i’ve become a dark chocolate fanatic. i live for a hint of salt and almonds or a combination of chilies and cacao. i love how the complexity of flavors and the darkness of the chocolate forces me to sit back and enjoy the moment. it also helps that it doesn’t melt as quickly as milk chocolate does.
now, don’t get me wrong. i do enjoy a good milk chocolate bar. who can ever turn down lindt? or a reese’s peanut butter cup? but our food allergy test forced me to realize that milk chocolate doesn’t sit well with me. so i began to search out some other options for a severe chocolate craving and found that quality dark chocolate doesn’t contain milk. score. some brands are also gluten free, vegan, and dairy free. bonus. and thought these are a bit more expensive., these chocolate companies care about environmental sustainability, fair trade, organic and healthy food, and community development. who can argue with that?
living in seattle (ahem, even sammamish), has many positives. being green and healthy doesn’t just pertain to our health rating by american fitness. it has a tendency to trickle into products retailers purchase, services and products offered, and ultimately what the demand is from consumers. as a local, we’re also privy to some of the best dark chocolate around. it helps when a favorite chocolate factory resides in your backyard, theo chocolate. if you ever come to visit seattle, this is a must have local favorite. the tour is eye-opening, educational, multi-sensory, and leaves you with an endless supply of ‘tastings’ of all their local chocolate bars.
a few other awesome chocolate bar companies have creeped up on my radar. like theo, they too are organic, environmentally conscious, and are proponents of fair trade. alter-eco is an awesome company that doesn’t only work with farmers throughout the world for some of the best chocolate, but they have some of the most some combinations i, personally, have never heard of. dark chocolate cacao with crunch roasted nibs or dark chocolate quinoa. not only do they produce some amazing chocolate, but they also provide products like fair trade rice, quinoa, and sugar.
also, taza chocolate is a new brand that’s becoming well recognized. it’s all fair trade, environmentally sustainable and community focused. you might mistaken the taza chocolate discs for mexican drinking chocolate, but it’s not. it’s actually something you eat not drink and they come in the most amazing flavors. taza was actually the first brand that i found who made dark chocolate salted almond. even theo didn’t make it at the time. taza’s combinations are unlike any i’ve ever had. and i’ll be honest; i haven’t tasted a bad chocolate combination from them yet!
there’s a few others like dagoba chocolate, who make amazing bars and drinks. my favorites from dagoba are the lavendar blueberry, becoup berries, and new moon. one thing you may notice immediately is the price. though these are all relatively pricey in comparison to your regular hershey’s bar, the knowledge that i’m supporting local communities & farmers through fair trade practices; eating good, quality, organic food; and supporting and encouraging generations of skills and knowledge that might otherwise be erased; and supporting strong environmental and ecological practices assure me that it’s the best $4 i could have spent to subdue my sweet tooth. i hope you do as well.
from one chocolate lover to other, enjoy!