Friday is International Chocolate Day! Animal lovers, rejoice: there are so many craveable choices that are free of animal products. Here I review just a fraction of them. I pressed my vegan husband and five non-vegan friends into service as tasters — not that I had to press too hard. None of us had any idea what we were doing — not a gourmand in the lot — but we all appreciate chocolate. I came away with the conclusion that in chocolate, as in life, it’s different strokes for different folks, except that we all like crunch.
Here are my and their opinions in no particular order.
Pink Pepper & Citrus
Madecasse doesn’t just source its cocoa from Madagascar; it makes the chocolate there. The company says “this creates 4 times the impact of fair trade cocoa.” The Food Empowerment Project, which has a non-comprehensive list of vegan chocolates that are not made with foreign slave labor, okays Madecasse Chocolate. (The chocolate products I review that don’t mention the FEP were not necessarily dinged by it; it may just not have gotten to them yet.)
This bar was a little hard, but melted quickly in my mouth. I enjoyed the gentle, sweet citrus flavor, derived from combava fruit. Though hubby doesn’t go for chocolates with fruit, he thought this one combined the citrus well with the pepper.
The motto of Rescue Chocolate, which hand crafts its goods in Brooklyn, is “The Sweetest Way to Save a Life.” 100 percent of the chocolate’s net proceeds go to animal rescue groups. After sampling just about everything on this list, hubby called Rescue Chocolate “far and away the best.”
Peanut Butter Pit Bull
This bar is billed as “luscious dark chocolate with crispy peanut butter,” both of which it delivers. The sweet chocolate gives way with the gentlest bite to a filling of creamy peanut butter blended with crispy toasted rice. I was sluggish from downing scads of chocolate by the time I got to this one, yet I kept on eating it. It’s addictive. Hubby: “divine.” He said it was the best one he tried, and I think the same goes for me.
The label says that proceeds from Peanut Butter Pit Bull sales help make “dog fighting a thing of the past,” ensure “that dog laws focus on deed not breed,” and help “those working hard to place pit bulls in loving, responsible homes.”
Mission Feral Fig
Solid and harder than the Peanut Butter Pit Bull, this bar has a mild bitter taste. The whole almonds make it crunchy, and little figs add a welcome burst of sweetness. Sales of this variety bring “awareness to feral cat colonies. If there is a feral cat colony in your neighborhood, you can contact your local cat rescue group to find out about Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs for reducing the population humanely.”
The wrapper promises “a striking pastiche of coffee, hazelnut,” and dark chocolate. I don’t like drinking coffee but I feel more fondly towards it when it’s been smothered in chocolate. The bitterness of the coffee complements the sweet chocolate of this bar nicely. Hubby likes coffee a lot, and he said this one “hit the spot.” He barely tasted the hazelnut; I can’t say I did either. “But the coffee-chocolate combination works very well,” he concluded. Then he ate some more of it.
The wrapper says, “With Forever Mocha, we remember that our animals will love us forever. All dogs and cats deserve permanent, loving, life long homes.”
Photo credit: Thinkstock/iStockphoto
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
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