I’m sorry, but I’ll never be one of those women willing to give up my love for quality dark chocolate bars, in lieu of any diet or health scheme. Chocolate is one of the healthiest foods you can consume. In my book, it is a necessity, not a luxury. Some may argue that the fats in chocolate are harmful in excess, but in all actuality, in one or two ounce daily servings, dark chocolate can be one of the best foods to eat for your heart, waistline, skin and blood pressure. It is also a natural mood lifter due to tons of brain-boosting chemicals and magnesium, which has calming and energizing properties. The key to finding a good source of chocolate is not to consume the milk chocolate bars rich in added sugars and harmful fats, but to consume quality dark chocolate bars instead. I personally love raw cacao chips and raw cacao powder, yet sometimes, I just want the taste and feel of a good chocolate bar. Here are my 7 personal favorites which taste the best and only have the best ingredients used. Feel free to indulge in a little bit every single day if you wish.
1. Dagoba Organic Dark Chocolate (70% or Higher Cacao)
With every type of flavor you can imagine, these are some of the best tasting dark chocolate bars on the market. I personally love the Eclipse flavor, which is naturally higher in antioxidants from a higher cacao content of 87%. Try any of the many varieties of Dagoba chocolates to find which one best suits you. Dagoba chocolate is fair-trade and organic, which makes it great for the environment and economy as well. This bar is commercially available in Whole Foods, online and in many supermarkets nationwide.
2. Sunspire Organic Fair Trade Chocolate
This chocolate bar is absolutely amazing. I prefer the unsweetened baking bar, which is nothing but 100% cacao content. It offers the strongest flavor hit, yet this brand is not bitter like many other brands I have tried. It is really silky and has a sweet background. It melts instantly in your mouth and I personally love the taste and feel of this bar the most. It is definitely hard to stop after one ounce, or three for that matter! If you’re not so sure about the pure dark kind, try the Semi Sweet bar instead, or the Dark Chocolate Dream variety by Sunspire. Vegan carob bars and chips are available by this company as well. This is a fair-trade and organic company and Sunspire products are available at Whole Foods and online at various retailers.
3. LuLu’s Raw Organic Chocolate
Want pure raw chocolate that is naturally sweetened and flavored? Look no further than LuLu’s brand, which is a little pricey, but truly such a treat if you want one of the best raw chocolate bars. Featuring vegan ingredients that are organic and raw, my personal favorite of LuLu’s brand is the maca- flavored bar for added energy and hormonal bliss. LuLu’s bars are available online through various retailers such as Green Planet Paradise.
4. Sugar-Free Mint Dark Chocolate by Body Ecology
This chocolate is amazing! It is sweetened with Lakanto sweetener, which is a natural sweetener made from erythritol, a sugar alcohol naturally found in fruits and vegetables. It tastes much like brown sugar and is excellent in just about anything. This chocolate bar is flavored with mint which is great if you like that York Peppermint Patty taste, without the added sugars. It is also high in cacao content, making it a great source of antioxidants and fiber. This bar is available online through the Body Ecology Website or Green Planet Paradise online store.
5. Fortina Dark Chocolate
Fortina raw dark chocolate features the best ingredients, including raw cacao, vanilla, and natural sweeteners from superfoods such as raw honey, lucuma powder and mesquite powder. Seriously, this chocolate will blow your mind! While a little pricey, it’s definitely worth saving for a treat instead of a daily indulgence. If you do get the chance to try this chocolate, please do so without guilt! One reason I like Fortina Dark Chocolate is this company also plants a tree for every single chocolate bar that is bought and all the wrapping is 100% recyclable, making this a great bar for the planet as well. This bar is available through various websites online such as Green Planet Paradise online store.
6. Jem Raw Chocolate Bars
Pure, raw organic chocolate that comes in a 55% cacao and 72% cacao content, Jem chocolate bars are unique in the fact that they contain coconut sugar as a sweetener, not evaporated cane syrup, like many others do. Evaporated cane syrup is another word for sugar, and I’m not too big a fan of this ingredient. I do believe coconut sugar is a healthier alternative since it has a low glycemic index and is minimally processed to retain nutrients. This raw chocolate bar is truly a magical treat. It also features the superfoods of vanilla bean and mesquite powder for a truly unique experience. This bar is available at LiveSuperfoods’ online store.
7. Scharffen Berger Dark Unsweetened
With a 99% cacao content, this stuff is for those of us devoted to hard core chocolate. I personally can’t get enough of the pure, dark stuff. I went off sugar nine years ago and haven’t looked back. This is my favorite chocolate without sugar, and it has added vanilla essence to it. The cacao content is so high that I know I’m getting tons of antioxidants in one little square of this bar. Add a square to your smoothies, coffee or desserts to start out with if you’re new to really dark chocolate. If you’re a little braver, just have a couple of squares all by themselves like I do for a 5 p.m. pre-dinner treat! This brand also carries dark bars in 70% and 82% cacao content if you want a little more sweet taste versus the dark taste. Scharffen Berger bars are commercially available at Whole Foods and in some supermarkets, or you may buy it online through various retailers.
Though I don’t always buy these trendier bars, they are my top 7 favorites for seeking out the really good stuff. Dark chocolate can be such a healthy treat in moderation. Don’t deprive yourself from this indulgence! Life is too short to live without nature’s perfect superfood! Plus, I find I’m generally more upbeat after eating it and get a little lift in energy too without the crash of an extra coffee during the day. Whenever you are looking to buy healthier dark chocolate, always aim for at least 70% cacao content or higher. Even better are the dark chocolate bars using natural sweeteners, or no sweeteners, instead of sugar or syrups in any form. What is your favorite brand of dark chocolate bar?