“Life us like a box of Chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get”
― Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump
I’m talking about Chocolate not Marie Jane of course! And here’s what to look for when buying chocolate for yourself or gifting it to a friend:
- Above 70% cacao. Anything below means you’re starting to creep up on the sugar content and less on the chocolate content. Amongst many antioxidants and mood boosting good fats found high quality dark chocolate, it’s also a source of immune boosting zinc, blood building iron and stress busting magnesium. In fact, one small square of dark chocolate provides 24 percent of the daily value of magnesium!
- Fair trade, Direct trade or Rainforest alliance. Amazingly, many conscious, purposeful companies are sprouting up and harvesting cacao sustainably and paying their workers fairly, truly making your chocolate guilt-free. Learn more at about fair trade cacao here.
When buying cacao powder for your hot chocolate, get 100% unsweetened because buying the alternative means you’ll be buying sugar-ladened chocolate (not good for your waistline) that outweighs the benefits from those cacao beans. You’re better off to add your own sweetener like raw honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar.
I’ve recently been indulging in the following brands:
- Chocosol – My favorite is the sea salt and vanilla flavor at 82%
- Dagoba – Great 100% bar for baking and for melting into hot chocolate
- Alter Eco – Many delicious flavors with 70% cacao content
- Zazu Bean – I like that they sweetened with coconut sugar
- Divine – Its been a while since I’ve had this one. The chocolate comes from Ghana and its flavor is distinct!
- Endangered Species – Is a great chocolate bar that’s given $1.4 million to support conservation efforts for endangered species and habitats.
There are some many delicious brands and bars out there so don’t limit yourself to my favorite brands. As long as it’s from a company that’s conscientious of its farmers, the environment, and above 70% cacao – you’re golden!
Looking for a sweet treat to warm up? Try this delicious hot chocolate recipe:
- 3 ounces100% cacao bar, chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoons raw honey
- ⅜ teaspoon Chile powder, 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 2 cups grass fed whole milk or coconut milk
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder (optional)
Pour the milk in a sauce pan, add the chocolate bar and the powder, the cinnamon stick, the chili powder and the vanilla extract. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add honey, a dash of nutmeg and enjoy!