On Tuesday, February 17th I took a final bite of dark chocolate before I bid farewell to my favourite after dinner treat for 47 days. As you’ve probably worked out, I agreed to give something up for Lent. Having never participated before, I wasn’t sure how successful I was going to be!
When choosing what to give up it was a decision between dark chocolate, or peanut butter. My two vices that I indulge in more or less guilt free when I’m eating well during the week. I settled on saying goodbye to the chocolate, but I was very specific, just DARK, not milk. Because milk chocolate I can resist, I know it’s going to be a case of ‘a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips’ so I’m happy to eat that as a weekend treat only. But dark, oh how I love thee, AND the benefit of antioxidants when you buy the good stuff (NOT Cadbury ‘dark’ chocolate people, you might as well go for the Dairy Milk).
I’ve loved chocolate for as long as I can remember. I’m a wee bit like Charlie Bucket when his eyes light up upon entering Wonka’s chocolate factory. Except I’m really MORE like Augustus Gloop as I’d have definitely been that kid that jumped into the chocolate river. And as Veruca Salt sings ‘I want it all!!!’, I can totally relate to her.
My mum still sends me my childhood chocolate favourites for Easter, which arrived in the knick of time last weekend! Yes ladies and gentlemen, I have a mule. For chocolate.
Growing up, my grandparents used to bring us chocolate bars each time they came to visit, and this is where I developed the taste for the dark stuff, because let’s face it, there are loads of people that don’t like it! (Who ARE those people!? and what is wrong with them!?).
So here I was, making the most ludicrous agreement I’ve ever made. 47 days without dark chocolate. What’s a girl to do? Get completely organised and stocked up for the day I could finally be reunited with my favourite treat of course! I definitely have my favourite brands – Montezuma’s Dark Chocolate buttons, HELLO! – but I decided to be adventurous and research four brands I’d never tried before.
Some online ordering, and a trip to Wholefoods and Harvey Nichols food market later, and I was ready and armed with four new bars to try on Easter Sunday. Lately, more and more craft chocolate bar companies are popping up on the market. These are not companies churning out mass produced rubbish, these are kids that really care about the taste of their product. I chose four different craft chocolate companies, two of which have taken a healthy approach to their ingredients, adding in super foods.
So here they are below and I absolutely recommend all four products, having ripped open each and every packet on Easter Sunday and stuffing chocolate into my mouth as quick as I could!
Pump Street Bakery, is a family owned bakery & cafe in Suffolk, but their products are thankfully also available to order online. I bought the Sourdough and Seat Salt Chocolate, and the combination of flavours were so delicious! You can also purchase their chocolate at various stores around the world, check out their website for stockists. (photo credit above: Pump Street Bakery)
Mast Brothers, owned by two actual brothers in Brooklyn NY, has THE most beautiful packaging you could ever lay eyes on. Which is how I came to find out about this company, when I spotted their bars in a grocer’s here in London. Speaking of London, they have just opened up their first store outside the US, over in Shoreditch, and it’s amazing! Go check them out, and yes, the almond chocolate I bought was delicious. (photo credit Mast Brothers)
Conscious Chocolate is different in that they create raw chocolate bars, free from all the extras like dairy and refined sugar, with their bars being sweetened with agave or rice syrup. A UK based company with a huge variety of flavours, these guys were actually my favourite! The consistency of the chocolate is softer than your regular stuff, but that’s what I loved about it, along with the intense flavours. (photo credit: Conscious Chocolate)
UK owned, by two lifelong friends, these guys also get five stars for their awesome packaging. I asked them what their most popular flavour was and they told me it was the Maca, Vanilla & Cacao Nibs, so that’s exactly what I bought! I love that all the products are blended with super foods, making this treat a little more guilt free. Highly recommend! (photo credit Doisy and Dam)
(Thank you to Pump Street Bakery, Mast Brothers, Conscious Chocolate and Doisy and Dam for the use of your photos and the information you so willingly sent).