Chocolate on Valentine’ Day doesn’t have to be a trite ritual. Invigorate a classic pairing with these luscious finds:
Nicobella: Nichole Dandrea, nutritionist, registered dietician, and yoga instructor, always envisioned dark chocolate truffles with a ganache center made from healthy ingredients instead of the typical cream and sugar-laden blend. Her idea blossomed into Nicobella vegan organic truffles filled with the likes of creamy blueberry almond, pumpkin chai, and ginger green tea, and enrobed in 70 percent dark chocolate from organic and Fair Trade favorite, Theo, in Seattle. A great on-the-go snack: 2-ounce bags of Nicobella’s Coco-Nut Munch, clusters of chocolate roasted almonds and shredded coconut.
Sun Cups: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups may certainly sate sugar cravings, but ever take a gander at the ingredients? For a more healthful alternative, try a Sun Cup from Boulder, Colorado-based Seth Ellis Chocolatier. They’re made with dark (there’s a milk version, too, for ligher tastes) Ecuadorian, Rainforest Alliance-certified chocolate and good-for-you organic sunflower butter with a hint of sea salt tucked inside.
NibMor: A conversation over seed sprouting is the icebreaker that brought together Heather Kenzie and Jennifer Love, former students at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. Eventually, their mutual passion for cacao led to the creation of NibMor, a line of raw chocolate bars. These textural beauties, including one with crunchy cacao nibs, another flaunting lightly toasted brown rice – are made only through a cold process and never heated above 118 degrees to preserve anti-oxidant power.
NewLeaf Chocolates: Walter Plante and Genevieve Oba launched their Arlington, Massachusetts, business as an ode to organic, Fair Trade chocolate. Not only have the husband and wife team curated a collection of quality products from around the globe – Madecasse’s single-origin chocolates from Madagascar, Pacari’s Ecuadorian chocolate-covered golden berries, Taza’s disks of rustic Mexican stone ground chocolate- but they’ve also developed a sustainable GreenPod shipping system that uses only plant-based materials. However, for customers living in local zip codes, deliveries arrive the charming, old-fashioned way: via bicycle.