By Beth Lipton
We’re sure by now you’re well-versed on the many health benefits of dark chocolate, including its minerals and antioxidants. That’s why we eat it; it has nothing to do with its luscious, indulgent flavor, creamy, luxurious texture and…ahem.
As we were saying, dark chocolate on its own is obviously good for you. But a few companies have taken this amazing superfood and infused it with herbs, adaptogens and other health-boosting ingredients to make it even better and more delicious. Read on for a few of our favorites.
If you prefer chocolate milk to hot chocolate, here’s your jam. Reishi, organic cocoa and coconut milk come together in a grab-and-go drink that’s cold and refreshing. Bonus: One bottle has 25% of your daily iron and magnesium. And Rebbl is free of dairy, soy, refined sugar, gums and carrageenan. There’s also a Mocha Maca option that’s made with cocoa and an herbal blend that takes the place of coffee. ($3.99 for a 12-oz. bottle.)
Start with gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free stoneground artisan cacao, lightly sweeten it with coconut sugar, and already we’re on board. Add antioxidant powerhouse wild blueberries and anxiety- and digestive-issue-soothing lavender, and we’re ready to rip open the wrapper. (They also have a “Bar A Day” 30-bar collection for $149, in case you’re wondering what to get us for the holidays. Just sayin’.) We also love Rawclates’ Pistachio Hemptations, Amazonian Acai and Goji and Minty Cacao Crunch bars. ($5 for a 1.6-oz. bar.)
The company’s motto is “Chocolate is not candy. Chocolate is food,” and we agree. All of their bars are delicious (yes, we tried them all, #journalism), but Stamina is our favorite, with maca, cranberries, cherries, pomegranate and raspberries. Quadrupling down on the red fruits means you get plenty of antioxidants and adaptogen root maca is touted as an energy booster and hormone balancer. Plus, we love their varying tart flavors. The bars are also soy-free, vegan and GMO-free. ($24.99 for 8 1.48-oz. bars.)
It’s hard to choose just one of Hu’s paleo-friendly, gluten-free, refined-sugar-free, GMO-, dairy- and soy-free bars, because they’re all addictively luscious. We went with the cashew butter bar here because we haven’t seen another health-conscious bar quite like it, with its ultra-creamy, ever-so-slightly salty center. Plus, these bars are super mineral rich, between the cashews and the real vanilla bean. ($5 for a 2.1-oz. bar, or $60 for 12.)
Prefer to drink your chocolate? We feel you. But back away from the sugary packets of hot chocolate powder of yore and grab a box of this super-mushroom-laced goodness. Before you wrinkle up your nose at the idea of mushrooms in your hot chocolate, trust us: All you taste is rich, not-too-sweet, grown-up hot cocoa, with a dash of spice from the added cinnamon and cardamom. The reishi shrooms are linked with a calming effect, as well as boosted immunity and cardiovascular health. ($19.99 for a box of 10 packets.)
Turmeric is certainly having a moment. The anti-inflammatory, pain-fighting cousin to ginger is the trendy spice du jour, and while it usually turns up in curries and other savory dishes, organic and fair-trade Theo Chocolate paired it with fellow food superstars coconut and quinoa and created these crispy, flavorful clusters. Add them to a holiday gift basket, or stash them in your purse or glove box for chocolate “emergencies” (you know what we mean). They’re also soy-free, gluten-free and vegan. ($5.99 for a 2.8-oz. bag.)
Want more healthy chocolate options? Here are some more of our favorite chocolate gifts.