Here’s the deal: I have a major obsession with dark chocolate, not only because it’s delicious and wildly addicting, but also because of its numerous health benefits and superfood properties.
Here’s the secret: Just because it’s chocolate (aka the main ingredient in many candy bars), doesn’t mean the chocolate itself is necessarily unhealthy like most people may think. Typically it’s the sugar, milk and/or cream that generally makes chocolate a little less healthy and can even interfere with its beneficial antioxidant absorption. If you’re aiming to eat dark chocolate for health benefits, stick to at least 70% and watch the sugar content (that’s where chocolate gets sneaky).
Since we’re talking all about dark chocolate today, I thought I’d give provide you with some of the wonderful health benefits of eating it: It’s good for your heart, may reduce stress, is a proven antioxidant, can give you a more effective workout, and probably a million more reasons. As mentioned before, dark chocolate also tends to be lower in sugar and higher in fiber than milk chocolate (assuming your getting at 70% dark chocolate). In fact, a serving of dark chocolate can have up to 5g of fiber! Major props to this superfood, right? I personally love baking with chopped dark chocolate because of the taste, beautiful look and health properties it gives treats.
Experimenting with different flavors and chocolate brands has been one of my favorite things to do over the past few months. Today I thought I would share some of my absolute favorite chocolate brands and bars with you. They are in no particular order, just a few that have been tested by my assistant and I over the past two months. We vowed to eat chocolate every night just so we can share some of our favorites with all of you. Obviously very tough job, but someone has to do it.
Enough talk, let’s get to the good stuff:
1.) Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Lover’s Bar: Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Lovers bar is made with 85% cacao. It has a fruity profile that ensures a smooth and rich bar flavor. The chocolate is produced by Colombian farmers who work in small batches to ensure that the chocolate is of the highest quality. Why we love it: It’s wonderful for baking, inexpensive and isn’t bitter at all.
2.) Lake Champlain Creamy Coconut: Lake Champlain Chocolates are made with Belgian chocolate and all-natural ingredients from Vermont. The bars are made in small batches to ensure freshness, and contain no preservatives, extenders, or additives. Why we love it: The bars are flavorful and unique, especially the creamy coconut. It tasted like a grown up Mounds Bar, but with a creamy coconut center and much better chocolate. A few squares make a great dessert.
3.) Divine Chocolate 70% Mango & Coconut: Divine Chocolate is a Fair Trade chocolate company co-owned by 85,000 cocoa farmers in Ghana. The company is unique in that its farmers own the biggest stake in the company and share its profit. The bars are made with high quality and natural ingredients. Why we love it: One of the best chocolate bars we tried. We couldn’t stop crushing on their flavors, mission or how delicious the bars tasted. Favorite flavors include hazelnut truffle, mango coconut, almond dark chocolate and 85%. This is a great snack or dessert chocolate to eat on its own.
4.) Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Bar: Enjoy Life makes delicious allergy-friendly chocolate bars, baking chips, and various chocolate products. Every bar is produced in a nut and gluten-free facility, and is free of gluten, soy, dairy, and wheat! Why we love it: We love that nearly anyone can enjoy their chocolate. If you’re on a specific allergy sensitive diet, this chocolate is for you!
5.) Madecasse Toasted Coconut: Madecasse was founded by two Peace Corps volunteers based in Madagascar, which is where 90% of their ingredients and bars come from. The company has received extensive awards for being a pioneer of social change in the chocolate field. Why we love it: Their chocolate is unique and gives back to the community it stems from. The salted almond dark chocolate is fantastic too!
6.) Taza Chocolate Cacao Nib Crunch: Taza Chocolate bars are made from organic cacao beans turned into unrefined, minimally processed chocolate with a bold flavor and texture. They are the only producer of 100% stone ground, artisan chocolate in the US. Why we love it: The chocolate is stone ground and you can taste the difference. We love the little bits of cacao nibs in this crunchy bar. Other favorites include cherry almond.
7.) Theo Chocolate Black Rice Quinoa Crunch: Theo Chocolate was the first Organic and Fair Trade certified chocolate maker in North America. The company creates high quality chocolate bars in unique and creative flavorful combinations with organic ingredients. Why we love it: Theo chocolate has some of the most unique flavors we’ve seen. The Vanilla Nib Dark Chocolate is one of our absolute favorites. Also, don’t miss out on the black rice quinoa crunch. It’s especially delicious in my coconut flour banana bread.
8.) Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Cherry Tango: Ghirardelli is America’s longest operating chocolate manufacturer, and has been making rich chocolate bars for over 150 years. They make classic, slow-melting bars that have had the same rich flavor for decades and decades. Why we love it: It adds such great flavor to cookies or brownies and tastes great in homemade ice cream. This is Tony’s favorite chocolate because of the classic sweet cherry-chocolate combo.
9.) Alter Eco Salted Brown Butter Dark Chocolate: Alter Eco bars are made exotic and sustainable ingredients. The mission of the company is to change the global chocolate world through ethical relationships with small-scale farmers, and to ensure that all products are Fair Trade Certified. Why we love it: Okay, we actually love everything about Alter Eco! Their bars are incredible and are perfect for both snacking and baking with anytime. Some favorites include the salted brown butter (try them in my brown butter cookies), and also the mint (bake brownies!).
10.) Lindt Pineapple Excellence Dark Chocolate Bar: Lindt is a classic chocolate company that has been making chocolate since 1845. The company uses high quality ingredients and raw materials in order to create the classic Lindt taste that has been enjoyed for decades. Why we love it: Lindt is amazing paired with cheese and wine. It’s a chocolate you can count on for baking, melting and eating. Some of our favorite flavors include pineapple and lime. Imagine chocolate covered pineapple pieces. SO GOOD.
11.) Equal Exchange 71% Organic Dark Chocolate: Equal Exchange chocolates are made with the purest ingredients from small farmer co-ops. All of the bars are certified Fair Trade from local farmers around the world and have the most delicious flavors. Why we love it: This was another one of Tony’s favorite. It melted so perfectly in my chocolate chunk cookies that I just had to include it.
12.) Whole Foods Organic Dark Chocolate: Whole Foods Organic chocolate bars are part of a Whole Trade line focused on cocoa farming in Tanzania. A portion of the proceeds for these chocolate bars help fund the education of children in Tanzania as well. Why we love it: This bar is delicious and wonderful for those who love a milder dark chocolate.
13.) Endangered Species Dark Chocolate Lavender Mint Creme Filled: Endangered Species bars are made with ethically traded, shade grown cacao and natural ingredients. 10% of net profits from each chocolate bar purchase are donated to support conservation efforts among endangered animals. Why we love it: Endangered Species gives back to animals and we love them for it. They also have some pretty interesting flavors including lavender dark chocolate and and blueberry vanilla dark chocolate. You must try them ASAP.
Thanks for hanging out and reading about dark chocolate benefits + our favorite ones! We hope that you enjoyed this post and might be inspired to try out some new dark chocolate.
Some questions for you:
Do you like dark, white or milk chocolate best?
If so, what’s your favorite dark chocolate you’ve tried? The AK team is always looking for new products to try.
We hope you loved this post as we work very hard to create relevant content for AK readers.
Awesome roundup!! I’m a dark chocolate girl too and I always have been! The Trader Joe’s Chocolate Lover’s Bar is als my personal fav. Thanks for sharing 🙂
I love dark chocolate. I actually have noticed that when I eat milk chocolate, my face breaks out but not with dark chocolate. I save my milk chocolate eating for m&ms from time to time. I have tried some of these bars but definitely have a few more on my list to try after reading this.
I am also a dark chocolate lover. Originally from VT, Lake Champlain has always been my favorite! I recently discovered Seattle Chocolates at a grocery store here in Boston and I may have been converted… They have seasonal varieties which provide some creative, tasty flavors and their packaging is super fun & eye catching. Easily one of the best dark chocolate bars I’ve ever had — It’s a must try!
OK, I have had 95% of the bars on this list which means: 1) We are chocolate soul mates and 2) I still have more to try 😉
I absolutely love Taza chocolates so much! Definitely a dark chocolate girl. If you’re ever in Boston, check out Taza at the Boston Public Market – that place is a foodie’s dream and supports local.
You should check out the Aloha superfoods chocolate. It includes superfoods, veggies, fruits; is vegan and uses only fair trade cacao. Nothing like healthy chocolate!
Yes, I absolutely LOVE their superfood chocolate bars. They are actually one of my favorites. I can’t believe I forgot to include them because I eat them all the time. Thanks for the reminder!
This is very serious research Monique, but I’m glad you were up to the challenge 😉 if you are ever in need of a third opinion, I have quite the keen dark chocolate sense
Askinosie brand chocolates are incredible! I can’t find them in stores, but purchase online. I especially love the Dark Chocolate + Crunchy Sugar Crystals & Vanilla Bean CollaBARation Bar, and the Dark Milk Chocolate + Black Licorice CollaBARation™ Bar! SO good. A lot of their chocolates use coconut sugar and goat milk as well.. super interesting!
This is my kind of chocolate round-up! I absolutely love the Endangered Species brand and they have so many yummy flavors. For Valentine’s Day, my hubby bought me one of each kind so I could try them all <3
Girl after my own heart! I’m obsessed with the Trader Joe’s 70% Dark Chocolate Bar with Caramel and Black Sea Salt. You HAVE to try it!
I just bought the trader joes dark chocolate this weekend and I can’t wait to try it out! Glad it’s approved!
I LIVE for dark chocolate. SO SO good, so so addictive! I’m in love with Endangered Species, Theo, Trader Joe’s, Alter Eco and Madecasse chocolate!
YUM! Dark chocolate is the best. ever. My fave is the Trader Joe’s pound plus dark chocolate bar (red package)! It has such a complex flavor and one of the few sweets that I’m truly satisfied with just a small amount! 😉 I Love the Theo bars and the Endangered Species bars too!!!! So YUM!
do any of these NOT contain soy lecitin??
Plenty of them do not contain soy lecitin including Alter Eco. It’s best to research before buying if you are concerned with soy in the chocolate. 🙂
Dark chocolate is my one of my favorite sweet treats! I really like the Endangered Species chocolate. I mean, how can you resist eating chocolate AND helping to save endangered animals?
I used to buy an Endangered Species bar that had crispy rice in it that was divine! I haven’t found it since. I’m more into Dark Chocolate and in love with XOXO Raspberries in Dark Chocolate or the one with Almonds and Cherries. Plus…..love poems inside!
Thanks for this post- I’m really excited to try some new brands and flavours! I order off iHerb (it has a couple of the brands on this list!)
Every night before I go to bed, I have a little square of whatever dark chocolate I have laying around – I love anything over 80%! The Trader Joe’s bars are definitely some of my fave, but Alter Eco and Endangered Species have so many good flavors, I definitely need to branch out. I try my best to buy fair trade, too!
Oh yum! I’ve tried a bunch of these and still have a bunch more to try!
Great list of dark chocolates and for the readers in UK and Europe:
1. Ombar – mylk coco
2. CocoaCaravan – hazelnut and current
Love this roundup!
Some of my all-time faves include:
1) Theo Nutcracker Brittle (only available around the holidays 🙁 but without question the BEST chocolate I’ve ever had!)
2) Endangered Species Espresso
3) Saltzone Coconut Sea Salt
4) Theo Coconut
5) Endangered Species Blueberry and Raspberry
Have you tried Zimt? Its Paleo, Vegan chocolate from Canada and it is some of the best that I have tried! https://www.zimtchocolates.com/
Have you checked out Beyond healthy chocolate? One piece is 35 calories, 1 gram sugar, 1 net carb and equal in antioxidants to over 1 pound of raw spinach. This delicious belgian chocolate is truly therapeutic chocolate and healthy. I even control my type 2 diabetes with the help of this cocoa flavonoid rich chocolates.