans are usually heavily sprayed with pesticide, organic dark chocolate is by far the healthiest choice. For many, switching from the typical (but unhealthy) milky, sugary choccies to bitter dark bars takes some adjusting to, but luckily, there’s a growing number of organic and vegan brands that are on the rise, using almond or soya milk instead of dairy.
While these bars are healthier, note that they still pack a caloric punch. So just remember: a little of what you fancy does you good. But in moderation, of course!
In the name of research, I buckled down and tried over a dozen chocolate brands to give you my honest organic and vegan chocolate reviews. Now it’s up to you to decide which to try!
Organic & Vegan Chocolate Brands, Reviewed
Booja-Booja have crafted excellent vegan chocolates filled with simple, organic, gluten-and-soy free ingredients. Their truffles are decadently rich and melt creamily on the tongue. Their packaging oozes sophistication, too! They come in a little gift box with the truffles encased in little compartments, making these choccies the perfect gift.
My pick: I’ve previously tried their Almond & Sea Salt Caramel truffles and they were scrumptious. But my new fave is the truffle selection, which has three different flavours in one box. Who wouldn’t enjoy rhubarb and vanilla or almond caramel, especially knowing they’re full of healthy ingredients?
Vegan, organic, paleo, and soy free. What more do you want in a choccie!? HU is definitely another of the best vegan chocolate brands. This isn’t just chocolate without the guilt; it’s chocolate with unique flavour!
Interestingly, I wasn’t left with the sluggish feeling I usually get after eating a bunch of chocolate. Instead, this gave me a real burst of energy, making it a fabulous afternoon treat as a pick me up or a pre-gym snack.
My pick: If you’re looking for a healthy treat, their dark chocolate bar is a real winner. But if you want a hint of nuttiness, their cashew or almond butter flavours will satisfy that craving.
How adorable is the packaging on these bars? When a selection of Rococo’s bars came through the door that were all organic, vegan and both gluten and dairy free, I was so thrilled. The first thing I picked up on was the stunning artwork on these chocolates.
Back in 1983 , Rococo started when a young woman dared to chase her dream: sharing her love of real chocolate with the world. Following on from a Saturday job at the prestigious store Harrods, where she sold chocolate, Chantal’s passion began to grow. She realised her dream was to create her own magical emporium dedicated to luxury chocolates. In 1983, she managed to set up the first Rococo Chocolates shop on the Kings Road in Chelsea. Today, it has been rumoured that Chantal herself was the inspiration behind Joanne Harris’ book, Chocolat. (And if you’ve not read the book, it’s also a film with the hunky Johnny Depp – say no more).
My pick: Whilst the packaging on Rococo is faultless, it wasn’t just this that got massive brownie points from me; the chocolate itself deserves a medal. From basic Dark and Persian Lime, to Crystallised Ginger and Violet, these definitely cover the luxury spectrum of the chocolate market. If you’re looking to really woo someone this Valentine’s Day, Rococo does a gorgeous boxed selection containing fifteen different bars. Not all bars are vegan, but there is a section from which I sampled (and mentioned above).
4. No Whey, USA
Looking for a fancy box of choccies to gift? No Whey provides a delicious offering! Their Signature Truffle Collection includes a variety of five delicious flavors: “Milk” Fudge, Raspberry, Coffee, Salted Caramel, and Grand Marnier
These mouth-watering chocolates are all vegan, allergy friendly, and contain no artificial colours or flavours. However, be warned: some of these chocolates do contain corn and soy, so if those items are a problem, these probably aren’t for you. And there’s no guarantee the corn and soy are not GMO (we couldn’t find that info).
My pick: The coffee truffles are especially rich and decadent tasting. The milk truffles also had a luxurious feeling in the mouth, and really did taste milky!
I’ve known of Hotel Chocolat for some time. There’s a massive shop in my local shopping centre, so it’s pretty hard to miss. But it’s always refreshing when you discover that established brands are also creating vegan ranges. Hotel Chocolat creates the most gorgeous chocolate treats, and they now have a range that even vegan chocoholics can enjoy. Seriously, Chilli Penguin Chocolates? How could you resist?
They’re all packaged so beautifully! This is one of the best vegan chocolate brands for gifting. Hotel Chocolat were massively generous when sending me samples, and I had a tonne of vegan goodness to get through (tough job, I know…),
My pick: One bar that really stood out for me was the Hazelnut & Ginger. It had the most brilliant crunch to it from the hazelnuts and then this spiciness from the addition of the ginger. Another was their Gianduja Chocolate Bomb Selector. These are delicious truffle balls that are so smooth, I can only describe them as being like eating silk. Silk that tasted really rich and creamy, with nutty hazelnut praline, of course.
Wish you could get corner-store chocolate treats that were vegan, gluten free, and free of GMOs? Well, now you can, thanks to Unreal Chocolate! This is one of the best vegan chocolate brands for all kinds of ‘chocolate bar’ types of candies. Think: peanut butter cups, coconut ‘Bounty’ style bars, vegan ‘M&Ms’ and more! One great thing about this brand is that they use a bit less sugar than most. Perfect for us adults!
My pick: I’m one of those weirdos who’s just loca for Bounty bars. So when I discovered Unreal Chocolate’s coconut bars, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven!
7. Ombar, UK
Ombar produces raw chocolate that’s organic, vegan, gluten and dairy free. These choccies are a true testament to good things coming in small packages! Whilst Ombar bars may be small, don’t underestimate just how much flavour and richness has been crammed into one of these treats.
My pick: The Strawberry Mylk Bar was like devouring the most delicious creamy strawberry shake you’ve ever had! I also devoured the Tangy Green Tea & Lemon bar in minutes. Knowing I was getting an antioxidant boost from eating this just made it even more delicious! Ombar also now do chocolate buttons, which is the perfect treat if you have children who like a little chocolate treat every now and then.
We love the packaging of this company! I mean, why should chocolate always come in bars? This stuff comes in discs, instead. And those flavours! Really different, and sometimes, pretty exotic. Think: Guajillo Chili, Cacao Puro, Cinnamon, and Vanilla, for example.
The brand is inspired by Mexican chocolate traditions, and uses hand-grinding techniques for the cacao beans to get all the flavour! Taza is Certified USDA Organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, and vegan, of course. All of which makes them one of the best vegan chocolate brands in America.
My pick: Guajillo Chili surprised me. I’m not a huge fan of anything spicy, but this had just a touch of chili. It’s more a flavour than a texture, if you know what I mean. You taste the chili, but it doesn’t burn your tongue or anything. Different!
The Raw Chocolate Company’s founder Linus is all about raw foods, so it was natural he’d create a tasty range of raw chocolate bars. Lucky for us! These happy looking bars are all vegan, organic, gluten free, Fair Trade and kosher. Seriously, don’t these bars just make you instantly happy looking at them? Never underestimate the power of packaging. But what you really want to know is, what do these bad boys taste like?
Honestly? I think you need to sample them for yourself to really understand how insanely good these are, and why they’re another of the best vegan chocolate brands around.
My pick: The Raw Chocolate Co’s Vanoffee chocolate is now a staple in my cupboard. It’s like eating the creamiest vanilla based creme brulee, but in a chocolate bar. If you like your choccies a touch more bitter, then opt for the Vanoffe Dark bar. Another flavour I enjoyed was the Orange Raw Chocolate bar. Remember that chocolate orange ball you probably all enjoyed as a kid? This is a healthier, vegan version of that!
Montezuma’s is another of the best vegan chocolate brands. And it has the cutest background story! Meet Helen and Simon, a couple who fell in love. Both former lawyers, they left their jobs and took off to travel South America. Camping on a cocoa plantation meant they got to taste lots of delicious chocolates, and then they both had the same idea. Soon, Montezuma’s was born. In a little Brighton based shop, the couple handcrafted every single bar of chocolate they sold, making sure their cocoa was ethically sourced from plantations that met strict Fair Trade policies.
I was delighted to trial a selection of their range that is organic, vegan, gluten, egg, wheat, soya and dairy free. Their packaging is wonderfully eye-catching, and with such a versatile range of flavours, I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.
My pick: The first bar I tasted was Sea Dog. I know, strange name, but don’t think of the aroma of wet dog – think zesty lime and salty sea! So rich and creamy and with a real bite of lime, I was hooked. I cannot confirm nor deny that I ate the whole bar in one sitting. Another winner from Montezuma’s was their drinking chocolate. You literally plop these chocolate tablets into your favourite warm milk (almond was the best) and wait for the chocolate to melt, and create a stunning hot chocolate.
Hot chocolate not really your thing? Well, perhaps chilli hot chocolate may change your mind. It did for me!