Simple Pleasures: Chocolate...One Of Life's Sweetest Gifts

You know I love chocolate.  Everything about it, in all it's marvelous forms. Truly, it is a gift from the earth. But I may have to admit to being a bit of a chocolate snob. In the same way as with fine wines and great coffees, once you have a tasted to the best, you just can't go back! No ordinary grocery-store chocolate for me!  Nor should there be any for you, as they are not organic, nor fair-trade, nor are they even good quality chocolate, often poorly made and filled with mediocre ingredients that are over-processed and full of additives that merely attempt to imitate the real thing. This, in my opinion, is not only a shame, it's a crime.

Following is a (not neccessarily complete) list of my personal favorite chocolate brands. This list is based solely on my personal tastes in chocolate. If you agree, or especially if you disagree, I invite anyone to offer up their own opinions, or their own list! I love a deep rich chocolate flavor, a bar with finely tempered snap and sheen to it and enough cocoa-butter content to melt delightfully and smoothly on the tongue. Truly good chocolate will also have a start, middle and after-taste, all of which should be part of the enjoyment of the bar. Also, all listed are fully organic, all are fair-trade or better. This, in recent years,  has become a big factor in making my chocolate choices. Also, a number of brands offer vegan and soy-lecithin free bars. So here we go:
I first tasted Choco-Vivo's amazing stone ground artisan chocolate at Beckman's West Trade show; I had the 100% cacoa bar ...UN-believeably delicious!!!  There is nothing quite else like this company, as far as I am aware of.  And the taste of their chocolate is pretty unique, too!

Theo Does everything right, but what's even more amazing is that are also supreme chocolatiers, and the quality of their chocolate is one of the best out there.

Bit hard to find, since they are made in Germany, but SO worth the hunt! My favorite is the dark chocolate with green tea. (In Los Angeles, it can be found at Follow Your Heart)

Although it's available in several supermarket chains - this stuff is the real deal. Offering a good selection of flavors and one of the only true 'white chocolates' out there.

They certainly have the organic, fair trade and 'full-circle sustainability', with a nice selection of unusual flavors. For me, however, it was a bit overroasted, with bitterovertones, and the texture somewhat grainy.  But, to be fair, think I may need to go back and reassess...   ;-)

They not only do they have organic chocolates, for which they make fair trade agreements - their cocoa farmer own45% of the company!  Bravo!  And they make a beautiful array of dee-lish chocolates. 
I love this company's coffee, and they certainly do a great job on the organic, fair trade aspects. Their chocolate was good, but to my taste, not superior in quality. But for a very decent bar with some excellent flavor choices, and very reasonably priced, they are a great chocolate.

And I could go on... there are lovely truffles, and ayurvedic chocolates, and vegan chocolates and even some decent raw chocolates...but maybe another time. Now it's time for dinner, and I wonder what I'll have for dessert...?