Tuesday, 27 July 2021

My Top Refined Sugar Free Chocolate

If you want chocolate that is as healthy and ethical as possible, I have quite a knowledge on the subject. I am constantly researching to find new brands that fit my following dietary requirements- they have to be free from: gluten, dairy, refined sugar, soy, preservatives, additives, fodmaps, unnecessary emulsifiers and IC diet friendly. I am also keen on ethically sourced ingredients and not using plastic. I have put together my current top three favourite chocolates that I enjoy.


Special Occasion Chocolate

Enjoy! Magical Mint Buttons*

RRP: £4.99 for 96g


I have enjoyed all the products I have tried over the years from Enjoy!* and they constantly seem to be improving and perfecting their offerings. However, I had never tried their mint caramel flavour until a wonderful friend gifted me a stash of their products for my birthday. And I have to say, even though I would recommend any of their chocolate or fudge, their mint caramel-filed chocolates are my absolute favourite. As a child, when I was just gluten-free, my go-to chocolate bar was Fry's Peppermint Cream, on special occasions I opted for After Eight Mint Chocolate Thins, and on very special occasions, Bendicks Bittermint (my grandfather would only really eat Bendicks, so it runs in he family)! Since having a multitude of complicated dietary requirements dark chocolate filled with liquid minty goodness has not been available. I've had the odd bar with mint oil, such as Montezumas Absolute Black with Mint, which I do love, but it is not the same as a silky liquid minty centre. Suffice to say when I opened the 70% raw chocolate buttons bursting with mint flavoured caramel, I was both eager to try them but also unsure whether they would live up to my peppermint fondant dreams. Let me tell you, they do! They are advertised as caramel, and I was worried they would be overly sweet with just a hint of peppermint, but I was wrong. The soft centre, was dark and oozing and tasted so beautifully of mint I could not believe it. I was thrilled and savoured every bite, being a chocoholic the packet only lasted the day but they took a while to eat as the depth of the flavour against the dark chocolate was so perfect each button was enough on its own. You can also now buy this flavour as a 70g Mint Caramel Bar*, I am yet to try the bar, but I like the idea of the buttons as it is more reminiscent of a box of delightfully gooey minty chocolates from my childhood.

Get 10% using my coupon code: creatingrebeccah*

  https://joyofenjoy.com/discount/creatingrebeccahhttps://joyofenjoy.com/discount/creatingrebeccahhttps://joyofenjoy.com/discount/creatingrebEveryday Chocolate

Montezumas Absolute Black Chocolate Buttons

RRP: £3.99 for 180g

I have had tried most 100% chocolate I come across, although many brands are not affordable on a daily basis. I have not tried one I do not like. The great thing about it is I really cemented the fact that I was a true chocolate lover, and not just addicted to that sweet ultra-creamy stuff that we are surrounded by. Every bar has such a unique flavour, you can taste the difference in the cacao bean. The flavours are always rounded, full and complex. There are 100% chocolates that I might rate higher for me in terms of flavour, but the price point is just too high to eat every day, so my current everyday chocolate of choice is from the wonderful chocolate brand Montezuma. I have to say their Absolute Black range is excellent. They have even started to flavour some of their chocolates, which is such a treat for those of us avoiding even unrefined sugars! This also comes as a bar, but it is cheaper and more versatile as chocolate drops and we always have a large stash in our cupboard both for daily eating and baking. The amazing thing about this chocolate is that I have found from time to time the flavour changes, which proves how authentic their chocolate is. None of this “has to always be the same and generic or consumers won't understand” nonsense. Just properly made chocolate from the cacao they are sourcing at the time. I have two batches at the moment, one is a little more bitter, fruitier and has a slight alcoholic taste. The other is wider but flatter button and is sweeter and smoother with a hint of coconut. Yet both are purely 100% cacao! And I have to say I love both. You will happily find me munching away on a small number of buttons with decaf Nespresso at about midday, every day. I am a big fan of all Montezuma chocolate and used to enjoy their dairy-free ranges as a treat when I still ate unrefined sugars. Their truffles are superb. However, sadly these are not suitable for me anymore. But, recently they have expanded their range of Absolute Black and now produce delicious Christmas and Easter products too, at very reasonable prices, I particularly recommend the absolute black chocolate and coconut oil Christmas truffles! To top it all off there is no plastic in sight in any of the packaging!

Good Old Fashioned Bar of Choc

Ombar 72% Chocolate Bar

RRP: £3.29 70g bar or £1.99 35g bar

Ombar was one of the first brands I came across when searching for raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar-free and soy-free chocolate a few years ago. I had pretty much given up on ever being able to eat a bar of chocolate again, so was thrilled when I found this brand. Over the years they have added to the range, and I can eat a fair amount of their flavours. They have brought out many more variations on their 35g and 70g bars over the years and I am partial to their centres range. However, sometimes I feel like deviating from my 100% chocolate bar to something more reminiscent of the type of chocolate bar I used to have from the tuck shop or no the way home from school as a treat, and this is where their plain bars excel. They do not contain added emulsifiers or preservatives or loaded with unhealthy fats and sugars. They are plain and simple, but not ordinary. My current favourite is the 72% Cacao bar, which is simply just unroasted cacao, coconut sugar, cocoa butter and live cultures: Lactobacillus Acidophilusis. Ombar describes it as “delicate and well balanced, with floral, jasmine-like tasting notes” and I have to concur. It has a lovely snap, which is often lacking in some brands of chocolate that have the same free-from ingredients, it is smooth to the taste, melts beautifully and is delicious enough to quench my desire for chocolate. This is my top go-to bar, at the moment, for a high-quality raw chocolate bar that hits that chocoholic spot time and time again! If you are after something sweeter and creamier I would recommend trying Ombar's Coco Mylk 55% or Ombar's Coco 60%.


My chocolate story (in a nut, or should I say cacao shell)

 

I always loved chocolate, especially good quality chocolate. As a tiny child, after being diagnosed as with Coeliac Disease, the only thing I could eat in a cafe was the chocolate truffles (if the cafe had them), and I was always allowed to choose two. Fast forward to a few years ago and my M.E. specialist directed me to some research that indicated a small amount of dark chocolate a day was helpful for fatigue in M.E. patients. I was very happy. However, I had already given up on chocolate (much to my dismay) because I could not tolerate sugar at that time. This led me down a route of adding cacao powder to things to tide me over while I looked for an alternative. Diabetic chocolate was not an option as I react worse to the types of things they add for sweetness than actual sugar. Eventually, I came across chocolate made with coconut sugar and started eating a little bit a day. I found I tolerated unrefined sugars like coconut sugar and maple syrup, that are low in fructose,  much better than regular white or brown sugars. This was mostly fine but there were some weeks I could not cope with it daily. Soon I was up to 90% chocolate and had to be careful with the unrefined sugar in that too. However, soon I came across 100% chocolate and was thrilled to try this. Now, even though I was used to very dark chocolate, initially I found a tiny bite very strong. However, I now love 100% chocolate and have tried many different brands and eat it every morning. I have come accustomed to it so much I could eat it all day long if I let myself. I also find it really helps my stomach calm down after eating most of my meals if I need it (sadly I can only eat it before 5 pm, so it cannot help me digest supper)! I still need to control my unrefined sugar intake and most days I save it for a homemade cake made with low amounts of coconut sugar or maple syrup. I still adore any chocolate, that meets my dietary requirements, and I thoroughly enjoy both chocolate that is 100% and not 100% cacao!

 

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