But slow down. While it can be a superfood, not all chocolate is created equal.
“Cacao and cocoa are one in the same, and this little bean is responsible for the health benefits that are found in chocolate,” explains Keri Glassman, nutritionist and founder of Nutritious Life. “But the more processed that little bean is, the more nutrition is lost.”
What’s the best way to get your chocolate on and get the most antioxidant bang for your buck? We tested tons of amazing raw, organic, and generally good-for-you chocolate bars out there. (It was our pleasure.)
The most basic guidelines for success? “Always go for the greater percent of cocoa and the fewest ingredients,” Glassman says, who recommends dark chocolate with 65 percent cacao or higher. (Milk chocolate has less antioxidant-rich cocoa and more sugar.)
Now go break off a square and enjoy your bittersweet multivitamin. —Amy Marturana
This is one of the few bars you can find in the U.S. that hits the 100 percent cacao mark—and it includes raw beans which are sourced and prepared specially on a farm in southwest Ecuador. All you need is a nibble, trust.
Made with ethically traded, responsibly sourced ingredients, Endangered Species’ mission is to make good chocolate while doing good deeds. The brand donates 10 percent of net profits to organizations—the African Wildlife Foundation, for one—that help protect endangered species and habitats. The flavor is incredibly rich and delicious.
(Photo: Endangered Species)
At 60 percent cacao, Aloha’s bars come in slightly below Glassman’s recommendation, but they’re made with super pure, almost-all-organic ingredients and come with a serious healthy bonus: each bar is infused with the brand’s Daily Good Greens powder, meaning you’re getting nutrients from foods like spinach, raspberries, and spirulina every time you take a bite, too. And the bars come in creative, delicious flavors like Hazelnut & Fig and Macadamia Coconut.
Sweet Riot’s line of fair-trade, organic chocolates are sourced exclusively from farms in Latin America. This 70 percent dark chocolate bar is also packed with organic flax seed, making it a good source of both omega-3s and fiber.
(Photo: Sweet Riot)
Made in a facility with no nuts, soy, wheat, eggs, or dairy, Pascha’s bars are guaranteed allergy-free. On top of their purity, each bar is also organic and fair-trade certified, made with Peruvian cocoa.
The cacao comes from the Dominican Republic and Bolivia, but Raaka’s chocolate is made in New York City: in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The “virgin” bars are made of unroasted beans that are minimally processed, which allows the cacao to retain bolder, more complex, natural flavors.
Whoever decided to put almond butter inside a 72% dark chocolate bar is our hero. Hu Kitchen’s commitment to using high-quality ingredients shows in this bar of cacao, almonds, organic puffed quinoa, and organic coconut sugar.
Heart-healthy pumpkin seeds and almonds make this fair-trade dark chocolate even tastier—and even better for you. And, since it’s already broken into pieces for you, it’s super easy to share. Unless that’s not your thing, then hide this bag pronto.
Yes, there is kale in this chocolate bar. Kale chips to be exact. And that extra healthy dose of dark leafy greens—along with pumpkin and sesame seeds—makes Compartés’ 75 percent cacao bar stand out from the crowd. Using cacao sourced in South America, the bars are made by a small team of chocolatiers in Los Angeles.
Made with fair-trade cacao sourced from Belize and the Dominican Republic and organic vanilla from Madagascar, the UK chocolates are all ethically and sustainably sourced—and widely available in the US. It does contain a little organic raw cane sugar. (If you prefer a little less intense bitterness, they also have a 70 percent bar.)
(Photo: Green & Black)