I’m not judging if you want to gift some of the chocolate on this list to yourself. But here’s the thing: chocolate gets a bad wrap for being a decadent treat. And yet high quality dark chocolate is incredibly nutritious. It contains iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium. It’s also a source of antioxidants (you can read more about the health benefits of chocolate on my previous post). So there is no reason to feel guilty about gifting this not-so-guilty pleasure (even to yourself).
Especially because the chocolate on this list is some of the highest quality chocolate in the world. Most of it is dark, 70% cacao, organic, single-origin (cacao harvested from one region), fair trade (farmers and laborers are paid a fair price), and made by small artisan chocolate companies, many of whom have won awards at the prestigious International Chocolate Awards. There’s also sugar-free chocolate and chocolate made with alternative sweeteners. If you want a few indulgent (code for not healthy, but tasty) holiday treats and drinking chocolate, (aka hot chocolate) there’s that, too. Enjoy your choco-holidays!
1. The Best Dark Chocolate Bar in the World
Soma Chocolatemaker’s (Canada) Guasare, Venezuela 70% bar won the 2018 World Gold, Best in Show Dark award at the International Chocolate Awards in Florence. The world’s best chocolate bar costs $17.50.
2. Soma’s Twilight Forest Holiday Dark Chocolate Bark
This vegan, dairy-free, dark chocolate bark is covered with barberries and honey roasted pumpkin seeds with a twinkle of sea salt. The wildflower honey is produced by an award-winning honey maker. $15.
3. If you want to indulge…
Soma’s award-winning Birch Branch looks so realistic, I expect a bluebird to land on it. If Snow White ate chocolate, this might be hers. The 12″ branch is made of chocolate hazelnut butter and sour cherry jelly. $38.
4. Soma’s Twig Black Forest Cake
is four layers: milk chocolate spiked with a cherry kirsch, white chocolate, drunken Morello cherries (from Germany), and and a layer of cherries. It’s topped with dark chocolate and a cherry. Think of this bar as a high-end, decadent candy bar (not particularly healthy, but I bet it’s delicious). $14.
Soma also sells an assortment of holiday chocolate, including drinking chocolates, truffles, and gift boxes.
5. Pacari Chocolate (Ecuador)
This family-owned chocolate company won too many International Chocolate Awards to list, but let’s start with the Silver in the World Competition for their Raw 70%, Andean Mint, Cardamom, and Lemon Verbena bar. Pacari means “nature” in Quechua, an indigenous language of the Andean region. They honor nature by making organic chocolate using sustainable practices. $8.
6. Dandelion Chocolate (United States)
Dandelion has also won numerous International Chocolate Awards for their chocolate, including Silver for their Maya Mountain, Belize bar, and Bronze for their Kokoa Kamili, Tanzania bar. Made in San Francisco. $8.50-$10.
7. Dandelion Chocolate’s Hot Chocolate
Dandelion Chocolate put their 70% Camino Verde, Ecuador single-origin chocolate in a reusable Japanese vial. $18.
8. Dandelion Chocolate 2018 Advent Calendar They collaborated with 12 chocolate companies to bring this advent calendar to life. Each hand-drawn box is filled with a different treat. It’s $110. They also sell wrapped Three-Bar Gift Sets. $30-$45.
9. Kin+Pod (Canada)
Kin + Pod won Gold at the International Chocolate Awards for their micro-batch 70% Tumaco Columbia organic dark chocolate bar. $7.50. They also sell organic 70% Tumaco Columbia chocolate chips, if you’re making cookies for the holidays. $30.
Dark chocolate bars made with alternative natural sugar
Goodnow Farms won second in the world for their Asochivite 70% single origin bar sweetened with maple sugar, $9. They also sell an award-winning sugar-free Special Reserve, 100% Cacao bar. $11.
Mademoiselle Miel won Bronze for their 70% organic dark chocolate bar sweetened with Wisconsin organic maple sugar, $12. They also sell Honey Bon-Bons (plain or smoked with Scotch) made with their own honey and 100% cacao chocolate. $9.
Hummingbird won the world Bronze in the Americas competition and Silver in the Canadian competition for their organic dark chocolate Zorazal Songbird Love bar sweetened with maple syrup. The Zorzal is a rare bird native to Canada. $7.99 (Canadian). They also won Silver for their Toffee & Nib and Bronze for their Honey Lavender chocolate.
13. Hummingbird’s Cherry Almond Ginger Bark
Hummingbird’s 70% Cherry Almond Ginger Bark is Nicaraguan chocolate topped with dried cherries, toasted almonds, and candied ginger. $8.99.
14. Farmhouse Chocolates on Etsy
Farmhouse Chocolates are handmade in Vermont, New England. They’re 85% organic fair-trade chocolate, soy-lecithin free, vegan, 100% GMO free. $6.
Askinosie won Gold in the Americas competition for their dark chocolate + Red Raspberry CollaBARation™ Bar. They also make holiday chocolate: a Gingerbread Dark Chocolate bar, $11, and Peppermint Bark, $30 for the crate and $15 for the small tin (warning: it sells out fast!).
16. Rx Missionary Chocolates
“The prescription for your chocolate addiction.” These vegan truffles are made by a homeopathic doctor in Portland, Oregon. The chocolate is dairy-free, gluten-free, organic, and fair trade. The Candy Cane Crunch, Spicy Cinnamon Chipotle, and Peppermint Perfection Truffles scream holiday, $7-$17. The chocolate doctor also sells vegan Marshmallow Bars. $15. Order before December 14 to get it by December 24.
17. Rx Missionary’s Sugar-Free Chocolate Bar
If you’re concerned about sugar, Rx Missionary Chocolates has an assortment of sugar-free bars, including Anise, Cinnamon, and Ginger sweetened with organic monk fruit. $10.
18. Lake Champlain Chocolates
Lake Champlain is a family-run Certified B Corporation (which means they do good things for the world). Their chocolate is organic, made in Vermont, non-GMO, fair trade, and kosher. They’ve gone all out for the holidays with gift boxes, baskets, coins, truffles, chocolate Santas, snowmen, and hot chocolate.
19. Lake Champlain’s Peppermint Hot Chocolate is organic, kosher, and fair-trade. $10. Add handmade marshmallows for $20. They also make a Hot Chocolate Sampler. $34. And a hot chocolate gift set. $64.
20. Lake Champlain’s Hanukkah Dark Chocolate Coins Gift Bag
are organic, kosher, vegan. $14.
21. ChocoSol Traders Oaxacan Cinnamon Drinking Chocolate
This hot chocolate is made with organic raw cinnamon and dark chocolate. $10. (Canada) also sells an organic 70% Luscious Coconut Half bar sweetened with coconut sugar. $6.00.