As most fellow females can agree, chocolate is one of life’s simple pleasures. Moreish, satisfying, sweet and naughty, it’s one of those things we enjoy as a treat, a comfort…but sadly it’s not the healthiest thing to put into our bodies! Being very much into health and fitness, although I love indulging every now and again, I wanted to research and try healthier versions to see how they compared.
Cue The Raw Chocolate Shop, “Your online shop for the healthiest, most natural and unique range of handmade raw chocolate bars.” This was exactly what I was after, somewhere I could explore other brands and varieties while keeping within one site. After drooling and browsing through the choices, I settled on six products from different brands (honestly, I could have bought more) and awaited my arrival. I must say, I was impressed with the speed of the delivery and communication in between, both via email and friendly tweets, which made my experience with The Raw Chocolate Shop a fuss-free, enjoyable one; I’ll certainly be ordering more items in the future from the site.
For now though, here’s my round-up of my healthy chocolate mission:
The Raw Chocolate Company – Raw Chocolate with Orange and Xylitol
What’s good about it? 70% cacao solids with no added sugar, low GI and dairy free.
Ingredients: Cacao mass, sweetener, xylitol, virgin cacao butter, orange oil.
Imagine a chocolate bar that’s succulent, satisfying and has a delicious citrus tang…but made with healthier ingredients. Say hello to this little orange flavoured bad boy, sweetened with natural birch-derived xylitol and containing 70% cacao solids, meaning it keeps an element of sweetness without being harmful to you teeth or too harsh on your blood sugar levels. Crunchy and firm but meltingly smooth when you take a bite, this is a winner for those who love chocolate but want a healthy alternative.
Raw Chocolate Pie – Goji & Pumpkin Seed Pie
What’s good about it? Sugar free, dairy free, gluten free and guilt free!
Ingredients: Raw cacao nibs, goji, pumpkin seed, coconut butter, agave nectar, lucuma powder, carob flour.
These new raw chocolate pies are not your usual chocolate bar but certainly worth a try. I went for the Goji & Pumpkin Seed one, which came in the size of a chunky bar, wrapped up in a handmade fashion, containing a substantial mixture of ground cacao nibs and nuts, held together with agave and coconut butter. As recommended, I kept it in the fridge and ate it chilled, which perhaps helped to keep the shape and texture.
The carob flavours were deep, rich and strong, with the vanilla adding a delicate touch, while the fruitiness of the berries and crunchiness of the pumpkin seeds made this a satisfying snack or dessert. Like a big mud pie crammed full of goodness, this certainly filled me up, satisfied my craving for chocolate (or cocoa at least!) and tasted amazingly fresh and much too indulgent for the ingredients it contained.
Rawr Passion – Organic Chocolate with Goji Berries and Vanilla
What’s good about it? Raw, dairy free, no artificial anything, 72% cocoa solids.
Ingredients: Cacao paste, cacao butter, coconut palm sugar, goji berries, lucuma, vanilla.
I’ve got to admit, this was one of the bars I was most looking forward to trying, but was a little disappointed with the result. While the combination of antioxidant-rich goji berries with 72% raw chocolate and vanilla sounded moreish, the texture of the bar was hard and crunchy as opposed to meltingly smooth. This was the least sweet out of the other products and had more of a bitter taste to it, although the berries were a nice addition and added a delicate flavour. I wouldn’t try this again but would perhaps give another flavour a go to see if the flavour and texture differed.
Booja Booja – Raspberry Ecuadorian Chocolate Truffles
What’s good about it? Dairy free, organic, gluten free, raw, made without refined sugars.
Ingredients: Agave syrup, chocolate (cocoa solids 100%), coconut oil, freeze-dried raspberry, cocoa powder.
These decadent little truffles ooze everything luxurious and extravagant, but without the nasty ingredients. Handmade in Norfolk from chocolate produced in Ecuador from fresh cacao beans, the cute little box contained two divine, melt in the mouth, award winning raspberry chocolate truffles.
Perfectly shaped covered in a dusting of cocoa powder, the dark chocolate shell revealed a velvety smooth, rich coconut and raspberry centre. While only small, these little bad boys were deceivingly rich, satisfying and bursting with flavour. Recommended as a special gift or at a dinner party, for those who appreciate fine things!
Conscious Chocolate – Goji & Coconut
What’s good about it? Suitable for vegetarians and vegans; free from dairy, soya and gluten, naturally sweetened with agave nectar.
Ingredients: cacao solids, minimum cacao butter, agave syrup, cacao powder, coconut butter, wild carob, goji berries, coconut chips, cinnamon, Himalayan salt.
This organic raw handmade chocolate was probably my favourite out of the whole order. The packaging, a cute little box to reveal the goodness inside, was a nice touch, while the contents were delicious: rich and creamy ‘chocolate’ with just the right level of sweetness, plus the addition of goji berries and coconut chips, made this a delightfully crunchy and satisfying bar. I would certainly order this again and try other varieties just based on how enjoyable the texture and taste was
Ombar Chocolate – Strawberries & Cream
What’s good about it? 100% natural ingredients containing friendly bacteria.
Ingredients: raw cacoa, coconut sugar, cocoa mass, coconut cream, strawberry powder, ground vanilla pods.
“To taste is to know,” which is why I was intrigued to bite into this Wimbledon inspired organic raw chocolate bar, enriched with strawberries and coconut cream with bio cultures; these elements were appealing to both my health conscience and tastebuds.
Not just a sweetly smooth bar of raw Ecuador sweetened with organic coconut sugar, the addition of the freeze-dried strawberry powder and coconut cream certainly added depth, flavour and richness to this delicious combination, making it a delight to eat. Once again, it was hard to believe that something could taste so good while actually being healthy. Melt in the mouth and sweet enough to curb my sweet tooth, I am looking forward to trying other flavours in the Ombar Chocolate range.
Oh So Good For You Chocolate
Although this wasn’t part of my order, a while ago I came across this brand and was intrigued to try some of the Chocolate Orange variety…I was rreally impressed with the product, which you can read more about on my blog right here.