Chocolate may taste creamy, sweet, bitter, umami, and sour, but is it vegan? The quick answer is that it depends; it is possible. Several black chocolates are vegan, as are a growing number of white and milk chocolates.
There is presently no vegan ruby chocolate available, but I am certain that one is in the works. If you’re wondering how to know which chocolate bars are vegan, look for two ingredients: milk and sugar. Oh, sugar!
Although not all chocolate includes milk, almost all chocolate has sugar in some manner. The only time sugar is not vegan is when it has been bleached with bone char. One solution is to only purchase chocolates manufactured without dairy and sweetened with organic sugar or sugar substitutes. Fortunately, the primary constituent of chocolate, other from milk and sugar, is cacao, often known as the chocolate plant.
Cacao, often known as cocoa, is a tropical fruit whose huge pods are collected and their seeds processed into the world’s greatest and worst chocolate bars. At the conclusion of this essay, you should be able to study the wrapper of any chocolate bar to determine if it is vegan or not, and whether it is worth investing in! Although not all chocolate is vegan, excellent vegan chocolate is not only feasible, but also worthwhile.
How Is Chocolate Made?
Before we get into what makes chocolate vegan (or not), it’s a good idea to know what chocolate is and how it’s created. The fermented and dried seeds of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree are used to make all chocolate. The seeds are extracted from the tree’s fruits and then processed. After they’re all dried, they’re set aside for a while before being transported to a chocolate factory, where they’re virtually usually roasted and sweetened before being crushed into chocolate.
To elaborate, the chocolate-making process consists of around ten phases. Growing and caring for cacao is the first step, followed by harvesting, fermenting, drying, and transporting that cacao. When cocoa beans arrive at a chocolate factory, they must be sorted and cleaned before being roasted, peeled, ground, and conched into the smooth sweet thing we know as chocolate. And these are only the processes to get chocolate in a bowl, much alone preparing it for sale and transportation!
So, how did humans come to learn to do all of these things to cocoa in order to make chocolate?
The Evolution of Modern Chocolate
Human cacao cultivation may have begun as early as 5500 years ago in modern-day Ecuador. Nonetheless, it made its way north into Central America, where the seeds are still produced today. The Aztec and Mayan peoples, maybe the most renowned ancient cacao users, were the first cacao-cultivating cultures the Europeans encountered in the Americas. Their tradition of drinking chocolate as a ceremonially significant, spiced beverage had a long-lasting influence on how chocolate was eaten in Europe.
Yet, vegan or not, Mesoamerican chocolate drinks most likely tasted nothing like current mass-market chocolate. Their (mainly) vegan chocolate beverages, in fact, employed a variety of spices and a foundation of water and natural colors to make a scarlet libation designed to fuel soldiers and simulate the blood of their human sacrifices. Nobility would sometimes add honey to sweeten the creation, but I digress.
Prior to the introduction of bone char to the sugar industry, most cacao-based drinks were just variations on vegan hot chocolate. When that bitter beverage was transported to Europe, much of the ceremonial preparation was eliminated, and it was later sweetened with Caribbean sugar and served with milk instead of water. These European powers introduced cacao all over the globe during the following several centuries, to every territory they conquered and successfully took over.
When cacao was supplied from these worldwide colonies to the European powers, chocolate eating habits gradually changed. As previously said, milk was added, and the portable chocolate bar was created in England in the mid-nineteenth century. Cocoa solids and cocoa fat were eventually separated so that they could be employed in a variety of businesses. Cocoa butter gained popularity in the cosmetics sector, while cocoa solids (cocoa powder) gained popularity as a flavoring for many sweets.
The world’s fascination with chocolate taste became the undoing of the food’s primarily vegan and healthful roots. So, how can we return to chocolate that is excellent for us?
Is it possible to eat vegan dark chocolate?
Simply put, not always. Of course, dark chocolate may be vegan, and there are some excellent vegan dark chocolate bars available these days. Yet, just because no animal products are explicitly added to chocolate does not imply that animal products did not play a part in its creation at some time, making it non-vegan friendly.
Cacao is the single ingredient necessary to produce dark chocolate. Nonetheless, almost all dark chocolates include some form of sweetness, generally white sugar (which is not usually vegan). Hence, the easiest approach to locate vegan dark chocolate is to seek for a bar composed only of cacao and organic sugar, or cacao and another sweetener (other than honey). As you look at the ingredients, you can also see whether there are any extra evils, such as PGPR, vanillin, and artificial flavors.
A little digression on dark chocolate: while looking for an answer to the topic, does dark chocolate include dairy? I was reading the ingredients of a Hershey’s Special Dark bar when I got this memory. It is important to note that the term is Special Dark, not Special Dark Chocolate. This is due to the fact that Hershey’s Special Dark bar includes not just milk but three distinct types of milk! This is in addition to the emulsifiers, false flavorings, and alkalized cocoa powder used to reduce manufacturing costs.
However, this means that obtaining vegan dark chocolate may be difficult. The only vegan-friendly dark chocolates are those created by firms that include vegan ideals into their business model, such as Solkiki Chocolate or Raaka Chocolate. Instead, at the shop, seek for vegan dark chocolates that include a vegan-friendly sugar replacement, such as coconut sugar or monk fruit, or sugar alcohols such as maltitiol or erythritol.
To replace the dairy, vegan chocolate truffles are sometimes prepared using coconut oil or even vegan butter. These premium chocolates will be more costly and difficult to get. Most are also controlled by the same huge companies that use cheap cocoa mined via abusive labor, which is why I always encourage purchasing handmade chocolate. It’s worth the quest if you want to keep to your ideals and end up with a more delectable product.
Is Chocolate Milk Vegan?
No, it does not. With a name like milk chocolate, it seems unlikely that it does not include animal ingredients (and it does). Nevertheless, much like your daily coffee, there are techniques to prepare a vegan-friendly and tasty milk chocolate. They are often promoted as dairy-free milk chocolates or simply vegan milk chocolates, although they are more difficult to obtain in your regular grocery shop.
Making milk chocolate, like any other kind of chocolate, begins with cacao seeds, often known as cacao beans. These fermented and dried fruit seeds are completely vegan, as is the extra cocoa butter (cacao bean fat) required to produce milk chocolate. Provided you get high-quality vegan milk chocolate, the only additional components in milk chocolate should be milk powder and sugar. Cane sugar is the most frequent sweetener used in chocolate production, and it is practically never vegan.
Although vegan chocolate producers take additional effort to find vegan sugar or even utilize vegan-friendly sweeteners in all of their products, milk powder must still be considered. Some vegan chocolate manufacturers even create exclusively dark chocolate to avoid the issue of milk powders entirely. Others, however, have resorted to milk substitutes such as coconut to create vegan milk chocolates. Keep in mind that these chocolates cannot legally be labeled milk chocolates since they do not contain dairy; instead, they are categorized as dark chocolates.
Thus, if you’re looking for vegan milk chocolate, go for raw, organic cane sugar or a nontraditional sweetener. Fruit sugars like monkfruit or date, as well as low-glycemic sweeteners like xylitol or maltitol, are vegan cane sugar substitutes. In terms of milk powder, there are several alternatives to cow’s milk available these days. Other popular vegan milk chocolate replacements include coconut or oat milk, as well as a variety of defatted nut powders, with soy milk powder progressively gaining favor in Asia and parts of Europe.
White chocolate is it vegan?
Cacao seeds, often known as cacao beans, are roughly 50% fat and used to make chocolate. Although most of the fat is extracted and utilized in the cosmetics sector, with the remainder ground into cocoa powder, some of it is used to make white chocolate or milk chocolate. This fat, known as cocoa butter, is a fruit fat, similar to avocado or olive oil, and hence completely vegan.
White chocolate, on the other hand, requires three ingredients: cocoa butter, sugar, and milk powder. This implies that any white chocolate you pick up off the store is unlikely to be vegan. Both sugar and milk powder, however, may be substituted with vegan-friendly alternatives such as coconut sugar or erythritol, and oat milk powder or coconut milk powder. Indeed, several vegan chocolate companies are developing or currently produce exquisite vegan white chocolate bars.
Yet, since vegan white chocolates do not include dairy, they are not legally classified as white chocolate. So, how can you determine if a random white chocolate product on the store is vegan? The solution may be found in the ingredient list. Every decent white chocolate will include cocoa butter (also known as cacao butter) as the primary component, followed by a sweetener and a milk substitute.
If the product’s sweetener is manufactured from cane sugar, it should be certified organic in order to be vegan. A sweetener derived from any other source (excluding honey) is already vegan. There are several dairy-free milk powder choices available these days. Coconut milk is a popular option, but I’ve also had great bars made with almond, oat, hazelnut, rice, and soy milk powders.
Ruby Chocolate is it vegan?
There is no such thing as vegan ruby chocolate at the moment. Although I am not ruling out the idea of a vegan ruby chocolate line in the future, the invention is the property of the Swiss-Belgian corporation Barry Callebaut, which has complete control over its manufacturing. The use of milk powder, as well as the unknown source of the sugar used to sweeten the confection, renders ruby chocolate non-vegan.
Ruby chocolate is fashioned after milk chocolate. It begins with cocoa butter and sugar, then milk powder and ruby cocoa beans are added, along with a few other components such as citric acid. Some people feel that the extra ingredients and processing procedures are responsible for the fruity flavor of the chocolate, while the milk powder and sugar make the basic flavor creamy and sweet.
If you wanted to make a vegan ruby chocolate bar, you would need to replace the conventional sugar with a vegan-friendly option or only organic sugar. But that’s the easy part. The challenge would be finding a dairy-free milk powder substitute, such as coconut or oat milk powder, that does not significantly change the overall taste of the chocolate. All of this research and development, however, will be under the control of Callebaut, since they own the required patents and licenses to produce the product and ultimately make it accessible to the public.
Ingredients for Vegan Chocolate
I’ve included the most popular and basic chocolate ingredients below. Several of them have aliases or other names that appear on bar wrappers, so I’ve highlighted them. If you have any questions concerning the additional ingredients in your vegan chocolate bar or vegan chocolate chips, please leave a remark! Additionally, keep in mind that the terms cacao and cocoa may be used interchangeably, and seeing one or the other on packaging means nothing about the quality of the chocolate.
Cocoa beans, also known as cacao beans, are the seeds of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree that are nearly usually produced for the purpose of producing chocolate. Cacao seeds, cocoa seeds, cocoa mass, cacao mass, chocolate liquor, cocoa liquor, cacao liquor, and chocolate (technically, once the beans are mashed, they are chocolate regardless of whether it is sweetened or not!).
Cacao nibs or cacao nibs are fragments of cacao beans that have had the shell removed, usually after roasting.
Cacao butter, often known as cacao butter, is the fat found in cacao beans that accounts for slightly more than half of their weight. As a result, despite the butter connotation, cocoa butter is dairy-free. Cacao fat is another name for it.
Cacao powder or cacao powder: the cacao seed solids, which contain all of the antioxidants and minerals. Alkalized cocoa powder, which has been treated to remove most of the vitamins and nutrients and make the taste more basic, is used in cheaper chocolate. Cacao solids are another name for cacao powder.
Sugar: a broad phrase that commonly refers to white sugar made from cane grass or sugar beets; not necessarily vegan. If you see organic sugar, you may be certain that it is vegan. Fruit sugars like monkfruit or date, as well as low-glycemic sweeteners like xylitol or maltitol, are some vegan-friendly white sugar substitutes. Raw cane sugar is also known as evaporated cane juice and raw sugar.
Unless otherwise indicated, milk powder is the powdered equivalent of a mammal’s milk. Certain fruit, nut, and grain powders are sometimes referred to as milk powders; coconut milk powder, for example, is non-dairy and vegan-friendly. Cream powder, milk fat, whole milk powder, and skim milk powder are some other names for it.
Lecithin (soy or sunflower): a fatty substance that draws both water and fat; obtained mostly from plant sources, particularly soy. Lecithins of various sorts are used to smooth the texture of chocolate without the need for additional, costly cocoa butter. Soya lecithin, emulsifier (soy), and simply soya are some other names for it.
Vanilla extract: extracts or bits of ground vanilla, a spice indigenous to modern-day Mexico that is currently farmed all over the globe. Vanilla is sometimes known as vanilla powder or vanilla beans. Vanillin is a synthetic vanilla flavour.
Despite the fact that chocolate is made from the fruit of a tropical plant, its origins are seldom acknowledged along the journey from farm to factory to your hands. If you’re not sure if a chocolate is vegan, there are a few things you may discover about it by glancing at the back label. Keep a look out for honey, as well as the following dairy ingredients: milk powder, lactose, whey, and casein.
Sadly, sugar is not always evident, but organic or not, coconut sugar and xylitol are two more prevalent vegan-friendly sweeteners. Keep in mind that although organic may have a lower environmental effect, it does not always imply that the cacao was acquired ethically or contributes to an ethical supply chain. Handmade chocolate businesses are probably your best choice for obtaining vegan chocolate bars created with ingredients that are responsibly, fairly, and openly sourced.
Our product is not chocolate; it is systemic transformation.
Sun Eaters Organic’s Gillian Goddard (craft chocolate company)
Vegan Chocolate Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. This is comparable to the previous question, Is cocoa butter dairy? Cacao butter is a plant-based fat squeezed from the seeds of the cocoa tree’s fruit, similar to avocado oil or grape seed oil. You may also use cocoa butter to make vegan foods that need a high smoke point oil, such as a fast stir-fry.
Yes. The solids of the seeds of the cocoa tree fruits, with a minor quantity of residual fat, make up all cocoa powder. Vegan ingredients include cocoa powder.
It all depends. Vegans may consume any plain chocolate as long as it contains no dairy, honey, or non-organic sugar; vegan chocolate cake is therefore possible. Check the ingredients list for any of these items carefully.
In theory, every raw cacao product, whether chocolate, cocoa butter, or cocoa powder, is prepared with unfermented cacao. Unfermented cacao, on the other hand, tastes like harsh soil with no overtones of chocolate. The majority of raw cacao products are fermented and unroasted cacao, which tastes less like dirt and more like chocolate. Raw cacao is also supposed to be higher in polyphenols (the antioxidants that make chocolate so beneficial for you), although this has not been scientifically confirmed due to the wide range of amounts seen in different varietals. In any case, it does not compensate for the disagreeable taste.
Nondairy chocolate is more popular than ever. Although you may get vegan chocolate at your local store, you can also discover some wonderful brands online.
Yes! There are several vegan candy bars available, and as a craft chocolate supporter, I would always advocate for a homemade candy bar including chocolate. Look into Oregon Bark and Compartes Chocolate, as well as several vegan artisan chocolate firms who offer great candy-like inclusion bars. Charm School Chocolate is my favorite vegan manufacturer in the United States, while Solkiki Chocolate Maker is a terrific alternative in the United Kingdom.
The greatest vegan chocolate is right in front of you! Ba-dum-ch. Yeah, but in all seriousness, chocolate varies so greatly from one bar to the next that asking what the greatest snack food is is like asking what the best snack food is. Everyone will have a unique response. My current favorite fully-vegan maker is described above, but if you’re searching for anything more particular, you’ll receive a more precise response. For example, my favorite vegan chocolate chip baking components come from French Broad Chocolate Lounge in North Carolina (ditto for their vegan hot chocolate & vegan candy bars). If you want to find the greatest vegan chocolate desserts or even vegan chocolate recipes, I suggest visiting sites like The Smart Meal and Chocolate Covered Katie.
No, not always! Vegan chocolates may and can contain a lot of sugar, thus they should be eaten in moderation.
I hope you find my vegan chocolate article useful! If you have any recommendations for favorite goods or places to look for recipes, please leave them in the comments!
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