We taste test 5 healthy chocolate bars | Gourmand and Gourmet

We taste test 5 healthy chocolate bars

‘Healthy’ chocolate? Does it really exist? Or is it something of myth, a distant dream we cling to every time we find ourselves lying in a pile of candy wrappers after a good binge session, chocolate smears on our shirt, blissful smile on our face and tomorrow’s regret already creeping in. Head to any health food store and they’ll tell you it does, but are the ‘clean’ delights of cocoa butter and coconut nectar really worth giving up your Cadbury Top Deck for? We decided it was time to find out. Pana chocolate: Raw Cacao Your first bite of Pana chocolate goes something like this. First thought: this feels like chalk. Second thought: Why are my teeth getting stuck? Third thought: Wait a minute, this is FREAKING DELICIOUS. Reaching for a second square is almost involuntary. Perhaps that’s why the bars are so small – can’t have all that coconut oil going to our thighs. Like most of the ‘healthy’ chocolate brands we found, it comes in a nicely textured matte cardboard box – apparently the lack of shine makes it healthier. We’ll take another, thanks. The Chocolate Counter: Chocolate Brownie Crunch The question we have for The Chocolate Counter is this: What is monk fruit juice and is it the reason your chocolate makes us want to scrub our mouth out with steel wool? And what’s with the pea protein? Are you trying to say something about your vegan customer base (we’re just guessing that’s the case). The words ‘chocolate brownie’ got us mighty excited, but while it started out well, and could pass for the real stuff in a pinch, there’s a more than a bit of an eye twitch when you get to the aftertaste. Final verdict? We’ve had worse. Loving Earth: Mylk You know it’s fancy when milk is spelt with a y. Whether it must be said with a Texan accent (‘kehhn you get mey sum mayyylk darrrling’) is another matter, but we spent a good 5 minutes shouting ‘myyyyylk!’ to each other before the taste testing began. A hint of blackberry with notes of oolong… oh who are we kidding, it tastes like the floor of the Amazon rainforest the box (another matte number) professes it comes from. But points for being raw, organic AND fair trade. Sweet William: Milk Oh Sweet William, you slay us with your slogan. ‘I’m sweet enough already!’ and by association, so are we. Well, it helps to combat the terribly tacky ‘I belong in your diabetic aunt’s handbag’ impression that your gold and purple wrapping gives anyhow. Sweet William tastes and feels more like chocolate than any of the others we tried, but that could perhaps be attributed to emulsifiers and soy lecithin E476 than the use of actual cocoa beans. But whatevs, it’s sugar free and low carb! And the chemical flavour profile is freeeee! Pico: Coconut Being that we just dived into a pile of ‘healthy’ chocolate with no consideration for the repercussions that epic amounts of coconut oil, cacao solids and agave syrup could bring, we felt slightly like a hippo in mud by the time we got to this bar. Nevertheless, the friendly blue box appealed to us, and we were pleasantly surprised to find the chocolate wrapped in foil, for a true chocolate experience from the start. A tentative nibble revealed that huzzah! We’d found the best of the bunch. The secret, apparently, is even more coconut, resulting in a Coconut Rough like taste. Alas, a quick scan of the nutritional panel reveals that when it comes to kilojoules per 100g, Pico is the worst of the lot. Hopes. Dashed. *Feels ill.* *Keeps eating chocolate anyway.* Words by Ranyhyn Akui