5 of the best sustainable chocolate brands for health and wellness
As guilty pleasures go, we are, of course, a nation of choc obsessives, scoffing an estimated 11 kilos of the stuff over the course of a year – which breaks down to around three bars for each of us every week. And while the brown stuff gets a bad wrap, there are actually some health benefits. And hallelujah to that.
The Netherlands Journal of Medicine published a study which showed that cocoa contains biologically active phenolic compounds giving it antioxidant properties that could help in lowering cholesterol levels, preventing cognitive decline and reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems. The higher the cocoa content, the more benefits there are to be had.
BALANCE rounded up five of the best wellness chocs from small, ethical, eco-friendly brands and tried them out (as jobs go, we’ve had worse days).
£10.50 for a pack of 3, eatkyoot.com
They had us at the jazzy branding, to be honest. But Kyoot chocs are also organic and wholesome. They’re vegan, gluten-free, have zero fake sweeteners, give palm oil the swerve and are made from a chocolate base containing less than 7gs of refined coconut sugar and 70% cocoa. Losing so many things could also, of course, mean a swift departure of flavour but that is not the case – our ten year old tester (because could there be a tougher audience?) declared the crunchy salted caramel bar to be ‘rich and crunchy’, and he’s damn right on the texture front. Plus, a little goes a long way. Same goes for their more-appealing-to-grown-ups vanilla quinoa pops (yup, weren’t convinced about quinoa meddling in our beloved chocolate either but it adds a nice crispy dimension). They also have strong eco creds with their compostable ‘plastic’ made from renewable plant sources.
£7.99 for two 90g bars, superfoodio.com
One for peanut butter junkies, Superfoodio’s niche is blending peanuts with chocolate, and they even have a smooth or crunchy variety á la the stuff you put on your sourdough of a morning. This helps their bars pack a protein punch – 16g plant based protein per bar – and reduces the sugar by 45%, as well as being high in fibre. It wasn’t quite sweet enough for our youngest testers (they do have a rather high sugar tolerance threshold) but full thumbs up from the adults for it’s perfect marrying properties with a nice cup of tea and a sit down. Superfoodio packaging is also fully recyclable and the brand supports Oarsome Chance, a charity that helps disadvantaged kids through sport, so there’s your added feelgood factor, to boot.
£4.50 per box, goupiechocolate.com
A more decadent offering that could be gifted to your vegan (and not-so-vegan) loved ones, Goupie also has sustainable and ethical business award
s coming out of its ears. Their chocs are gluten-free and have added protein, and come in an awesome flavour range, including sesame butter (unusual) and salted sticky toffee (gooey deliciousness saved from being too rich by the salt sprinkles – it put our tester in mind of the bonfire night treacle toffee of their northern childhood, albeit far less tooth destroying). We’ll also be ditching the Terry’s chocolate orange habit in favour of their minis with orange oil and crunchy dried orange peel. Compostable packaging, too.
£1.59 per bag, mighty-small.co.uk
Our young tester actually said ‘Oh wow’ when he ate a Gnawble – and they could be honoured with no higher praise. Let’s call them a guilt-free Malteser, these gluten, dairy and palm oil free snacks are perfect mid-afternoon desk pick-me-ups and, with 39% less sugar, you shan’t be crashing come 4pm. They’re ultra crispy, taste a little corn-like for choc popcorn lovers (we all know the M&S version that dreams were made of), and we found them particularly pleasing after trying a whole lot of heavier, richer choc offerings, which means the whole bag went down easily in one go (the sacrifices we make in the testing process). As we’ve come to expect, the packaging is also fully compostable.
Body and Mind Botanicals
£6.99 per 50mg bar, bodyandmindbotanicals.com
The only problem with these handcrafted, 71% Dark Chocolate bars, which come in three flavours – plain, mint and orange – is they taste so ridiculously good it’s incredibly tempting to eat the whole thing in a single sitting. But, really, don’t eat the whole thing in a single sitting… Each bar contains, on average, enough CBD per person for 12 days and each bar is split into 3 squares, so you simply eat a quarter of each square per day.
The organic cold pressed cannabis oil in the chocolate, which comes from the Baltic region, offers a 3-2 blend of CBDa and CBD. CBDa which, for those not in the know, is thought to be excellent for helping with issues like anxiety and nausea as well as being an anti-inflammatory. The CBD strength is 1mg per gram of chocolate which equates to 50mg per bar.
If you’ve tried other CBD edibles, you’ll be more than familiar with the slightly peppery, petrol after-taste that can accompany some products, but you get none of that with these little bliss bars. You’d never know CBD was even an ingredient, they just taste like the best chocolate you’ve ever eaten. All three flavours are delicious and they even do grown up chocolate buttons.