Our Favorite Botanical Chocolates For The Holidays
Looking for the perfect plant-based chocolate stocking stuffers? Look no further! Chocolate is a vasodilator, meaning that its chemical compounds expand the blood vessels to deliver a healthy dose of happy hormones and good feelings. (All the more reason to indulge.)
Below, Garden Collage spotlights our favorite plant-based, ethically-sourced chocolates that are as beautifying as they are delicious. All of the chocolates featured in our selection below contain active superfoods like turmeric and raw cacao, and many of them use sugar alternatives that are much more natural than cane sugar and gentler on the system. No holiday stocking would be complete without a little chocolate, but these bars are ones you can feel good about giving to children, adults, and any other loved ones this holiday season.
CocoRau’s Raw Couture collection of bespoke truffles are as beautiful as they are healthy: founder Konstanze Zeller doesn’t even like referring to her cacao bites as “chocolate” because they are made with such minimally-processed cacao that she sees them as an entirely different product. The four small batch raw power bites offered by the makeup artist (yes, her work beautifies the skin from the inside and out) include Samadhi (Orange Bliss), Lakshmi (Matcha Tea), Turiya (Espresso), and So Hum (Lavender). (Each one is named after a Sanskrit mantra.) High in minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and made with magnesium-rich raw cacao beans from Bali, each is designed to have an anti-aging and beautifying effect, winning them praise from Zeller’s model clients. The bonus: everything is vegan, dairy free, cane sugar free, gluten free, soy free, non-GMO, and paleo. CocoRau is available at The Alchemist’s Kitchen in NYC and can also be purchased online.
Chocolatl’s raw chocolate is made with a variety of widely celebrated plant & herb medicinals from around the world. According to the company’s research, cacao is a powerful and ancient delivery system for other superfoods, so in addition to being high in antioxidants, consuming chocolate leads to a higher absorption rate of phytonutrients. We’re partial to the RECOVERY, WAKE UP!, and EMPOWER chocolates, which feature Reishi & Chage mushrooms, high-antioxidant coffee beans, and hemp, respectively. (According to Chocolatl: “The shelled fruit of the hemp seed is one of the most bioavailable sources of plant based protein, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids naturally found and sustainably harvested.”) Other chocolates in their collection feature wild blue-green algae, maca, and goji berries. Purchase them here.
John & Kira’s Urban Farm Chocolate Bars
John & Kira’s Urban Farm Chocolate Bars boast an incredible statistic: the seasoning used in this vegan chocolate collection come from urban farms, community gardens, and public school gardens who benefit from the sale of the chocolate. The Tangy Orange + Garden Rosemary Chocolate Bar, the Mighty Mint Chocolate bar, and the Guajillo Chili Pepper + Almond Chocolate bar use fresh rosemary, mint, and guajillo chili peppers from six urban gardens in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington, DC. 5% of the sale price goes directly back to the gardens to support the educational programs the gardens provide to inner city youth.
Vancouver Island Chocolate
Art Meets Chocolate’s Vancouver Island Chocolate series combines chocolate that is hand-crafted in Vancouver art designed by local artists. Each Vancouver Island Chocolate bar uses creative ingredients that showcase the unique feel of various Vancouver neighborhoods, like the “North Van”, which features a painting called “Sunset in Deep Cove” by artist Luciana Alvarez as the wrapper for a white chocolate bar infused with crystallized ginger, cranberries, pistachios, and almond nougat fudge. The “Vancouver Island” hazelnut & praline bar features a painting called “Long Beach Tofino” by local artist Sam Logan. Purchase a collection from Art Meets Chocolate here.
Yes Cacao’s mystical, raw, wild-cacao chocolate bars are as beautiful and funky as they are downright fun. The currently 3-bar line of vegan, ethically-sourced, non-GMO bars envision chocolate “as a delivery system for organic herbs, teas, flowers, and superfoods. The “Dirty” bars features lucuma, shilajit, tulsi, maca, mesquite, gynostemma and more while the “Karma Mellow” (yacon, turmeric, ginko, pine pollen, bacopa) and “Gaba Baba” (GABA Oolong Tea, Blue Lotus Flowers, Kava, Coriander) are equally fun and playful. (Yes Cacao’s tag line is “Make A Wish and Take A Bite”.) The bars, whose wild harvest cacao is sourced by a team of over 450 people in Ecuador, also use sun-dried cane juice, which “honors the historical medicinal nutritional profile of saccharum officinarum“, which is grown in volcanic soil and minimally processed to retain its minerals and enzymes. Yes Cacao is available at The Alchemist’s Kitchen in NYC and can also be purchased here.
Vosges Super Foods + Dark Chocolate Series
Vosges Haut-Chocolat has long been an innovator in the bespoke dark chocolate game, but the company’s Super Dark Super Foods + Dark Chocolate series features an array of artfully-infused 72% cacao. Flavors include Pomegranate & Goji with pink Himalayan salt, Matcha Green Tea with spirulina and cacao nibs, Guajillo & Chipotle Chili, and Coconut Ash & Banana, which features Sri Lankan coconut charcoal ash (a healing superfood that has more than 100 internal and topical health benefits, including everything from detoxifying the intestines and controlling indigestion to aiding in the healing of bruises, lacerations, and insect stings). Who knew boutique chocolate could be this nourishing?
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