Not only is vegan chocolate easy to find, the best brands offer truly exceptional quality. If you’re new to eating vegan foods, vegan chocolate won’t disappoint you.
The first thing you need to know about chocolate is that most of the good stuff is vegan. In fact, most chocolate connoisseurs consider milk chocolate to be an abomination. Dark chocolate is the real stuff.
That raises the question: is dark chocolate vegan? Most of the time it is. Unfortunately, several brands of dark chocolate, including Hershey and Ghirardelli, contain whey or other milk products. So always check the ingredients.
Vegan Chocolate Varieties
When it comes to chocolate, the spectrum of quality is as wide as that of wine. Every brand of dark chocolate that aspires to being taken seriously will list its percentage of cocoa mass on the package. The higher the percentage, the stronger the chocolate flavor, but this also bring more bitterness. Once you reach 80 percent you’re heading into the territory favored by chocolate connoisseurs. Lindt and some other brands even have 90% offerings, which is only for the seriously committed, and akin to drinking Wild Turkey 101 neat.
Dark chocolate might initially seem unpleasantly bitter. If you grew up devouring Hershey Kisses and Nestle Crunch Bars, it may take you some time to acquire a taste for 80+ percent chocolate. Perhaps the best way forward is to start with vegan chocolate in the 70 percent range, and then gradually work your way up to higher percentages.
But if what you’re really craving—chocolate snobs be damned—is the mild flavor of milk chocolate, fear not; three all-vegan companies offer what you’re seeking:
Fair-Trade Dark Chocolate
Much of the world’s chocolate—even expensive gourmet vegan dark chocolate—is produced by exploited or enslaved workers. The Washington Post reported in 2019 that, “…the odds are substantial that a chocolate bar bought in the United States is the product of child labor.”
Fortunately, many vegan chocolate brands carry a fair-trade label. The best resource to learn more about fair-trade chocolate is through this regularly-updated list published by the Food Empowerment Project.
Although Amazon.com has great prices on most products, they fall short when it comes to chocolate. Many of the vegan chocolates they carry are quite overpriced. But they do have a few good deals. Here are the vegan fair-trade chocolates Amazon generally keeps in stock:
- Endangered Species 72% Dark Chocolate with Cocoa Nibs
- Equal Exchange Organic Extreme 88% Dark
- Green & Black’s Organic 85% Dark, Organic 70% Dark, and Organic 60% Dark w/Hazelnuts & Currants
Vegan Chocolate Companies
There are plenty of companies that make both vegan chocolate and non-vegan varieties. But more than a dozen companies churn out only vegan products, and pretty much all of these companies are fair-trade as well. Here’s our list.
- Charm School Chocolates
- Dear Coco
- Go Max Go Foods
- Lagusta’s Lucious
- LuLu’s Chocolate
- Manifest Chocolates
- Missionary Chocolates
- Obsessive Confection Disorder
- Raaka Chocolate
- Rescue Chocolate
- Rose City Vegan Chocolatier
- Sjaack’s Organic Chocolates
- Wei of Chocolate