Whether you’re single, partnered, or somewhere in-between, avoiding the sugary tsunami that comes crashing into offices, classrooms, stores, and houses across America every February 14 is practically impossible. Thankfully, a rising tide of forward-thinking chocolate producers is swooping in to sweeten up your Valentine’s Day without totally shoving your health and wellness goals off track. Ditch the tired, chemical-ridden boxed assortments in favor of one of these seven healthyish chocolate bars, and your lucky Valentine won’t even know what hit them.
Brooklyn-born Fine and Raw has been wowing chocoholics with its organic stone-ground offerings for more than a decade now. This special V-Day edition is a heartfelt reminder of the company’s continued bean-to-bar expertise. Inside the shiny gold wrapper, a thick, bittersweet 70-percent dark chocolate shell gives way to an organic coconut butter, agave, and cacao filling, which is broken up by little bits of organic dried coconut. If your sweetheart is partial to Mounds bars, do them a favor and upgrade their stash with a couple of these guys.($7; fineandraw.com)
This 70-percent dark chocolate indulgence is not only certified gluten-free, vegan, and non-GMO, but it’s also botanically sweetened with stevia. Read: There’s absolutely no added sugar involved. Fair-trade unsweetened cocoa, cocoa butter, and vanilla provide the melt-in-your-mouth chocolaty goodness, while a dose of orange peel and blood orange oil add a bright burst of citrus to every bite. Um, did we mention there’s no added sugar?($5; amazon.com)
Show your best people some much-needed love with this six-bar gift box from TCHO, a company as lauded for its ultra-conscious business practices as its tasty treats. The California-based brand makes all of its chocolate in Madagascar and is deeply invested in lifting up the economy there, from working directly with farmers to employing local textile manufacturers for the sleek hand-wrapped packaging. This seasonal sampler runs the gamut from more intense 70-percent dark chocolate to creamy 39-percent milk chocolate. You and your pals can taste the entire fair trade, certified organic, and sustainably sourced rainbow.($6; tcho.com)
Toasted black sesame seeds and pleasantly chewy antioxidant-packed goji berries set this sweet-meets-savory cacao number far apart from the rest of the V-Day goods. This L.A. bean-to-bar specialist, ChocoVivo, knows just how to create this exotic flavor:stone-ground cacao nibs from Tabasco, Mexico, plus a dash of unrefined cane sugar, making the whole shebang gluten-, soy-, and dairy-free. Pro tip: Melt this one down into drinking chocolate or a spreadable toast topper for ultimate enjoyment.($8; chocovivo.com)
Encased in a bright red and white heart print box and named after Xochipilli, the Aztec God of love and beauty, this option from NYC chocolatier Antidote is a no-brainer on Valentine’s Day. The fact that it’s made with just three simple ingredients—cacao beans, cacao butter, and dates—and has only two grams of sugar per serving is just icing on the sustainably sourced cake.($9; antidotechoco.com)
The chocolate-obsessed folks behind San Francisco’s Dandelion travel the world in search of the finest ingredients. And the resulting lineup of single-origin bars puts their globe-trotting passion and dedication on full display. This soy-, dairy-, eggs-, and gluten-free 70-percent bar has a smooth middle and a creamy, stone fruit finish typical of southern Belize’s coveted cocoa. A little cane sugar makes them shine—no added cocoa butter, lecithin, or vanilla required. One nibble and you’ll immediately see why this one took home the silver medal at the 2018 International Chocolate Awards.($9; dandelionchocolate.com)
Swap out your green juice with one of these vegan-, dairy-, and gluten-free bars from fashion-forward L.A. trendsetters Compartés.Inside the crunchy off-beat concoction, a hearty, sea salt-dusted blend of kale crisps, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and briny spirulina snuggle in a bed of dark chocolate. Now that’s a winning breakfast.($10; compartes.com)
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