Did you know how important it is to buy fair trade chocolate, and vegan chocolate is readily accessible? A lot of darker chocolate is actually vegan if you know what to look for when reading the label. Another thing when taking a closer look for the fair trade symbol. Here is more on what vegan chocolate is and how to buy it fair trade.
Vegan chocolate is any chocolate that is made without ingredients that come from animals.
Various ingredients, such as milk, are sometimes added to create the final product. The best choice in chocolate is one with few ingredients. A typical chocolate bar should include chocolate liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, and vanilla. High-quality dark chocolate is a great option for vegans. Look for chocolate with a cacao content of 50% or more. The higher cacao percentage indicates a higher chocolate content and less fillers.
Dark chocolate can have a bitter taste so, look for chocolate with vegan-friendly additions such as almonds, dried fruit, or mint. Caramel, peanut butter, truffle, or toffee filled chocolates, unless specifically noted as vegan, should be avoided as they typically contain dairy.
Oftentimes chocolate candies are not labeled as vegan. However, looking at the cacao content, 50% or higher and the ingredients list and being sure there aren't any animal by products can tell you whether the chocolate is vegan or not. Here is a list of delicious vegan chocolate treats.
1- Vermont based company with a wide range of vegan chocolate products from hot chocolate to truffles.
2- PETA’s list of their top vegan chocolates.
Fair trade chocolate is made with cacao beans from farmers who are paid a fair price for their crop, instead of the low price set by the market. Fair trade standards also ban forced labor and child labor and encourage environmentally-sustainable farming practices. Cocoa farmers must obtain a certification to be considered a Fair Trade on their product. More and more large chocolate makers are looking to source their cocoa from farmers with this certification and now FairTrade chocolate can be found in most grocery stores.
Since there is a cost associated with the certification, there is also Direct Trade chocolate. Direct trade chocolate is a description of how the chocolate maker sourced their cacao. Direct trade chocolate makers choose which farms they want to work with, by how farmers process cacao and treat workers. They establish a relationship with farmers and buy the cacao directly, cutting out middlemen and certifying fees. These types of chocolates are usually made by artisans and small specialty chocolatiers.