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, and most dark chocolate is vegan. Unfortunately, several brands of dark chocolate contain whey or other milk products, so always check the ingredients.
When it comes to chocolate, the spectrum of quality is as wide as that of wine. Every brand of dark chocolate that even aspires to being taken seriously will have a percentage of cocoa mass listed on the front of its package. The higher the percentage, the stronger the chocolate flavor, but also the more bitter the chocolate will be. 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.
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 dark 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; there are three all-vegan companies that have got you covered:
Much of the world’s chocolate—even expensive gourmet dark vegan chocolate—is produced by exploited or enslaved workers. 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.
Considering Amazon.com has great prices on most things, their vegan chocolate selection leaves much to be desired. Most of the vegan chocolates they carry are quite overpriced, but there are a few notable exceptions. Here are the vegan fair-trade chocolates Amazon generally keep in stock:
- Endangered Species 72% Dark Chocolate with Cocoa Nibs
- Equal Exchange Organic Extreme 88% Dark
- Green & Black’s Organic 85% Dark
- Green & Black’s Organic 70% Dark
- Green & Black’s Organic 60% Dark w/Hazelnuts & Currants
Vegan Chocolate Companies
There are plenty of companies that make both vegan and non-vegan chocolates. 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
- Sacred Chocolate
- Sjaack’s Organic Chocolates
- Wei of Chocolate