Good News Chocolate is Vegan
There’s a type of chocolate for everyone, and those who disagree are clearly lying. In 1842, the English graciously blessed the world with first chocolate bar, made by the famous Cadbury chocolate company. From there, the chocolate industry has generated roughly $895 million in annual revenue — and that’s just in the U.S.
Types of Chocolate There are three types of chocolate: Dark, milk, and white.
Dark chocolate is produced by adding fat and sugar to cocoa, yet generally no milk is added. This type of chocolate can be semisweet (frequently used for cooking) and bittersweet (this is unsweetened cocoa, also called chocolate liquor).
Milk chocolate is solid chocolate made with milk, either liquid or condensed. Milk chocolate was first invented by a German company in 1839.
White chocolate is made up of sugar, milk, and cocoa butter — minus the cocoa solids. Without the cocoa solids, the chocolate does not have a dark brown appearance, thus it is called white chocolate.
Chocolate companies around the world pride themselves on their luxury chocolates, that consist of these three types. However, some chocolate companies have started offering vegan chocolates for those with dietary restrictions.
What is vegan chocolate? Its a wonderful thing to have a certain dietary restriction, but still have the thrill of opening chocolate gift boxes, knowing that there are vegan chocolates nestled inside for your consumption. Vegan chocolate is chocolate that does not have any animal product or byproduct included in the ingredients.
Chocolate, or cocoa, is actually inherently vegan because it comes from beans from the cocoa tree. These trees can live to be up to 200 years old, but may only produce marketable cocoa beans for 25 years of their lives. However, during the process of turning cocoa into consumer chocolate, something gets lost in translation — and the chocolate more often than not is no longer vegan.
What makes chocolate non-vegan? Additives to make the chocolate sweeter, such as milk or milkfat, are added during the refining process to create a better mouth feel texture. The best chocolates, such as gourmet chocolates, will have a higher chocolate content, pure ingredients, and no additives — making them vegan.
What ingredients should I look for? When looking for or buying vegan chocolates, make sure to read the label. Vegan chocolate bars and any vegan chocolate recipe for that matter should include these simple ingredients: cocoa, cocoa butter, lecithin, sugar, and vanilla — that’s it! If you see “milk” in any form, steer clear.
Where can I find vegan chocolate? A few luxury chocolate stores around the nation are now offering vegan chocolates (and even kosher chocolate!) to customers. You can easily search for vegan chocolates online and order a chocolate gift box. If you are looking for grocery-store chocolate, look for labels that say dairy-free, whey-free, and casein-free.
All told, there is certainly a chocolate for everyone — even those with dietary restrictions.