The world bites into about 7.2 million metric tons of chocolate each year and it’s no secret why – the enticement of chocolate makes sure that number doesn’t come down anytime soon. But, as if the thought of devouring a flavorsome chocolate bar wasn’t enough, dark chocolate brings you both, the scrumptiousness and the health benefits, in a single pack! We’re confident you’ve heard of it too; the positive health benefits of dark chocolate, lower blood pressure, improved cognitive function, stress buster, improved skin, and whatnot. However, while all of that is true, there’s definitely more to dark chocolate that you should know before you just go on and inhale the large bar that you just grabbed from Walmart. In this article, we’ve put together a list of the Best Dark Chocolates in 2021 as well as a detailed buying guide that will hook you up with a plethora of information around the topic and get you up to pace!
Be a dark chocoholic and improve athlete performance at the same time. Chocolate and cocoa products are extracted from the beans of the Theobroma Cacao tree and formed into a liquid paste called cocoa liquor. Cocoa is high in healthy bioactive compounds like polyphenols. During vigorous workouts, athletes form a higher concentration of free radicals - a highly inflammatory substance that causes oxidative injury and impairs cell regeneration. Therefore, anti-oxidants, such as dark chocolate, are a natural choice for athletes. The key component in choosing which type of chocolate to buy is really the cacao content. Choose anything greater than 70% cacao for the best health benefits. Dark chocolate can also possibly reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. For me, it certainly elevates mood after a long day of work. Chocolates are easy to binge, so remember to consume in moderation.
Each Hu dark chocolate bar is USDA certified organic and certified paleo
This dark chocolate comes loaded with 70% cocoa
It’s a vegan dark chocolate bar
Each chocolate bar weighs 2.1oz
This dark chocolate is available in a number of flavors and contains 70% cocoa, organic coconut sugar, and fair-trade cocoa butter. It’s a delicious paleo dark chocolate with no dairy, no refined sugar, and no soy lecithins.
The Hu Salty Dark Chocolate bar in specific, is not only vegan, kosher, and gluten-free but also non-GMO project verified. You may use this little piece of heaven in your baked desserts, doll up your breakfast bowls of oatmeal, or bite into and savor this creamy rich paleo dark chocolate bar as a whole!
The Hu dark chocolate bars are available in dozens of flavors
It’s free of refined sugars, palm oil, soy lecithin, and sugar alcohols
It comes in 70%, 85%, and 90% cocoa variations and is available in a bunch of flavors
It contains bourbon vanilla beans, demerara sugar, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder
The dark chocolate bar with 90% cocoa goes through the dutch-process
Each bar is 3.5oz of dark chocolate and measures about 3.5” x 9.5”
This Lindt Excellent bar is a full-bodied extra dark chocolate that is distinguished by powerful earthiness and notes of spice, licorice, and dried fruits. It comes with variations in cocoa percentage and this exact bar contains 85% cocoa! Moreover, each pack costs around $41 and comes loaded with individually packed bars. You may utilize its richness for baking, gifting, savoring it as a whole, or enjoying the sophisticated gourmet experience of it.
It’s available in a plethora of flavors, varying cocoa percentages, and premium ingredients; making it a diverse choice
It contains caffeine and is dairy-free
Each bar may contain traces of tree nuts, peanuts, and soybean
It contains 70% cocoa and comes in a pack of 12 bars
Each bar weighs around 2.8 oz
This dark chocolate has low carbs, is keto-friendly, and is botanically-sweetened
This Extra Dark Chocolate by Lily’s is a low-carb, keto-diet friendly bar with 70% cocoa. It comes loaded with its natural richness and contains stevia for sugar – a zero calorie botanical sweetener derived from the plant Stevia Rebaudiana. It contains non-GMO ingredients, is available in a couple of flavorings and is dairy-free.
The Lily’s Dark chocolate bars are available in 4 flavors
This dark chocolate can be utilized for baking as well as snacking
The 70% cocoa bars are 100% vegan
The orange flavor is negligible; little to no palate
It contains lower percentage of coca and is processed with alkali (dutch-process)
This candy contains soft, sweetened centers dipped in luscious dark chocolate
This dark chocolate candy comes in a 21-ounce bag of flavored (acai and blueberry) candy
The Brookside Chocolate candy packs the flavor of acai and blueberry and adds an elixir of fresh, chocolaty richness to your everyday breakfast and baked desserts! Whether you want to sprinkle these alongside your yogurt or enjoy it with your wine, these candies will add finger-lickin’ goodness to your day!
It’s on the lighter side of dark chocolate and comes loaded with flavory goodness; great for elevating snack mixes
It’s available in Acai, Blueberry, and Pomegranate flavors
It comes in 1-kg package and the chocolate contains 72% cacao
The Bouchard Belgian Dark Chocolate is an excellent source of iron and fiber
It contains 50% less sugar than average chocolate bar; delivers a rich, dark chocolate experience
This non-GMO, vegan-friendly, keto-friendly dark chocolate is one of the best out there with only 28 calories per piece! Moreover, it’s an excellent source of natural flavonoids and antioxidants, qualifying as the go-to dark chocolate for maximum health benefits!
It has a luxurious deep color and touch with fine ridges that give you an intense burst of flavor that you need from a dark chocolate
It comes in a probiotic flavoring as well
It needs to be stored well under suggested temperature conditions
Each bar weighs around 3 oz and measures 19.6” x 6.6” x 6.6”
Each bar is almost two servings; each serving has 16g carb, 4g protein, 6g fiber, 6g sugar, and a total of 36g fat
This dark chocolate may contain milk and nuts
This dark chocolate contains 85% cocoa and is hands down one of the best you’ll ever taste. It comes loaded with a silky-smooth texture and at the same time it’s not bitter. It neither has palm oil nor soy; contains no artificial flavors. However, it may contain a bit of milk, nuts, and coconut.
This dark chocolate is healthy, creamy, and delicious
It comes at a great price and offers good nutrition
It will not always be dairy-free; may contain milk, wheat, almond, hazelnut, and coconut
It’s available in multiple flavorings and cocoa content; the Forest Mint contains 72% cocoa
They’re non-GMO verified, fair-trade certified, and vegan certified
This dark chocolate is available in packs of 4, 8 and, 12 and each bar weighs 3oz
The Endangered Species Chocolate bars are available in multiple flavor mashups and contain high levels of healthful antioxidants. Each bar contains over 70% cocoa and they come with all the essential certifications. It’s also important to know that 10% of the annual net profits generated by Endangered Species contribute in protecting wildlife and at-risk species.
The 10% giveback policy on the Endangered Species brand helps you spend amount for at-risk species
It has a rich cocoa content, high nutrition, and interesting new flavors; lemon dark chocolate for instance
They’re not sweet at all; not for the sweet-toothed
In this section, we’ll be shedding light on a few nutritional facts as well as a couple of tips and tricks about dark chocolates so you can easily go about your purchase! If you aren’t afraid to walk on the dark side, let’s dig in!
What Should You Consider When Buying Dark Chocolate?
A true dark chocolate lover may be able to determine the authenticity of it just by a pinch of its taste. However, as a beginner you’ll need a few metrics to determine the final grade of each bar. For starters, a true dark chocolate will never list sugar as one of its primary ingredients. Let’s look at a few more factors that will help you mark off authentic dark chocolates.
When it comes to breaking ties between milky chocolates, dark chocolates, and hardcore dark chocolates, you simply do that by comparing the amount of fat and sugar in the ingredients. Normally, you’ll find dark chocolates to be nutritionally similar all over; saturated fat, cocoa, some sugar to fight the natural tartness of cocoa, etc. However, it’s the amount of fat and sugar that’ll help you choose the best dark chocolate – the lesser the better!
So, the percentage of cocoa in a truly dark chocolate bar is over 80% or at least greater than 70%. Plus, the cocoa must not have gone through the dutch process (it’s when alkalizing agent is used to reduce the natural acidity of cocoa, giving it a less bitter taste). It’s basically another layer of processing – certainly not good for your ideal dark choco.
Texture and Taste
Dark chocolate is anything but pale or chalky! It’s always rich, creamy, and silky-ish in texture. This happens due to the unprocessed cocoa and less sugar in the chocolate mix.
What To Watch Out For When Buying Dark Chocolate?
Just like a true dark chocolate will never flaunt its sugar percentage or artificial flavor, there are a couple more factors that define an ideal dark chocolate. However, keep in mind that it’s not a competition and it’s fine if your taste buds fall on the lighter side of the dark-chocolate-spectrum. However, if you’re aiming to claim maximum health benefits, you’d want to watch out for the following things in addition to sugar and fat content.
Many a time, you’ll find dark chocolates labels saying, “It may contain milk” – this directly refers to dark chocolate being processed same as chocolate products containing milk. However, if you try hard enough, you’ll be able to find dark chocolates without milk as well – the ideal scenario if you’re lactose intolerant.
In addition to milk, some dark chocolates come loaded with traces of peanuts and may or may not have any labeling introducing so. Therefore, a good practice is to go through reviews to find out if they contain peanuts – and of course this is only suggested if you’re allergic.
There have been traces of Lead and Cadmium in chocolates in the recent years. However, the presence of these metals has to do with the presence of them in the soil in which cocoa is grown. This is only alarming if you’re consuming a lot of dark chocolate.
Genetically Modified Ingredients
Some manufacturers use GMO (genetically modified ingredients) in chocolates. This is normally soy lecithin which is a byproduct of processed soybeans and prevents water and fat from separating. Therefore, always go for non-GMO dark chocolate when you’re shopping for one.
What Are The Primary Traits Of Healthy Dark Chocolate?
To label a few top-of-the-head identifiers for a healthy dark chocolate, here you go:
Always go for a cocoa percentage of over 70% and if you’re fond of the dark side, turn that into 80%
The cocoa included should be free of the dutch-process
The sugar included would either be organic, lowkey processed, or the chocolate may be botanically sweetened
There would be fair-trade and non-GMO labels on your dark chocolate
It would have been processed at a lower temperature
It should have no preservatives or added flavor
Dark Chocolate FAQs
What Is The Difference Between Cocoa and Cacao?
While these both are very similar; cocoa is processed at a much higher temperature. On the contrary, cacao powder is made from non-roasted fermented beans. This makes cacao higher in protein, fiber, magnesium, and iron for obvious reasons.
How Much Cocoa Is Healthy In A Dark Chocolate?
The healthiest dark chocolate has a cocoa percentage of 70% or higher. Cocoa is not only great for your heart and brain health but also actively contributes to healthy teeth and skin.
Why Is Dark Chocolate Considered Healthy?
Dark chocolate is rich in Zinc and Iron. Plus, the cocoa in it contains antioxidants, known as flavonoids, that provide several health benefits. To keep things on the healthier and safe side, you must always consume it in balanced amounts; say 1-2 ounces per day at max if you’re taking it regularly.
Sora has always been a fitness guru, and loves to try different foods and drinks. She is fond of varying her workouts and believes everyone should participate in some sort of physical or mental activity at least three times per week! Ms. Tanaka is thrilled to bring her fitness and nutritional expertise to the Product Reviews Team, and promises to bring you nothing but the best of the best.