Exploring the Best Vegan Dark Chocolate from Around the World
Chocolate has always been a global indulgence, a delight spanning continents and cultures. But there's a fresh wave in the world of cacao: vegan dark chocolate. This isn't just about a treat that's dairy-free; it's about a choice, a statement of conscious indulgence. From the aromatic fields of South America to the bustling chocolateries of Europe, this exploration takes us on a rich journey to unearth the gems of vegan dark chocolate. Beyond the silky textures and deep flavors, these bars tell tales of sustainable farming, ethical practices, and a passion for preserving the purity of cacao. Ready to explore?
What Makes Chocolate Vegan
When it comes to vegan chocolate, there are distinct criteria that sets it apart. At its core, vegan chocolate celebrates the essence of cacao while ensuring none of its additional ingredients harm animals or exploit them in any way.
Absence of Dairy: One of the primary distinctions of vegan chocolate is its lack of dairy. While many chocolates, especially the milk variants, often incorporate milk solids, butterfat, or milk powder, vegan alternatives find their creaminess through plant-based substitutes. This could be through almond milk, soy, oat milk, or even creamy coconut milk.
No Animal-Derived Additives: Beyond dairy, chocolates can sometimes include hidden animal-derived ingredients. Additives like shellac (which provides a glossy finish and is derived from insects) don't make the cut in vegan chocolates. The focus is on ensuring every element in the chocolate bar is plant-based.
Ethical and Sustainable Production: Vegan chocolates often go hand in hand with ethical sourcing. This ensures that the hands that tend to the cacao trees and harvest the beans are rewarded fairly, and the environment is treated with respect.
Natural Sweeteners and Refined Sugars: While sugar is a plant-derived ingredient, its refining process in some cases involves bone char (sourced from animal bones). Many vegan chocolates opt for unrefined or natural sweeteners. However, it's important to note that some of the bars listed in this blog might use non-organic refined sugar.
Label Literacy: The surest way to determine if your chocolate is truly vegan is by familiarizing yourself with labels. Keep an eye out for terms like "dairy-free," "plant-based," or specific vegan certifications.
In summary, vegan chocolate embodies more than just a dietary choice—it's an ethos. It's about relishing the decadence of cacao while ensuring every ingredient aligns with a conscious, cruelty-free philosophy. And while the bars featured below steer clear of animal products and dairy, be mindful of the potential inclusion of non-organic refined sugars.
The Best Vegan Dark Chocolate from Around the World
Valrhona Araguani 100%
To create Araguani, Valrhona, selected Venezuela’s Sur del Lago region and its famously rich terroir to give the couverture a real aromatic complexity. 100% cocoa singularly reinforces chocolate flavor, enriching it as a taste experience to give a remarkable power. From its strikingly bitter essence, Araguani offers a rich and complex aromatic profile featuring warm notes (raisins, chestnuts) and hints of licorice.
OmNom Nicaragua 73%
A deep, earthy character is forefront reminiscent of mushroom, rye bread, red wine. This subtle dark chocolate showcases the delicate flavors of this fine Nicaragua cocoa.
Akesson's Brazil Forastero 75%
Grown on a historical Brazilian plantation, Forastero cacao's astonishing warm aroma is balanced with tart notes of the native pitanga fruit in 75% dark chocolate. The Pitanga fruit, also known as the 'Brazilian cherry', looks like a small pumpkin and has a sharp and sweet taste. Parasinho's Forestero cacao is the only variety grown on this Fazenda Sempre Firme plantation. Grown amid a forest with the highest biodiversity on earth, this exceptional cacao is distinctly Brazilian.
Original Beans Cru Udzungwa with Nibs 70%
Shop Chocolate Bar
Sabadi Rajah Organic Traditional Modica Chocolate w/ White Peppercorns 64%
The extraordinary aroma of the excellent cocoa Nacional Fino de Aroma from Ecuador in pleasant contrast with the spicy and balsamic notes of Sarawak white pepper.
Goodio Nordic Flavours, Metsä (Forest) 70%
Metsä (forest) is a bar of dark chocolate topped with forest crystals and dried birch leaves. This flavor features some of the building blocks of the Nordic forest landscape: birch and spruce.
Amedei Toscano Black 90%
Despite the high percentage of cocoa, is very creamy chocolate, with a very long flavor that leaves, in the end, a very clean palate. Its aromatic charge is persistent and is an invitation to further taste.
Naive Rough Ground Organic Chocolate 75%
Sub-tropical nights are so exceptionally dark! As you cannot see anything at all, other senses sharpen: you can hear more clearly and smell more intensely. A midnight orchestra of birds, insects and animals salute the darkness with their high-pitched tunes. Listen carefully as a cacophony turns into the best melody you have ever heard. Inhale so you can sense the aromas of all these exotic flowers and plants. Taste. Let the flavours of the jungle help you to understand the night.
Blanxart Nicaragua Eco-Organic 85%
This is a bar of organic dark chocolate made with 85% Criollo and Trinitario cocoa from Nicaragua. It is one of the smoothest 85% chocolate bars we have tried. Definitely a bar for those who are new to high percentage bars.
Cacaosuyo Lakuna 70%
This bar celebrates rare cacao hidden in the Peruvian Amazon region. A unique discovery of chocolate with fully floral and pronounced fruity flavors. Made with rare Criollo cacao, a noticeably strong floral aroma persists while it melts on the palate with added fruitiness.
Amano Macoris 70%
This is one of their newest single-origin bars. Made with beans from the Dominican Republic this bar has hints of apricot, caramel, brown sugar, and cream all held together with a rich earthy chocolate base.
Cuna De Piedra Comalcalco Tabasco 73%
The cacao Cuna de Piedra processes for this bar is a single-estate bean. Beyond “single-origin”, this cacao is sourced from a single grower, Malaquías, whose production is supported by Carlos, a young engineer. On Malaquías’ finca, several hundred cacao trees coexist with wild black pepper vines and various citrus species. Cuna de Piedra is proud to work closely with them to ensure fair wages and ongoing sustainable harvesting.
Vanilla Smoke Dark Chocolate Bar
For this inclusion bar, they've taken whole Madagascar vanilla beans and paired them with a hint of hickory smoked cacao and a touch of salt to create a fruity, floral twist with a nostalgic campfire finish.
Manoa Manako Mango 70%
About this Hawai'i Inspired Flavor: Historical accounts suggest Mangoes first arrived in the Hawaiian Islands before 1825. In Hawai’i, the fruit thrives with over 500 varieties across the islands! Mango season is a highlight of summer in Hawai’i and brings a pleasant sweetness to the heat. It is widely consumed fresh or preserved through pickling, chutney, and sauces.
Ritual Juniper Lavender 70%
Conjuring up the aroma of mountain meadows, lavender and juniper are ﬁnely ground into Mid Mountain Blend chocolate, whose taste lingers with a floral punch. The Lavender for this bar is sourced from Lavender Hill Farms in Eden, Utah. Combined with dried juniper berries, this bar is fit for flower fanatics.
Taza Organic Wicked Dark 95%
Perfectly unrefined, super intense 95% dark stone ground chocolate. This barely-sweet bar has just 2 grams of sugar per serving. It lets the bright fruity flavors of our cacao shout loud and proud!
Dick Taylor Belize Toledo 72%
This bar has an intense dried fruit flavor of plum and apricot. It has a nice firm snap, with bright acidity, and a long finish.
Raaka Pink Sea Salt 71%
A fruity, complex salted dark chocolate to end all salted dark chocolates. Made with single-origin cacao from Zorzal Cacao, a farm and fermentary within a bird sanctuary in the Dominican Republic, and sprinkled with Peruvian pink salt sourced from Salt of The Earth Co. We think New York Magazine said it best: this bar has a “deep, dark, mysterious flavor with hints of cherry; and a finish as long as a David Foster Wallace footnote.”
LetterPress Ashanti Ghana 100%
This chocolate bar has only 1 ingredient, this is the purest form of Ashanti Ghana they've ever made.
Asia & Oceania
Marou Ben Tre 78%
A bar of intense yet perfectly balanced chocolate, from the Ben Tre province in the Mekong Delta, where cacao trees are planted among the coconut groves.
As our journey through the world of vegan dark chocolate comes to an end, we are reminded of the profound artistry that goes into crafting these bars. From the aromatic South America to Europe, the world has embraced the ethos of veganism, turning it into an exquisite art form. Beyond just being dairy-free, these chocolates stand as a testament to sustainable farming, ethical practices, and the commitment to preserving the purity and essence of cacao.