It’s kind of funny that I am writing the “chocolate edition” blog entry right after doing a blog entry on not being obese anymore! Oh well....chocolate is what life is all about (in moderation, course). I eat chocolate almost daily. When Bitchcakes did a blog entry on different types of chocolate, I decided it was such a good idea that I would also do a “chocolate edition.” Fortunately, chocolate is something I can usually have in the house without going crazy. I just keep it with the baking supplies and just get out what I am going to eat. I never leave it out on the counter because then I would eat it all of the time for sure. But keeping it put away doesn’t really tempt me unless I know I have the points to have some chocolate after dinner. I have tried all different kinds of vegan chocolates. Some of them are very expensive and some can actually be quite affordable. It’s taken some time, but I have navigated my way around the “accidentally vegan” chocolate market. I live in a small, rural area in North Carolina. I am very lucky to have a wonderful grocery store that carries basically everything I need, however, when it comes to chocolate bars, they mostly have Snickers, M&Ms, Milky Ways, etc. You get the point. Not a lot of vegan chocolate options in the town I live in. But I have found that CVS has a pretty good selection of dark chocolate bars and many of them happen to be vegan and even the two grocery stores I shop at have one or two chocolate bars that just so happen to be vegan. This is what I go to in chocolate emergencies. However, if I am well stocked, I will have the IKEA dark chocolate bars on hand. Right now, it’s my favorite chocolate. It’s vegan, cheap and delicious. You can’t go wrong. You can get 3 bars for $2.49! That’s a steal in the world of dark chocolate. So, I have compiled a list of all of my favorite chocolates I have found. Some are easy to find at most stores, while others may be a little more difficult. I will try to provide as much information as I can about the chocolate. So, here’s the list:
IKEA dark chocolate bar—As I mentioned before, this is currently my favorite chocolate for three reasons: vegan, cheap and delicious. The fact that it’s cheap is great! Chocolate can be such a splurge sometimes (with calories and money) but the IKEA chocolate is very affordable. I live about 2 1/2 hours from Charlotte and that’s where the closest IKEA is. I don’t make it to Charlotte often, but I have made it a routine stop to go by IKEA to buy up a lot of chocolate when I am in town. Last time we went to Charlotte we bought 45 of the chocolate bars. Which brings me to another thing I love about this chocolate—the packaging is airtight so the chocolate doesn’t dry out and get brittle and nasty. I get so mad when I buy a $5 chocolate bar just to have to throw it away b/c its all dried out. I hate that! I haven’t had that happen once with the IKEA dark chocolate. Try it if you are near an
Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips—I have been using these chocolate chips for several years now. Ghirardelli is one of the more expensive chocolate chip brands you can buy at the store, but I think they are the best. What I love about these is that I can bake with them or just measure some out on my scale and eat them as is for dessert. They have a great taste for just being chocolate chips. You can find these at almost every grocery store. Just be careful, not all of the Ghirardelli chocolate chips are vegan. I think this might be the only one that turns out to be vegan.
Ghirardelli Intense Twilight Chocolate Squares—I think what I like about these the most is that they are individually wrapped (wasteful, yes, but very helpful with portion control). It’s so much easier to just be able to eat one of these b/c they are individually wrapped as opposed to a chocolate bar that you can go and break more off of. Once again, not all varieties of the squares are vegan. Just check the ingredients. I have found these at CVS and other major grocery stores like Target.
Lindt 70% dark chocolate bar—This might come in second to the IKEA chocolate-I’m not sure. I really like this chocolate. I found this chocolate at my regular grocery store on the candy isle with the other “fancy” chocolates. It’s also reasonable in price. I think I paid less than $2.50 for one bar. (Not as good as the IKEA deal but beggars can’t be choosers in the town I live in!)
Starbucks dark chocolate bar—This was a surprising find while traveling on the road this holiday season. They sell these up at counter. Once again, check the labels. Starbucks sells quite a few chocolates so make sure what you are getting is vegan. This chocolate bar is smaller than most dark chocolate bars and comes in at less than $2. It is a nice, sweet dark chocolate-not bitter. Some dark chocolate s are a little too bitter for me. This one is not. ***I wasn't able to find a link directly to this chocolate bar so I just did a link for Starbucks.***
-Trader Joe’s chocolates (They have so many vegan varieties! If you are near a Trader Joe’s, go check them out. They even have a website that lists all of their vegan items. You could do your research before you go so you would know for sure and could narrow it down. I have loved every chocolate I have tried there.)
-Green & Black’s Maya Gold-This chocolate bar has some different spices in it. It has an orange taste mixed with some other spices. It’s exotic and delicious. It’s more expensive and harder to find. I usually buy this one at Whole Foods or Earth Fare.
-Chocolove’s Cherry and Almonds-Chocolove brand has a lot of great vegan chocolate bars. I have not tried all of them. I love that this brand also has some unusual flavor combinations. It’s exciting to see some of the chocolates they come sell! I typically find this brand at Whole Foods and Earth Fare.
-Divine brand dark chocolate-I have only had this kind of chocolate a few times but it’s really good. It’s a more expensive chocolate and it’s harder to find. However, it’s very tasty if you can find it.
-Endangered Species Brand chocolate-Once again, not all of these are vegan. However, many of the varieties are. A portion of the proceeds goes to protect endangered species. When I buy this brand of chocolate, it's usually the individually packaged kind at Target or at a health food store such as Whole Foods.