I Tried 14 Different Vegan Chocolate Bars

 

What’s the point?

I thought it would be fun (and an excellent excuse) to try as many vegan chocolates in Edinburgh as I could find. Granted I missed a few, like Tesco’s Dark Chocolate and Hotel Chocolat, but I think I did a solid job.

Why vegan?

I am not vegan, but I do have stomach issues when I eat dairy so I like to avoid it if I can. Therefore, vegan chocolate is my go-to.

If you did not know, most dark chocolate, if not all, is vegan by default.

The only reason some chocolates will say “suitable for vegetarians” but not mention vegans, even though there are no animal byproducts in the ingredients, is because of the chance of cross-contamination with milk. So if a company makes milk chocolate as well as vegan chocolate in the same area, that’s a risk of it “may containing dairy”. 

If you dare to risk it, take a look at the back of your chocolate to check the ingredients and if it’s all vegan, go wild!

 
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The ultimate “food of the gods”

The first lovers of chocolate date back to 2000 BC with the Mayans. They worshipped the cacao* tree and considered cacao “the food of the gods.” They would drink a fermented cacao mixture at the end of their meals for health and vitality benefits. *Cacao is the seed that makes chocolate.

Learn how chocolate is made from cacao with Brad Leone from Bon Appétit!

Today, many of us might still agree that chocolate is the “food of the gods”. It is the most beloved indulgence. Dark chocolate over 70% cocoa is considered a superfood because of its rich nutrients—iron, magnesium, and zinc to name a few. While there are studies to suggest cocoa’s health benefits, it doesn’t mean you should eat pounds of chocolate a day. But in moderation, you can eat chocolate daily and still stay on track with your fitness goals.

Every day I make sure I can fit chocolate into my calorie-intake. Once I learned that I didn’t have to give up chocolate to get in shape (which I tried), I actually managed to stick to a healthy lifestyle of tracking what I ate while still enjoying the food I loved most every single day. 

Some of these chocolates are found worldwide, some are UK based, and some are Scotland-based. All of which are vegan and, though I might be a tough critic at times, all of these chocolates are worth testing for yourself

Just to note: I’m giving the calories and macronutrients per 30 grams—I think 30 grams is a good baseline. I know I’d be happy eating 100 grams in one sitting but for the sane chocolate eater (is there such a thing?), 30 grams is plenty.

Soya* or sunflower lecithin: Some chocolates have “soya or sunflower lecithin” as an ingredient. This is an emulsifier, a substance that helps two things mix together well—such as cocoa butter and cocoa solids. It makes it velvety and smooth. Lecithin is an essential fat found in the body and in many foods. *American friends, the Brits say “soya”, and we say “soy”.


The review

 
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**EDinburgh-based**
Coco Chocolatier, “Hazelnut & Isle of Skye Sea Salt”

Cost: £4.50 Cocoa: 60% 
Main ingredients: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, soya lecithin, natural vanilla flavor, hazelnuts, Isle of Skye sea salt 
Per 30 grams: 170 calories, 2g of protein, 15g of carbohydrates, 11g of fat
Taste: Smooth texture and hard to bite into, but in a good way if you know what I mean. The salt gives it a delicious finish that makes you want to continuously eat more. 
Taste Rating: 5 out of 5
Where to Buy: Stockbridge & Bruntsfield, Edinburgh store 
More about this brand: https://cocochocolatier.com/ This is an Edinburgh-based company with their own shops but they also sell their chocolate in cafes around town. They have drinking chocolate as well as chocolate truffles. They’ve got a range of interesting flavors, including Haggis Spice! 


 
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**EDinburgh-based**
Chocolate Tree, “Chililique Peru”

Cost: £4.95 Cocoa: 70%
Main ingredients: Organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter
Per 30 grams: 169 calories, 3g of protein, 15g of carbohydrates, 11g of fat
Taste: This melted really well and as you chew, the flavors come out. There’s a licorice after-taste and a certain bite to it but it’s unlike any other chocolate I’ve had. You can tell it’s high quality. It actually won the International Chocolate Awards in Britain in 2017!
Taste Rating: 4 out of 5
Where to Buy: Chocolate Tree in Bruntsfield, Edinburgh as well as other shops around Edinburgh
More about this brand: https://www.choctree.co.uk/  This is an Edinburgh based company. Their chocolate is handcrafted in Scotland and they serve many types of chocolate, drinking chocolate, vegan cakes, and vegan ice cream as well. If you visit, you must try their range of dark hot chocolates! 


 
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**best tasting**
Conscious, “Plain Jane”

Cost: £3.00 Cocoa: 70%
Main Ingredients: cacao butter, agave nectar (15%), cacao powder, coconut butter, wild carob, cinnamon, Himalayan salt
Per 30 grams: 181 calories, 2g of protein, 11g of carbohydrates, 14g of fat
Taste: This chocolate will melt to the touch. It melted in my bag a little when I brought it home so I put it in the fridge for a few hours, then… WOW this chocolate was smooth, it was buttery, it was light. There’s a slight bitter-chocolate taste and the taste of cocoa powder that it’s coated in, with a salty aftertaste. This chocolate was bomb. 
Taste Rating: Hands down a 5 out of 5!
Where to Buy: Real Foods, and a list of stockists can be found here: http://www.consciouschocolate.com/stockists/
More about this brand: http://www.consciouschocolate.com/  All their products are suitable for vegans. They have over 10 different flavours from mint to orange. 

 
 
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**best tasting**
Doisy & Dam, “Coconut & Lucuma”

Cost: £2.50 Cocoa: 74%
Main ingredients: cocoa mass, cane sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla powder. coconut flakes, lucuma, coconut extract
Per 30 grams: 167 calories, 2g of protein, 10g of carbohydrates, 13g of fat
Taste: I know this isn’t solely chocolate but I can’t find a bar that isn’t just chocolate from this company. I wanted to include it because it’s really freaking good. The chocolate is thin and smooth, and there’s a satisfying crunch to it from the coconut. The flavor is delicious. I’m a little bit obsessed. 
Taste Rating: 5 out of 5
Where to Buy: Sainsbury’s, Holland & Barrett, WHSmith (at the Edinburgh Airport)   
More about this brand: https://doisyanddam.com/ They have a vegan range with unique combinations like goji & orange and maple, toasted rice & pink salt.


 
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Divine, “Deliciously Rich Dark Chocolate”

Cost: £2.60 Cocoa: 70% 
Main ingredients: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier: sunflower lecithin, vanilla
Per 30 grams: 172 calories, 2g of protein, 10g of carbohydrates, 14g of fat
Taste: My initial reaction to the first bite was Advent Calendar chocolate at Christmastime. This chocolate tastes the most like classic milk chocolate of this list. It doesn’t melt very well and gets sticky as you chew, and a bit crunchy, but at the end there isn’t much flavor in the after-taste. 
Taste Rating: 3 out of 5
Where to Buy: Real Foods, Waitrose
More about this brand: http://www.divinechocolate.com/us/ Made in Ghana. Lots of dark chocolate options with different percentages.  


 
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Green & Black’s, “Dark 70%”

Cost: £2.00 Cocoa: 70%
Main ingredients: organic cocoa mass, organic raw cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, emulsifier (soya lecithin), organic vanilla extract 
Per 30 grams: 168 calories, 3g of protein, 11g of carbohydrates, 13g of fat
Taste: There’s a strange black licorice flavor in the first bite of this. It melts well in your mouth but has a stone-fruit after-taste. It doesn’t really taste like chocolate, in my opinion. It tastes like something else entirely. 
Taste Rating: 1.5 out of 5
Where to Buy: Real Foods, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose
More about this brand: https://www.greenandblacks.co.uk/ This brand has a huge range you can find in almost any store, from milk, dark, white, to baking chocolate and more.


 
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IQ Chocolate, “Cocoa-Nib Crunch”

Cost: £1.99 Cocoa: 72%
Main ingredients: organic cocoa beans, organic coconut blossom sugar, organic cocoa butter, cocoa solids 72% min
Per 30 grams: 169 calories, 3g of protein, 10g of carbohydrates, 13g of fat 
Taste: Because of the bits of “cocoa-nib crunch”, this was crunchy with bits of what tasted like dried plant. The crunch of this surprise ingredient lacked in flavor and was more or less distracting of a taste. Overall, not much flavor. 
Taste Rating: 2 out of 5
Where to Buy: Real Foods, http://www.iqchoc.com/find-our-nearest-stockists/
More about this brand: http://www.iqchoc.com/ Their chocolate products use “organic coconut blossom nectar” which is a superfood high in potassium, magnesium, zinc, and iron 


 
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Lindt, “Excellence 85% Cocoa”

Cost: £2.00 Cocoa: 85%
Main ingredients: cocoa mass, fat-reduced cocoa, cocoa butter, demerara sugar, vanilla
Per 30 grams: 162 calories, 4g of protein, 6g of carbohydrates, 14g of fat
Taste: Because of it’s higher cocoa percentage, this had a definite bitter taste and dry texture to it. It’s crisp and melts fairly well in your mouth. It’s good for being a popular brand, but it’s not up to par with single-origin chocolates.
Taste Rating: 3 out of 5
Where to Buy: Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, most grocery chains 
More about this brand: https://www.lindt.co.uk/ This extremely popular brand can be found worldwide. They sell truffles as well as a huge array of different chocolates. My favorite is dark sea salt. 


 
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Loving Earth, “Creamy”

Cost: £1.75 Cocoa: 47%
Main ingredients: evaporated coconut nectar, virgin cacao butter, coconut (23%), raw cacao beans
Per 30 grams: 187 calories, 1g of protein, 13g of carbohydrates, 15g of fat
Taste: This is very buttery and sweet, but has an overpowering taste of coconut that overshadows the taste of chocolate. It’s more like eating chocolate-flavored coconut. 
Taste Rating: 2 out of 5
Where to Buy: Real Foods, Planet Organic https://lovingearth.co/store_locator
More about this brand: https://lovingearth.co/ Sustainable brand with compostable chocolate wrappers. Their chocolate comes from cacao grown by the Ashaninka community in Peru


 
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Montezuma’s, “Very Dark” 

Cost: £0.99 for 30 gram bar Cocoa: 73%
Main ingredients: organic cocoa mass 67%, organic sugar 25%, organic cocoa butter 8%, organic natural flavoring (vanilla)
Per 30 grams: 172 calories, 2g of protein, 9g of carbohydrates, 13g of fat
Taste: The bar is thick, so the first bite requires a chomp and it tastes a little funky at first but gets better. It reminds me of store-bought chocolate frosting — how good is that? The cocoa is crunchy then melts in your mouth but there’s a very bitter taste at the end that is slightly flavorless. 
Taste Rating: 3 out of 5
Where to Buy: Real Foods, Waitrose, John Lewis, Sainsburys https://www.montezumas.co.uk/map
More about this brand: https://www.montezumas.co.uk/ There are a TON of different flavors and they even have their own stores.


 
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Ombar, “72% Cacao”

Cost: £1.99 Cocoa: 72%
Main ingredients: organic raw cacao, organic cocoa butter, organic coconut sugar, live culture lactobacillus acidophilus
Per 30 grams: 182 calories, 3g of protein, 13g of carbohydrates, 13g of fat
Taste: This is one of the most bitter chocolate bars on this list. It reminded me of eating coffee beans. The chocolate becomes a very thick liquid when it melts in your mouth with a bitter aftertaste. 
Taste Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Where to Buy: Real Foods, Waitrose, Planet Organic, Whole Foods Market https://www.ombar.co.uk/apps/stockists
More about this brand: https://www.ombar.co.uk/ Raw and made in the UK. They sell lots of chocolate flavors and buttons.


 
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Seed and Bean, “Cornish Sea Salt”

Cost: £2.69 Cocoa: 70%
Main ingredients: organic cocoa mass, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, smoked sea salt, emulsifier: sunflower lecithin, vanilla extract
Per 30 grams: 167 calories, 2g of protein, 10g of carbohydrates, 13g of fat
Taste: With the first bite comes a strange floral taste that is quickly overpowered by rich, thick chocolate that melts in your mouth. I have to say that whenever salt is added to dark chocolate, it just makes the chocolate taste so much better. It overshadows that bitter no-flavor taste some dark chocolate tends to have. 
Taste Rating: 4 out of 5
Where to Buy: Real Foods, Organic Planet, Holland & Barrett, Whole Foods Market
More about this brand: https://seedandbean.co.uk/ Lots of flavors handmade in England 


 
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Raw Halo, “Pure Dark”

Cost: £3.39 Cocoa: 76%
Main ingredients: raw cacao butter, raw cacao powder, coconut sugar (all organic)
Per 30 grams: 161 calories, 3g of protein, 10g of carbohydrates, 13g of fat
Taste: This chocolate is thin and crisp. It snaps when you bite into it. I have to say it falls a bit flat on flavor and doesn’t melt in your mouth. The flavor comes when you start to eat it but there isn’t much of it. It’s definitely a lighter chocolate if you don’t like a rich, bitter taste. 
Taste Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Where to Buy: Real Foods, Planet Organic
More about this brand: https://rawhalo.com/ They have a variety of Vegan chocolates, though not all of their products are vegan. I think their Dark + Salted Caramel bar is their best!


 
 I didn’t have a lot left to photograph because I couldn’t stop eating it!

I didn’t have a lot left to photograph because I couldn’t stop eating it!

 

Vivani, “Feine Bitter”

Cost: £2.57 Cocoa: 71%
Main ingredients: organic cocoa mass, organic raw cane sugar, organic cocoa butter
Per 30 grams: 169 calories, 2g of protein, 10g of carbohydrates, 13g of fat
Taste: This has a really bitter dark chocolate flavor at first. For the smell, there are some floral notes, but I’m not sure what ingredient could be creating that affect. This has a very good late after-taste from the melted chocolate stuck in my teeth, which is why I hardly have any left  to take a photo of!
Taste Rating: 4 out of 5
Where to Buy: Real Foods, Planet Organic http://www.vivani-chocolate.de/Where_to_buy_e.html
More about this brand: https://vivani.de/ Danish company with many flavors and gorgeous artwork. 


Phew! That was a lot, wasn’t it? But I know I missed a bunch. Comment below and tell me your favorite chocolate brands—I can never have enough chocolate!