Valentine's Day is just one week away. I have already reminded my junior high students that I will be accepting flowers, chocolate, cards, stuffed animals, and so on. One astute student wondered if he could bring me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (my staple lunch). Yes, sir, as long as it's prepared with whole wheat, dairy-free bread!
Valentine's Day is not my favorite holiday, but it is the perfect excuse to eat chocolate. Not that I need one. I am almost certain that the chocolate addiction runs in my family. My brother can routinely be found devouring a box of Toblerone. Mom sticks to Hershey's, while Dad is a Reese's fanatic. I always have chocolate in the apartment. However, most of those heart-shaped boxes do not contain vegan-friendly treats, so you will not find me stocking up on cutesy Valentine's Day candy. My eighth grade student did, in fact, have the right idea, when he realized that Valentine's Day might not be "normal" for his strange, "hippie" teacher.
I might not have the option of running to Walgreen's and buying a giant heart-shaped box of chocolates, but there are still some great brands of chocolate that are vegan and easy to find. Here are my favorites:
1. Endangered Species Chocolate
A variety of dark chocolate candy bars, certified gluten-free and vegan, and made with ethically traded, all-natural ingredients. My favorite is the Dark Chocolate with Mint; reminds me of the Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies! 10% of your purchase is donated to support conservation efforts. Environmentally conscious chocolate is definitely the way to my heart.
2. Chocolove Chocolate Bars
The dark chocolate variety of this brand is vegan, and quite delicious. I am partial to the Cherries & Almond bar. There is also a love poem inside the wrapper of each bar; very romantic!
3. Ghirardelli Midnight Reverie
I have been teased before for mispronouncing Ghirardelli, but I think I have it down now. Anyway, what matters is that Geer-ar-delly does carry a vegan-friendly chocolate bar. Containing 86% cacao, this one is not for the faint of heart this Valentine's Day.
4. Enjoy Life Foods Boom CHOCO Boom Bars
I have tried the Crispy Rice Bar, and it was so delicious that I began passing it around at a professional development training I attended, just so my colleagues could see that vegan products can be amazing. It's the dairy, nut, and soy-free version of the Nestle Crunch bar! Enjoy Life also carries Dark Chocolate and Rice Milk chocolate bars. Love it!
5. Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Perfect for dipping strawberries!
There are clearly plenty of vegan options available for chocolate lovers this Valentine's Day. Check your local health food store or larger health food market, like Whole Foods, Sprouts, Wild By Nature, or Trader Joe's... and enjoy!