Due to the ever-growing popular lifestyle choice, more and more vegan products are being released. This is great news for people who are following a vegan diet! If you’ve seen lots of vegan chocolate bars on the shelves of your local grocery store, you’ve probably wondered what vegan chocolate actually is and what makes it different to regular chocolate. Read on to find out more.
Why isn’t chocolate always vegan?
Following a vegan diet means that you don’t eat or drink anything that comes from an animal. This means excluding meat, fish, eggs, milk, and honey from your diet. A lot of vegans are also careful about foods that have animal products somewhere in their processing. For example, some alcoholic drinks use isinglass in the fining process. Isinglass is gelatine made from fish, and so a lot of vegans wouldn’t want to consume those drinks.
A lot of the chocolate bars that you can buy will be made using either milk or milk powder, which means that they aren’t suitable for vegans. You might find it interesting to know that the highest quality chocolate is often made without using any milk at all, making it ‘accidentally vegan.’ This is usually true of high-quality dark chocolates which are made using mostly cocoa solids and don’t have added milk.
What is vegan chocolate made from?
Chocolate in its raw form is made from cacao beans, which come from a plant and are therefore completely vegan. It’s the manufacturing process that chocolate goes through where milk and other animal products are added, which is what makes it unsuitable for vegans. If you want to check a chocolate bar to see if it’s vegan, check for any milk or milk-derived ingredients like cream and butter, which will usually be labelled in bold.
Vegan chocolate is made using cacao and doesn’t have any milk added to it. The base ingredients for vegan chocolate are usually cacao, sugar, cocoa butter (which, despite the name, is actually vegan), and vanilla.
Chocolatiers may then add other ingredients into the mix to make their chocolate extra tasty. Renowned chocolatiers Dallmanns have a wide range of vegan chocolate flavours such as:
- Peanut butter, date, and coconut
- Almond butter, cocoa nibs, and maple syrup
- Toasted quinoa, orange, and almonds
- Sea salt caramel
- Cardamom and rosewater ganache
So, as you can see, there’s no need to miss out on a variety of chocolate flavours just because you’re vegan!
Does vegan chocolate taste the same?
If you’re comparing vegan chocolate to mainstream chocolate brands such as Hershey or Cadbury, then no, vegan chocolate doesn’t taste exactly the same.
A lot of the mainstream brands have milk added to them to make them milder and creamier than high-quality pure chocolate that you can buy. However, it’s not necessary to use dairy to achieve a creamy consistency. A lot of chocolate brands are working on their vegan chocolate offerings and using dairy-free alternatives like coconut milk, cashew milk, oat milk, and hazelnut butter to give their chocolate a similar taste.