5 Chocolate Brands That Do More Than Taste Good

Posted by Kardish Team on Nov 01, 2016 /  comments

While chocolate makes a great gift over the holiday season, buying chocolate isn’t always easy. You may have a dietary restriction, or are shopping for a friend or family member who has one. You may be concerned about the quality of the ingredients, the environmental and ecological consequences of production, or the impact your purchase has on cocoa farmers in the global south.

The truth is, at many stores it can be a challenge to find a chocolate bar which you can feel genuinely good about. And there’s still the matter of taste, because if the chocolate doesn’t taste good, it’s going to make a lousy stocking-stuffer.

We’ve pulled together a list of five chocolate makers who not only make delicious chocolatebut go a step further by making their chocolate stand for something good.

Camino

The Camino chocolate label is made by the Ottawa-based La Siembra Co-operative, which works in partnership with 18 small-scale, organic co-operatives in 9 countries. La Siembra Co-operative imported cocoa under the Fairtrade Foundation’s guidelines before there was even a formal fair trade certification for chocolate, and became the first registered importer of Fairtrade-certified cocoa in North America in 2002.

What’s good?

  • Camino’s cocoa beans are shade grown, to help prevent soil erosion.
  • Camino’s chocolate is certified Fairtrade and Organic.
  • All of Camino’s chocolate bars are gluten-free. Camino also maintains a complete list of vegan and allergen-friendly bars on their website.

Be on the lookout for:

This holiday season Kardish will be carrying dark chocolate Santas, which are fairtrade, nut-free, and organic.

 

EnjoyLife

Finding a stand-in for milk chocolate can be a challenge when you’re avoiding dairy. When you also need to avoid contamination from gluten, wheat, peanut, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish, shellfish, sesame, sulfites, and potato, that challenge gets much harder. EnjoyLife knows that even the smallest exposure to these ingredients can cause immediate or delayed symptoms for those with severe allergies, which is why they offer allergy-friendly Ricemilk Chocolate and Ricemilk Crunch bars, in addition to their Chocolate Chips!

What’s good?

  • All of EnjoyLife’s products are free from the top 8 allergens, as well as casein, potato, sesame and sulfites.
  • EnjoyLife’s chocolate also manages to be certified vegan, non-GMO Project verified, and paleo-friendly.
  • EnjoyLife recently opened North America's largest dedicated allergy-friendly bakery.

Be on the lookout for:

EnjoyLife’s Ricemilk Chocolate bar, for those who miss the flavour of traditional milk chocolate.

 

Endangered Species

You may care about ethically traded, shade grown cacao, but how closely do you monitor where each ingredient is sourced from? To ensure that Endangered Species’ chocolate has a positive impact, this is the level of detail they go into: Whenever Endangered Species uses almonds, they use Bee-Friendly Almonds. You might think that Bee-Friendly Almonds would be easy to overlook in a chocolate bar, but it’s a small detail with a large impact. Each year, California's almond production makes use of roughly 85% of all available commercial beehives in the United States.

 

What’s good?

  • First American-made chocolate that uses fully traceable cocoa from West Africa.
  • Certified Fairtrade, Gluten-Free, Non-GMO Project Verified, and many of Endangered Species’ dark chocolate bars are also Certified Vegan.
  • 10% of Endangered Species’ net profits are donated each year to their GiveBack Partners.

Be on the lookout for:

Endangered Species’ Owl Sea Salt and Almond Chocolate Bar, which supports species conservation efforts worldwide.

 

Zazubean

We don’t need to hear about the health benefits of dark chocolate to have an excuse to buy a bar, but could the chocolate we eat do more for us? Zazubean is a Canadian chocolate maker that produces a line of bars that are not only made with premium ingredients like pomegranate, hazelnut, coconut sugar, and sea salt, but also contains superfood ingredients like maca root, açai berries, yerba maté and camu camu!

 

What’s good?

  • Zazubean is a woman-owned Canadian company.
  • Zazubean makes organic, fair trade chocolate with superfood ingredients.
  • For those who are avoiding dairy, Zazubean also has a line of “moo-less” chocolate made with coconut milk.

Be on the lookout for:

Zazubean’s Nutbar, made with almonds, coconut, and camu camu!

 

Theo

Theo is a Seattle-based chocolate maker named after the theobroma cacao plant, which cocoa is derived from. Theo does not just make chocolate with Fair Trade cocoa, they are also working in partnership with the Eastern Congo Initiative, which is a non-profit organization involved in advocacy and grant-making initiatives that benefits communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Theo's work with ECI and their farmer partners enables farmers to improve their earnings, gain greater access to healthcare, and send their children to school.

 

What’s good?

  • Working with the ECI, Theo has trained more than 4,500 Congolese farmers to grow high quality organic, fair trade cocoa, which increases farmer earnings.
  • Theo’s chocolate is certified Organic by the USDA, Non-GMO Project Verified, and Fair Trade by Fair for Life.
  • Theo has a line of dark chocolate that they identify as suitable for vegans.

Be on the lookout for:

Theo’s 70% Dark Chocolate Bar, which was featured as an essential item in Top Chef judge Gail Simmons’ travel bag.

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What is the most important factor when you’re buying chocolate? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments below, as well as on Twitter and Facebook. Kardish’s internal team of chocolate experts review every comment!

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