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What To Look For In A Healthy Dark Chocolate

Trying to choose a healthier chocolate? We know dark chocolate is a healthier option, but not all varieties are created equal. Here’s what to look for in a good quality dark chocolate. By Nutritionist and GoodnessMe Box Health Editor Melissa Fine

Minimal Ingredients

If it’s a quality chocolate, it shouldn’t take more than a few seconds to read the ingredients list, because it will should only contain a handful of simple ingredients you’re familiar with – like cocoa, cacao butter, vanilla and a little sugar.

Your typical commercial chocolate on the other hand fits more under the confectionery category, with a long list of ingredients you wouldn’t keep in your pantry - like vegetable fat (often a source of undesirable, potentially artery-clogging trans fat), butter fat, milk powder and flavourings from an unspecified origin.

A High Cocoa Percentage

We like to go for chocolate varieties with a cocoa or cacao percentage of at least 70%, so that we’ll be getting more health-promoting antioxidants and less sugar. If you’re a milk chocolate person but want to start having the dark stuff, start with varieties with a 60% cocoa content, then build up to 70% and 85% cocoa varieties – Initially these will taste bitter but you’ll probably eventually find that you can’t go back to milk chocolate, as it will begin to taste sickly sweet.

Another reason we love dark chocolate at GoodnessMe Box HQ is that it’s super satisfying and hard to overdo. Take Oxfam’s GM-free ‘fair’ Dark Chocolate, It’s smooth mouth-feel and bittersweet finish makes you actually stop and think about the intense flavour, so you’ll eat a couple of squares slowly… With waxy, sugar-laden milk chocolate on the other hand, you’d probably gobble down several rows in the same amount of time, only to feel sick after.

Fair Trade Ingredients

When you choose a fair-trade product, you’re voting with your wallet, increasing the demand for skills, work and production – and subsequent sustainability - in developing countries. Oxfam for example ‘work toward long term sustainable trading relationships with 136 producer groups in 38 countries, including Australia’.

It’s nice to know that when you buy a fair-trade chocolate, you’re supporting a brand that is not just for itself, but one that thinks about its contribution to the bigger picture.

Oxfam Fair Dark Chocolate: Ingredients: Total Fair Trade ingredients: 99.5% (from Peru, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Dominican Republic), Cane sugar (from Paraguay), Cocoa powder (from Peru, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Dominican Republic) and GM-free Soy lecithin (from Brasil and India).
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