Monday, January 18, 2016

Chuao Chocolates: Vegan, Delicious & FEP-Approved!

such classy packaging. 
right from the get-go, you can tell that you are dealing with a nice situation!

Do you like chocolate? ME TOO. 

Actually, I love chocolate so much that I have a little chocolatey nibble almost every day. I even have a special little box in my cupboard full of chocolatey goodies. It has "SWEETIES" written on the side of it in all caps. I love white chocolate, dark chocolate, hot chocolate, raw chocolate, vegan milk chocolate... But, all that said, chocolate is definitely a luxury and not a need - so it's important to me to buy chocolate that I can feel good about eating. 

the sweeties box
(no chocolate for doggies, sorry Snoopy!)

In the last several years I have learned more about chocolate, and I do my best to buy organic, fair trade chocolate. I installed the Food Empowerment Project Chocolate List App on my smartphone -- this is a really wonderful app that gives a list of all companies that make vegan chocolates and lets you know about each company's transparency as far as using chocolate from non-slavery areas or sources. For me, veganism is all about non-violence and non-harming toward others, so doing my best to make sure that my luxury chocolate items don't originate from a situation rife with suffering is important to me. It is always a joy to find that the chocolates I'm looking at in the store are approved on the FEP list. And sadly, I have put back (or stopped buying) so many products because of their "not-recommended" status on the list. There is still a lot of work to be done in this arena! 

FEP-approved                      versus                      FEP-not recommended

So, when the folks at Chuao Chocolatier offered to send me several of their vegan flavors (they also make non-vegan flavors), the first thing I did was check the FEP list -- "approved"! 
Yeah! Let's do this thing! 

excellent array of tastiness! it was a good day when these beauties arrived in the mail!

I had seen Chuao bars in the stores, but hadn't realized that several of their dark chocolate varieties are vegan, so I had never tried them. 

Boy, was I missing out! These were all so excellent. Gentle readers, I have SO many chocolate bars tucked away in my special sweeties box. But, I'm a slow consumer... just a nibble or two per day. So it can take me quite a while to get through a whole chocolate bar. Let's just say, that once these bars arrived on the scene... I opened them and never even made eye contact with any of my other chocolates until these were all gone! 

The base of dark chocolate in all of these bars was 100% to my liking -- velvety smooth, a strong dark chocolate flavor perfectly balanced between a little bitter and a little sweet. So good! Each of the individual bars was really unique and they were each really perfectly balanced with their unique flavors. You know how some chocolates are too heavily flavored, or too subtle with their promised flavoring? I really feel like the folks at Chuao got it just right in every case. I was so impressed! I understand that they also have an Orange-a-go-go flavor that is vegan and it sounds great, but I haven't tried it yet. 

I'll tell you about each of the flavors I tried individually:

ooh aah almond

Instead of just a simple almond + chocolate bar, the Chuao almond chocolate bar has a few special touches: the almonds in the bar are left whole and are covered in a slightly sweet and slightly salty crunchy coating. Somehow the result is more than the sum of its parts. Smooth, creamy dark chocolate with whole crunchy salty almonds is an all-round good thing, and that sweet-salty crunchy touch on the almonds is excellent!

peace, love & peppermint

I loved this bar. I love chocolate + peppermint, and yet I've found that some minty choco bars just really don't do it for me. Some are too artificial or "extracty" tasting, some aren't minty enough... This bar starts with the fantastic smooth dark chocolate, and then has millions of minty little candy cane bits mixed in... for an excellent peppermint flavor and an excellent crunchy texture experience. Definitely one of my favorite minty chocolate bars ever!

triple nut temptation

This bar is dark chocolate, with whole roasted almonds, pistachios, and hazelnuts mixed it. Nothing more than that, but nothing more is needed. I think this one was Mr. VE&T's favorite. I love the whole roasted nuts in there so much. And those are 3 of my favorite nuts too, so it's no surprise that I was such a fan of this one. 

spicy maya

Chuao's take on spicy hot chocolate is definitely my favorite ever in this genre. I like the combo of spicy heat with chocolate, but in some spicy chocolate bars the heat is over-powering and brings no extra flavor... and other times the heat is completely under-whelming and feels like it didn't deliver. I totally fell in love with this bar immediately - it's got complex flavors and just the right amount of heat... from cinnamon, pasilla chile and cayenne in the chocolate. You can really taste the chile flavor even before the heat hits your palette. Quite to my surprise, this was the first bar to disappear from the Sweeties box. A sleeper hit! 

Team Chocolate 4Ever

In all, I am a big fan of this chocolate! No doubt that I would be even more stoked about it if their chocolate was also organic and fair trade -- but knowing that it's vegan and FEP-approved helps me feel good about enjoying these delicious treats. And I also wish their website made it easier to locate the vegan flavors, without having to click through each one to find out. I totally love the quality, the flavors, the presentation, the packaging -- and I will definitely buy Chuao bars again. I also think that they would make nice chocolate bars for gifts, because of how beautiful and delicious and special they are. 

disclaimer: I was sent these bars to sample and review, but the opinions expressed are mine alone!

PS! We have a winner!!
Congratulations to Gabrielle
for winning a copy of Jess Nadel's latest cookbook "Superfoods 24/7"


  1. I was so excited when I recently found Chuao bars at my local health food store because I've heard they are amazing. But upon closer inspection I discovered that none of the bars they carry were the vegan varieties - boo! Maybe one of these days I'll have to order myself some online.

    Also, that you for the info on the FEP app. It's so useful! I've downloaded it to my phone so I can make better chocolate choices. Yay!

  2. You certainly make a strong case for buying Chuao chocolate. I have the app on my phone, too, and always check it before buying any type of chocolate. I also have a stash of bars in a little wooden case next to my computer. (I only eat a small piece at a time so a bar can last for weeks.) I'll have to keep an eye out for Chuao so I can add a bar to my collection. I wonder if my speed of consumption will increase with Chuao chocolate. :)

  3. I'm glad to see there some really great chocolate on the FEP list (including my favourite vegan chocolates of all time, Booja Booja!) I also have a sweetie jar (known as the treat jar around these parts!) I don't think I've ever seen Chuao around this way, but I like the look of the nutty ones!

  4. Great review Amey! I always thought this brand didn't carry vegan options. I'm excited to try all 4 varieties. You made them all sound delicious!

  5. "Do you like chocolate?" YES!!! Yes, yes I do. I LOVE chocolate =D
    "Actually, I love chocolate so much that I have a little chocolatey nibble almost every day."
    So glad to know I'm not solo on this one. I've tried breaks from chocolate multiple times... but it never sticks. I've come to the conclusion that I shouldn't avoid something I love so much.
    Where did you manage to track down vegan white chocolate? My hubby used to love it before giving up dairy, but we haven't managed to track down any vegan versions.
    I'm not a fan of spicy chocolate, but the peppermint and almond flavours sound delicious. I will check them out!

    And thank you for sharing info about the FEP. I will install the app on my phone so I can make proper chocolate choices ;)

  6. I love that we're kindred spirits when it comes to chocolate! I've been buying FEP certified chocolates for a while now and I also like to nibble a little chocolate every day! At home I had a lunch box filled with loads of different kinds of chocolate, my favourites are the Seed & Bean Sea Salt bar and the Divine bar with freeze dried raspberries - yum. I haven't been able to find any good FEP chocolate since I was in Europe this summer (I KNOW!!) but my BFF has packaged up a care package full of yummies that should be winging it's way to Taiwan right now!! I think if I was going to pick a favourite Chuao bar it'd be the almond one, it sounds divine and I totally loved those almond bark thins before I discovered FEP and realised that they're on the no list.

  7. its been a long time since I've had Chuao but they are really good and not stingy with the nuts either!

  8. Yum Yum Yum!!!!!! These sound incredible-- the Mayan and the Almond especially sound like future favorites! Mmmmmhmmmmmm chocolate.

  9. Great review and thanks for the app recommendation. I'm always looking for more vegan chocolate options to add to my V-Day gift list.

  10. Ooh, they do sound so good. I'm trying to stay away from too many sweets lately but...chocolate is good for you, right?


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