There is one question I keep getting asked. Is chocolate vegan? Technically, yes it is. It is made from cocoa beans. So it is a produce based on plants. However there are exceptions. One of the most famous ones is “milk chocolate”.
Good quality chocolate vs. low quality.
In any high quality chocolate the ingredients will be very simple. Cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar and depending on the variety there will be flavour ranging from vanilla beans to salt. And that is all. Lesser quality chocolate bars always have a long ingredient list. It comes with all sorts of ingredients ranging from colourings, fillers and flarourings to milk, milk fat or milk powder.
Generally speaking nearly all cheap chocolate is not vegan simply due to additives. But that does not mean that all expensive chocolate is vegan. It is however a safer bet to take.
How to be sure?
Chances of finding a chocolate bar that is actually labelled as vegan are low so there is only one solution. Read the ingredient list. Some chocolate bars are labelled as suitable for vegans in the small print section but that is rarely the case. Most vegan chocolate produce is in fact accidentally vegan because the main ingredients are of such high quality that no additives are needed. Lindt 70% cocoa would be a fine example for this BUT it is labelled as “may contain traces of nuts and milk” … and here is the tricky part.
“May contain traces of nuts and milk”
Why would a company possibly write this on the package when the ingredient list states that neither of this is in the chocolate bar. What is going on? The explanation is rather simple. The same facility is used for the production of different varieties of chocolate bars. There is a minuscule chance of cross contamination and for people with extreme allergies this labeling is a lifesaver.
Where can I find vegan chocolate?
Literally anywhere. You can find vegan chocolates just about anywhere ranging from supermarket to health stores. If you are not happy with vegan chocolate that comes with the tag “may contain traces of nuts and milk”, I would advise you to go to health food stores or artisan markets. They have the best selections for pure chocolate produce and if you are lucky you can even taste some of the bars before buying them.