The General Misconception
When you are asked to think about chocolates, what comes to mind. Do images of a sweet tasting, brown coloured bar come to mind? What if we told you that pure chocolates don’t taste anywhere as sweet as any of the milk or sweetened chocolates that you’re used to, or that pure chocolates are much healthier for consumption. If you’re surprised or confused, we want you to know that you aren’t alone. The vast majority of the population has such preconceived notions about chocolates’ taste because the chocolates that most people have consumed right from childhood have generally been sweetened, either by milk or by other sweeteners. Now that we’ve opened your eyes to this startling revelation, let's continue down the rabbit hole and see how chocolates are made, and where they deviate from their original and authentic taste. Speaking of misconceptions, you may be interested in check out the various myths that surround veganism! We've covered them in our blog - Myths about Veganism – Vegan Dukan.
How the Chocolates are made
While chocolate manufacturers all have their own variations of the manufacturing process for taste differentiation, we’ll focus on the general chocolate manufacturing process. Chocolates are made from cocoa beans. After being procured from farms, these beans are fermented, cleaned and then roasted. This creates the classic cocoa flavour that we are familiar with. The beans can be converted into either cocoa powder or cocoa butter. This cocoa butter is then poured into moulds, allowed to cool, and voila, chocolate, in its most natural form, is now ready. Just before this step is where chocolate deviates from its authentic taste. Before the cocoa butter is allowed to cool down, it is blended with additional cocoa butter, milk and some sweeteners to give it that sweet taste. While this is the process for regular milk chocolates, there are a lot of other types of chocolates as well. Their varieties include - unsweetened, dark, bittersweet, semi-sweet, milk, white, couverture, gianduja and candy-coating chocolate along with cocoa powder. Now that we’ve discussed the chocolate creation process and the various types of chocolates, let's find out what vegan chocolates are and which of these chocolates are vegan.
A vegan chocolate is simply one which does not include any animal-based ingredients, in any capacity. Having understood that, of all the varieties of chocolates listed above, the unsweetened, dark, bittersweet and semi-sweet varieties are generally vegan, however, it is always a good practice, especially for vegans, to check the ingredients label of chocolates and look for ingredients such as whey, casein, milk, milk fat, and milk solids. The milk or other dairy based ingredients which are added to chocolates to make them sweet, also make them less healthy for consumption, while not letting you experience the actual taste of cocoa. This brings us to why we should consider vegan chocolates in the first place?
What is the point of Vegan Chocolates?
After having read so much about vegan chocolates, some of you might be thinking, what’s the problem with milk chocolates? Why should we switch to vegan chocolates? Are they better in any manner or are we just trading the taste which we’re used to for the social tag of being ethical? Let us now walk through the benefits of vegan chocolates over all other alternatives.
- Contain antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, all of which are good for our health.
- Improve Heart Health
- Improve Brain Function
- Can lead to reduction of LDL Cholesterol
Here is what some of our customers had to say about some of the vegan chocolates which they bought from us.
- Good quality, Perfect dispatch, Liked the chocolate very much! - Piperleaf Vegan Milk Chocolate - Classic
- It's amazzzzzzingggg, vegan chocolates are amazing. I'm sure you'll forget the chocolates that are made using milk! - 41% Milk Chocolate with Pure Cacao / Cocoa - Couverture Vegan Mylk Chocolate 41% Milk Chocolate with Pure Cacao / Cocoa - Couverture Vegan Mylk Chocolate
- Tastes amazing and the flavours are not too overpowering but tangible. Can't even tell it's dairy free! - Toska Lychee & Rose - 55% Dark Chocolate
So, in summary, if you like the combination of great taste and good health, we feel that vegan chocolates are clearly the best way for you to have your cake and eat it too.
Alternatives to Milk Chocolates
So, does this mean that vegans are stuck with dark chocolates and can no longer enjoy the sweet tastes that are usually associated with milk chocolates? Luckily for all the vegans out there, a wide range of dairy milk alternatives have been introduced in the market. What’s even better for vegans, is that many companies have realised that they can use such milk alternatives as substitutes to the milks added in milk chocolates, thus creating delicious concoctions which retain the creamy and sweet flavours that we are used to, while also being vegan and healthy. If you've just heard about vegan milk for the first time, check out our blog - Vegan Milk: Types, Benefits, and Brands – Vegan Dukan for a deeper dive into vegan milk.
Introducing the Alternatives
With a few, rare exceptions such as bournville, the vast majority of chocolate brands that we’ve been introduced to, have been the ones making milk chocolates. Therefore, to help you in the process of choosing your next pure chocolate, we’re listing below the names of some of the lesser known chocolate manufacturers along with reviews from our customers who tried chocolates from these brands!
Darkins - Darkins is a premium Bean-to-Bar dark chocolate maker, who’s on a journey to create Indian-origin artisan chocolates, with a focus on promoting healthy food.They deal directly with cocoa farmers to ensure the best possible quality of cocoa beans and price for the farmers in Andhra Pradesh.They believe that the care, skill and attention to detail involved in making chocolates is what makes them special. It doesn’t just taste good, it also does good. They have 2 ranges of dark chocolates, one which increases in its cocoa quantity from 65 to 95% and the other which comes in a variety of flavours ranging from blueberry to cranberry and chilli.
Carra - Carra makes clean labelled and authentic bean to bar chocolates using only roasted cacao nibs and natural sweeteners. It might be interesting for you to know that dark chocolates are one of the most nutrient dense superfoods in the world and the people at Carra are on a mission to introduce you to the world of pure chocolate. They offer multiple ranges of chocolates which include a dark chocolate range which increases in cocoa quantity from 55% to 70%, a milk chocolate range which is made from vegan milk and a range of sugar free chocolates, all of which come in many exciting and truly mouth watering flavours.
MilkinOats - This innovative company strives to make vegan food and products accessible to everyone and bring awareness of the benefits of a plant-based diet to our society. They deeply believe in a greener, happier and fair environment where animals are viewed as living beings and their rights are valued. They are on a mission to diminish animal agriculture and provide sustainable plant-based food and beverages by delivering products that have maximum nutritional values. Their range of products includes chocolates, oat milks, and personal care products such as lotions and soaps.
Toska - Toska is a Premium Bean-to-Bar chocolate brand. Each and every single one of Toska’s chocolate bars is carefully handcrafted and made with fresh fruits, nuts, berries and flowers to give different flavors to every single chocolate bar that's made. Toska’s range of products revolves around sweet goodness and as such, includes dark chocolates, white vegan chocolates, luscious spreads and even truffle balls.
Piperleaf - Piperleaf is an ethical, vegan food company, which was started with the objective of introducing plant-based food products like chocolates, dairy alternatives, animal protein alternatives etc. Their motive is to make the society aware of the fact that plant-based food products can taste better than conventional animal-based food products, while also being healthy. Their Chocolates are Dairy and Gluten free, have no artificial additives, flavours or preservatives and no refined sugar and oil, use completely natural ingredients and are 100% plant based. They offer 2 ranges of chocolates, one dark and the other vegan milk.
Ambriona - They are an Indian chocolate brand, creating products to satisfy your sweet-tooth without impeding your daily healthy lifestyle choices. They formulate tailor-made products catering to one’s varying dietary needs. At Ambriona Chocolates, the mission is to change the perception of Made-In-India products by delivering products of top-notch quality. They offer chocolates and almonds. While their chocolates are all dark and come in regular and sugar free varieties, their almonds come in some really different flavours such as peri peri and barbeque.
A Diabetic Chef - The people at A Diabetic Chef believe that nothing should stop you from eating sweet confections, especially not sugar. None of their products have any sugar and their aim is to create a community of like-minded people who believe that diabetes is not a goodbye to their cravings because you can indulge yourself in some guilt-free treats. They are committed to providing the best quality of Zero Sugar confections. They offer a range of dark chocolates which come in a few distinctly tasty flavours such as Mocha and Crispies.
Sihi - If the abuse of cocoa trees with synthetics and improper harvesting continues as it is happening today, then Chocolate extinction will soon become a reality. Therefore in a bid to do its part, Sihi grows its own cocoa from trees in the Deccan Plateau. Their manufacturing process and their customized scientific roast temperatures together enhance the antioxidant profile, making it 7 times richer in antioxidants. In addition to this, the use of desi sugar, khandsari, adds both minerals and sweetness to the chocolate, making the entire cocoa experience, much more wholesome, satisfying and healthy. Sihi offers Cocoa Powder, cocoa nibs and mini chocolates which come in both dark and vegan milk flavours.
Chitram - This organization crafts chocolates, made with handpicked Cacao from Kerala and infused with popular Indian flavours. Their chocolates are not just delicious but extremely healthy owing to the use of alternate sugars like palm sugar, natural unprocessed cane sugar, Coconut sugar and Jaggery. Chitram’s range of chocolates come in dark and vegan milk varieties, and both of these come in a variety of unique flavours such as Pina Colada and Jaggery.
You can explore other dairy alternatives in our blog - Dairy Alternatives – Vegan Dukan