Myth Busting: Is Dark Chocolate Vegan?
Short answer: Yes!
With the rise in veganism, we often get asked questions in the realms of the vegan diet, the main one being: “is your chocolate vegan?” This question is slowly becoming on par with “is your chocolate gluten free?”
We revel in the delight that our dark chocolate bars are suitable for vegans, as pure dark chocolate should only ever be made from cocoa beans and sugar, with the optional addition of cocoa butter. A few of our chocolate makers do add sunflower or soy lecithin to their bars to reduce the viscosity, however the majority keep to just cocoa and sugar.
With some exceptions…
Admittedly, we have had a few exceptions within our Library when it comes to dark chocolate and their suitability for vegans. This includes Mucho’s Carmin bar with cochineal and TCHO’s Mint Chip Gelato. The natural Carmine dye that is sprayed onto Mucho’s bar had been derived from an insect in the suborder Sternorrhyncha of Mexico, and for TCHO it’s the milk within the freeze-dried gelato that makes it not suitable for vegans.
Whilst dark chocolate is – or at least should be – inherently vegan, the question is actually a pretty valid one. Step into any supermarket or cornershop and you’ll probably be able to find a mass produced dark chocolate bar that actually has milk listed within its ingredients. Take Lindt’s “Excellence Dark Touch of Sea Salt” or Morisson’s “85% Dark Chocolate” as examples. Whilst we truly believe that these ‘dark” bars that actively contain milk solids within the chocolate cannot really be called a dark chocolate – that is unfortunately the case for many mass-produced bars.
Luckily, vegans and those lactose intolerant – as conscious-consumers – do generally check the labels of their chocolate bars. And in doing so, they’ve probably figured out – with utmost delight – that they can eat nearly every single dark chocolate bar available to them if they wanted to.
Is the Vegan certification a good indication?
When it comes to craft chocolate, the short answer is no. Even for mass-produced dark bars, very few chocolate bars will have a vegan certification. There are brands out their available in supermarkets that are vegan certified, but that doesn’t mean they taste good or are any good for you.
A fair amount of our craft chocolate makers are dedicated to crafting vegan chocolate within their processing, however do not have the ‘Vegan’ certification. This includes Solkiki and Forever Cacao, both of whom are full-time vegans themselves.
As they do not have the certification, we ask consumers to read the ingredients and allergen information of the chocolate that should be readily available to them. If not easily apparent on the bar, we recommend getting in touch with the maker, or if we stock the bar – do feel free to get in touch with us!
A chocolate bar crafted without dairy but has a trace warning?
The majority of our chocolate makers do indeed also craft milk chocolate, therefore handle dairy within their factory and by law need to state this as an allergen on their labels. This may cause some confusion. However the intended ingredients for the chocolate will be within the ingredients only.