The two raw chocolate bars that changed my mind about raw chocolate

I have an awful confession to make. Come closer - I don't want to say this too loud. I don't like raw chocolate.

I always found it a bit greasy, and a bit weird tasting. The flavour was close enough to remind you of 'normal' chocolate, but far enough away that you were left pining for the original.

Well, that's what I used to think. I've tried a few raw chocolate brands intermittently over the many years that I've been vegan, but I've never been impressed enough for any of them to warrant a repeat buy.

Well, that was then, and this is now, and things are different. Things are different, because I've discovered two vegan raw chocolate brands that I am pretty much in love with. They make my heart pound, my face smile, and my brain wonder how long it is til the next time I can see them.

The first is Pana Chocolate, an Aussie raw chocolate maker whose Twitter feed is always full of droolsome images. It's raw, organic, and refined-sugar and soy free if any of those are your thing. For me, I'm not fussy - I just want chocolate that tastes good. And Pana Chocolate does just that. It's everything good chocolate should be - rich, smooth, luxurious.

(And the packaging's super-cute - the first bite is with the eyes, and all that.)

I've only tried the 60 percent raw cacao, but there's a whole shedload of other varieties out there - mint, nuts, rose, orange, sour cherry and vanilla, cinnamon to name most of them - and given time, I'll be working my way through one and all.

The other raw chocolate brand that's got me all a-quiver is Loving Earth. Like Pana Chocolate, Loving Earth is raw, vegan, organic and has all sorts of fun flavours: mint, mandarin, raspberry, and more good stuff besides. They're equally smart about the packaging - though Loving Earth has gone for form as well as function, and made it compostable. Nice touch.

Happily, it also comes in two sizes: 80g chunky blocks for sharing (yeah, let's pretend we'll share it) and little dainty 30g one-portion packs that you can eat without feeling like you've had a chocolate blowout. (If you want a blowout, those bigger packs will see you right).

While the caramel version that I tried had a little bit of the greasiness that I guess is down to the low melting point of coconut oil, the taste was unique - not like any other vegan chocolate I can think of. Based on the tastiness - and cuteness - of this caramel heart, I'm intrigued to see if the rest of the range are as good.

The downside? Neither are cheap - over £3 for the Pana, £4 for the bigger Loving Earth. The other downside is that they're both Aussie brands, so there's some food miles involved that mean that, much as I love both brands, they'll be only an occasional treat. Still, occasional or not, they're one sweet reward.

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  1. I have to admit I've never been a huge fan of raw chocolate either - it's often a little chalky to me! Will have to try both those brands next time I'm in London though. :)

  2. Yummy. I have an Aussie vegan food penpal and she has sent me both these brands. They are sooo good. I was also lucky to win a selection box of 4 Pana bars last month and I am eeking them out. I am also a fan of the snapable raw chocs by Om Bar and The Raw Chocolate Company. Have you tried the chocolate covered mulberries by Raw Chocolate Company. They are my favourite and you can get them in mini bags for around a pound.

  3. Raw chocolate is an acquired taste. I don't love it, but I don't mind it either. I do love the Raw Chocolate Pies! which I discovered when I was in Cornwall a couple of weeks back http://allotment2kitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/a-little-bit-of-cornwall-in-my-kitchen.html I will have to check out your recommendations too.

  4. I am smiling as I type this as those two brands changed my mind about raw chocolate too :) I especially love the Pana blocks. Unfortunately (now I live here) they are both actually cheaper in Australia, and given they weren't exactly cheap even there, I haven't been able to justify buying them in UK stores. I'm glad you liked them though and that they can convert more people to good raw chocolate!

  5. I've had some really excellent raw chocolate, but I will confess that the first time I tasted raw cacao (in the Ecuadorian rainforest, no less, at a chocolate factory) I had to smile and keep my opinion to myself. I thought it tasted like dirt!

  6. Yes! Pana and Loving Earth are great. I love Pana's sour cherry and vanilla and the fig and wild orange...mmmm. In Melbourne (and I think Sydney) they have their own cafe with amazingly delicious raw cakes, slices, pops and individual chocolates - so tasty and beautiful.

  7. You couldn't have said it better, I always thought I was the only that didn't like raw chocolate. Glad to hear there's better versions out there nowadays. I'll be on the lookout for these brands if only for their super cute packaging. :-)


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