halloween chocolate

(cheeseslave/Flickr/Creative Commons BY 2.0)

It’s that time of year again for chocolates and candies to be hoarded like gold — Halloween!

With Halloween right around the corner, candy, chocolate and other sweet snacks are flying off the shelves. But this year, with so many diets and health trends, health issues prevent some people from eating chocolate. Typical Halloween candy might not be a sweet treat. This one’s for you, lactose intolerant folks.

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One might wonder how chocolate can be made without any dairy. Vegan chocolates are made with butter and cream substitutes like cocoa butter. Contrary to having “butter” in its name, cocoa butter is completely vegan. To make sure the chocolate you’re eating is definitely vegan, regardless of what the packaging may say, always double check the ingredients list.

 Alter Eco brand chocolates touts an impressive variety of products, from bars, truffles and clusters. Aside from being vegan, their products are also gluten-free. This brand also doesn’t use artificial flavors, emulsifiers, GMOs or soy. Additionally, they’re recognized as USDA organic, non GMO project verified, Fair Trade certified, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified eco-friendly and carbon neutral. 

Rad Chocolate has a selection of bars that come in simple, brown paper packaging with the company name, description of bar and that it’s vegan made from either premium maple or coconut sugar, depending on the bar flavor. None of the other brands on this list tout using these types of sugars, plus their packaging feels more personalized and local than the others. Their company is still very young, and based in San Diego, CA, where all their products are also produced.

Theo Chocolate, in comparison to the first two companies is more well known, since it’s also available at Safeway and Target. Theo’s bar assortment is quite wide, with unique flavors like ghost chili and black rice quinoa crunch (which also won a 2017 Delicious Living Best Bite Award), but it’s important to note that not all their bars or products are vegan. The company is certified Fair Trade and Fair for life, plus all their products are made in the U.S. 

Another kosher brand, certified kosher by Earth Kosher, is Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates, which only produces organic, vegan and kosher products. Unlike most of the other brands, they have a large selection of “bites,” basically bite-sized chocolates. Sold in large tubs, they’re the closest to resembling popular Halloween fun-sized candies. For more conventional offerings, the brand also makes drinking chocolates, chocolate bars, box assortments and holiday specific chocolates in a variety of flavors online. 

Package featuring a shark in the outback is Aussie Sharkbar, made with carob, is a vegan, gluten-free, kosher, caffeine-free, theobromine-free and soy-free but technically not chocolate candy bar. Additionally, this product is certified USDA organic and non-GMO. They also have unsweetened, unsweetened with almonds, banana creme, outback mint and almond bars. 

Wrapped in black and not monkeying around is EVOLVED brand chocolate bars, packaged with the top of the head of a cartoonish monkey on every package. With only a handful of ingredients, these chocolate bars are vegan, paleo and soy-free as well as USDA organic and Rainforest Alliance certified. Available in five flavors: signature dark, almond sea salt, crunchy caramel, midnight coconut and cashew milk.

On the local end of chocolates, Stirs the SOUL chocolate is located in Monmouth, OR run by Oregon Culinary Institute graduate Daren Hayes. This brand’s chocolate products are organic, nut, tree-nut (except coconut), soy, gluten, egg and dairy free, with some products specifically paleo, vegan and other allergy sensitive. 

All these varieties can be found at Sundance Natural, so this Halloween may be a spooky time of year, but you don’t need to fear your chocolate’s nutritional content or production: enjoy your chocolate and be proud it’s sustainably sourced, too.