Is Chocolate Vegan?
Is Chocolate Vegan?
Thanks to its rich, sweet taste, chocolate is one of the most popular treats in the world. If you adhere to a strict diet due to health or dietary needs, you may wonder how to find chocolate vegan options or vegetarian chocolate. Vegan chocolate has grown in popularity as more people become conscious of helping the environment and avoiding animal cruelty.
Is chocolate vegan friendly? Keep reading to learn more about the kinds of chocolate available for vegans.
What Is Chocolate?
Is chocolate vegan? To answer this question, it helps to know the origins of chocolate. It comes from the Theobroma cacao tree, which means that in its purest form, chocolate is plant-based.
Cacao beans are harvested from pods that grow on the cacao tree. The beans are then fermented, dried, roasted, ground up and melted into chocolate liquor, which is a paste that is then separated into cocoa butter and cocoa solids.
Various combinations of cocoa butter and cocoa solids are used to create unique colors and flavors of chocolate, including sweet, bittersweet or semisweet, milk and white chocolate.
What Makes Chocolate Non-Vegan?
Chocolate is non-vegan when it is made with animal products such as dairy milk. Some natural flavors that are added to chocolate are tested on animals, so vegans should avoid them as well.
White and milk chocolate and some dark chocolate usually contain dairy milk. In recent years, some craft chocolate makers have created milk chocolate for vegans using coconut milk, oat milk and cashew milk. It is important to read the ingredients list to determine which chocolate is vegan.
Non-Vegan Ingredients in Chocolate
If you want to know what chocolate can vegans eat, you need to know which non-vegan ingredients to look for in a chocolate bar. Milk is the most obvious non-vegan ingredient. Milk derivatives, such as cream, casein, whey and lactose, are used as fillers. Other fillers, such as lecithin, are made from egg products.
Biscuits and caramel are often added to chocolate and most likely contain butter. Even some butter substitutes are not vegan friendly. Bacon has become a popular addition to many treats, including chocolate.
Chocolate contains sugar in some form or another. Some refined sugar may be bleached using charred animal bones. Sugar labeled “USDA-certified organic” has not come into contact with animals, but it can be difficult to know what kind of sugar is used in a pre-made product. The best way to be certain is to look for chocolate labeled “vegan” or find chocolate with cocoa mass and organic sugar like Cococlectic’s craft bean-to-bar chocolates that have only three ingredients—cacao beans, organic sugar and cocoa butter.
Can Vegans Eat Chocolate?
If you’re wondering, can vegans eat chocolate, the answer is yes! When pursuing vegan chocolate options, check the list of ingredients carefully. Look for chocolate bars with a minimal amount of ingredients. The fewer the ingredients, the purer the chocolate.
What is vegan chocolate? High-quality dark chocolate with a cacao content of 50 percent or more indicates a higher chocolate content and is a great option for vegans. Nuts, dried fruit, and mint are vegan-friendly additions.
What Is Vegan Chocolate Made Of?
What is vegan chocolate made of? Vegan chocolate ingredients are those that do not come from animals. A typical vegan chocolate bar should include chocolate liquor, sugar (organic), cocoa butter and vanilla. Some craft chocolate brands add the “Certified Vegan” logo to make their vegan treats easy to identify.
Some chocolate makers use honey to sweeten their products. They look for honey sourced from ethical beekeeping practices. However, since bees cannot consent to giving humans their honey, this means honey technically is not vegan. Honey falls into a gray area, but many vegans eat it when they can confirm that ethical beekeeping practices are maintained.
Is milk chocolate vegan? Milk chocolate made with dairy milk is not, of course, but some craft chocolate makers have discovered how to make delectable milk chocolate without the dairy.
“In my personal life, I try to reduce dairy and animal-based products,” Angela Pfleiderer, chocolate maker, said. “I guess I'm something between a vegetarian and vegan because of environmental reasons and consuming meat is weird to me. There was never a thought of making a regular milk chocolate because I was already trying to reduce dairy in my personal life, so why start with it in my chocolate life? Additionally, I thought of it like a challenge. Would I be able to create a vegan milk chocolate? Or do you really need dairy for it? Turns out, no need for dairy!”
Does Vegan Chocolate Taste the Same?
Vegan chocolate doesn’t taste the same as classic milk chocolate, but dairy-free options such as coconut milk, oat milk, cashew milk and hazelnut butter can give it a creamy texture.
“I never saw any reason to make chocolate that wasn't vegan,” Johnny Epps of Odyssey Chocolate said. “I have never had a single customer complain about my chocolate not having milk powder. What I do get are people that are more sensitive to bitterness or people who just prefer a bit more sugar. They'll ask me if I make a milk chocolate, and I'll give them my 50 percent Monster bar to try that has extra sugar, a little vanilla and more cocoa butter to smooth it out. This has never failed to satisfy the milk chocolate lover. It's not milk powder that people want—they have just come to associate it with sweet chocolate. At the end of the day, choosing to forgo milk in your chocolate is better for the animals, your health, the shelf life of your chocolate, keeps from cross contamination issues, opens up your chocolate to people with allergies and of course makes a better tasting chocolate free from the tongue-coating properties of the milk powder which can hinder you from tasting the chocolate as well.”
The chocolates at Cococlectic are vegan, non-GMO, fair-trade and ethically sourced. They do not contain any soy, gluten, dairy or nut, but they may be produced in a facility that handles these ingredients.
Cococlectic features a different American small-batch bean-to-bar chocolate maker each month. These chocolate makers passionately make chocolate bars from scratch using only three main ingredients: cacao beans, sugar and cocoa butter.
Cococlectic offers an extensive assortment and variety of chocolates or gift boxes containing vegan chocolates. Sign up for a chocolate-of-the-month subscription club and join us for a free virtual chocolate tasting with our featured chocolate maker of the month.