Organic Chocoholics United

by Shicana Allen

After centuries of being merely a decadent culinary indulgence and proposed aphrodisiac, chocolate has come of age. It has experienced a sort of rebirth and renewal, achieving the status of both delicacy and “socially responsible, functional” citizen on the world stage…or so states the wrappers of Good Cacao chocolate bars. The company, who works with Rainforest Alliance sustainable farms, sells vegan, non-GMO, trans fat- and gluten-free, superfood chocolate in biodegradable packaging, infusing it with exotic herbs, nutraceuticals, probiotics, and other immune- and energy-enhancing ingredients. Such newfangled, eco-conscious delicacies have taken up residence in health food stores, expos and festivals, online catalogs, specialty shops, and even mainstream supermarket displays dedicated to natural foods.

The evolution and sophistication of chocolate has given this commodity the opportunity to cater to diverse markets. As it turns out, raw cacao powder (the result of pulverized cacao beans, from which chocolate is derived) contains up to three times more antioxidants than roasted cocoa powder, prompting uncooked versions to be categorized as “superfood.” In addition, chocolate wrappers and packages boast a variety of other qualities, many of them dependent upon what has NOT been added: “non-dairy” and therefore suitable for vegans; “gluten-free” and therefore suitable for celiacs; “sugar-free” varieties sweetened with Stevia suitable for diabetics and dieters alike. And more than ever, consumers are demanding that food products be certified GMO-free. Although pure cacao is not a concern in this arena (not having been approved for genetic tampering), other ingredients used to formulate chocolate could be: sugar derived from beets (organic sugar, cane sugar, and evaporated cane juice are safe), corn syrup and other corn-derived products (ie. maltodextrin, dextrose), dairy (used routinely in milk chocolate), aspartame, erythritol, soy lecithin, and soy, canola, and cottonseed oils.

Not only does the tasty, sultry cacao bean appear in a wide variety of manifestations—bars, cups, drops, beverage powders, nibs, and baking squares—it is also mixed and mingled with other ingredients to create some truly mouth-watering, unique concoctions: Lavender Blueberry, Orange Mandarin, Lemon Ginger, Cherry Almond, Spiced Chili, Hazelnut Currant, Cordyceps Maca. Today’s “hip” chocolatiers are also frequently infusing their confections with a variety of alternative, natural sweeteners: Stevia, Honey, Yacon, and Maple Syrup, amongst others.

More than ever, chocolate companies are now recognizing the cultural, economic, and environmental impacts of growing and harvesting cacao beans. This has resulted in new fair trade and sustainable farming practices that focus on helping indigenous peoples, endangered species, and vulnerable habitats around the world. The wrappers of companies such as Endangered Species and Sweet Riot have even become colorful, museum-quality canvases for artistic messages and wildlife portraits whose causes are often displayed more prominently than the flavor itself. Do you want the wrapper sporting the tiger or the rhino?  Yes, chocolate has now officially turned green (hence, the name of one company, “Green and Black’s”–not anyone’s last names, but a moniker invented to portray the combination of ecological awareness and the richness of dark chocolate).

Below, you’ll find a partial list of CHOCOLATIERS who sell a variety of gourmet, raw, and overall healthy versions of the one confection that so many of us can’t live without.

HEALTHY, NON-GMO CHOCOLATIERS

ALTER ECO

*Non-GMO Project Certified

Organically grown / Fairly Traded / Vegan

Soy-free, Gluten-free, No artificial flavors, No emulsifiers

www.alterecofoods.com/products/chocolate

 

ANGEL CHOCOLATES

Owner:  Richard Helmsley

To order, call: (530) 715-0595

Produces raw, gourmet, superfood chocolate

I tasted a sample of incredible custom-made holiday chocolate containing: ginger, cinnamon, soaked dehydrated almonds, pecans, raisins, mulberries, mesquite powder, rice tocotrienols, sweetened with Yacon syrup and honey.

www.AngelChocolates.com

 

CHOCOLATLE

Powerful and unique blends of health-building, rejuvenating, and energizing superfood raw chocolate. Inspired by the ancient healing and ceremonial uses of chocolate dating back thousands of years in Mesoamerican cultures. Created by Deanna Moore’s passion for ecological sustainability and holistic health, her ideas for creating a superfood cacao treat were inspired by travels to fair trade cacao cooperatives, family farms and tropical permaculture sites in Ghana, Hawaii, India, and all over North America where she observed and learned methods of growing, processing and preparing chocolate, from seed to mouth.

“The Pollinate Bar”: Organic raw cacao infused with honey and pollen

“Cordyceps Maca”: To boost immune system and enhance mood

Laguna, California

(949) 981-8067

http://www.flowfoodschocolatl.com/

Distributed also by Honey Colony:

http://www.honeycolony.com/shop/chocolatl-cordyceps-maca-raw-chocolate-2/

 

COCO POLO

Gluten-free / Sugar-free / Stevia-sweetened, Non-GMO

Infused with Inulin Prebiotic

“Our Erythritol is naturally fermented from non-GMO corn”

www.CocoPolo.com

 

DAGOBA ORGANIC

Drinking chocolate and chocolate bars

Most imaginative flavor:  Lavender Blueberry

Xocolatl Dark Bar (74% cacao): Cacao nibs, chilies, and rich dark chocolate recreate the Aztecs’ enchanting elixir.

www.DagobaChocolate.com

 

DIVINE ORGANICS

Owner: David Kaplan

Wholesale distributor working with farmers in seven countries

Chocolate sweetened with maple sugar

Pili Nut Butter from Polynesia that tastes like a healthy version of Nutella

www.DivineOrganics.com

 

ENDANGERED SPECIES CHOCOLATE

*Non-GMO Project Certified

Cocoa Beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified Farms

Ethical Trade: “We buy our cacao from small family-owned properties, helping sustain the habitats and communities that exist.”

“10% of net profits donated to help support species, habitat, and humanity.”

www.ChocolateBar.com

 

GOOD CACAO

“Socially Responsible, Functional Chocolate”

Works with Rainforest Alliance

Vegan / Gluten-free / Transfat-free / Non-GMO

No preservatives or additives

Biodegradable package

Flavors include: Lemon Ginger, Mandarin Orange

Superfood Ingredients: Heirloom Ecuadorian Chocolate, Raw Lucuma, Maca, Cupuacu, Baobab, Madagascar Vanilla

Nutraceutical ingredients: Lutein, DHA, Probiotics, Immune Enhancers

www.GoodCacao.com

 

GREEN AND BLACK’S CHOCOLATE

Chocolate Bars, Hot Chocolate Mix

Organic: CCOF Certified

Flavors: Spiced Chili, Hazelnut Currant

http://us.greenandblacks.com/our-products

 

KARMA KATCHER CHOCOLATES

THE GREAT UNBAKED 

Slogan: “Un-Guilt Your Chocolate”

Award-winning Vegan Chocolate and Baked Goods

Organic / Natural Sweeteners / Gluten-free / Dairy-free / Non-GMO

“Raw chocolate = no roasting and less processing. Translation: Incredible antioxidant power for boosting your immune system. Raw cacao powder contains up to three times more antioxidants than roasted cocoa powder. Who knew that chocolate was actually a superfood with superpowers?”

(541) 450-9080

www.KarmaKatcherChocolates.com

www.TheGreatUnbaked.com

 

LILY’S SWEETS

Gluten-free / Sugar-free / Stevia-sweetened / No-GMO / Fair Trade

www.LilysSweets.com

 

NEWMAN’S OWN ORGANICS

Peanut Butter Cups (three flavors) and Chocolate Bars

Organic Certified by Oregon Tilth

Cocoa Beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified Farms

 

NIBMOR

Chocolate Bars and Drinking Chocolate sweetened with Coconut Palm Sugar

Organic / Vegan / No-GMO / Free Trade / No refined sugar, dairy, gluten

www.NibMor.com

 

SWEET RIOT

Organic / Gluten-free / Non-GMO / Fair Trade

“Sweet Riot supports fair trade and sourcing exclusively in Latin America, which directly supports a better life for families through fair prices and direct trading. Sweet Riot puts artwork on every package and celebrates culture and diversity along the way. We’re building a sweet movement to save the world. A riot never happens alone; join us!

www.SweetRiot.com

 

THEO CHOCOLATE

*Non-GMO Project Certified

Organic / Vegan / Fair Trade

Special Valentine’s Day flavors: My Cherry Baby, Cinnamon Love Crunch

Other great flavors: Ginger and Raspberry (dark chocolate)

www.TheoChocolate.com

 

WHOLE LIFE SUPERFOODS

Owner: Rock Caldwell

Portland, Oregon

Superfood Chocolate; Sweeteners in bulk packages: Coconut Palm Sugar, Yacon

(619) 892-0076

www.WholeLifeSuperfoods.com

 

eco_certified_rainforest_allianceThe Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal guarantees that cacao beans and other agricultural products are grown on farms that meet comprehensive standards for sustainable farming, protecting soil, waterways and wildlife habitat, as well as the rights and welfare of workers, their families and local communities.

www.rainforest-alliance.org

 

Shicana Allen has been a health, environmental, and food safety advocate, writer, reporter, and public speaker for over 20 years.

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