6 best vegan and dairy-free Valentine's Day chocolate
Does your belle or beau love the cocoa, but milk is a no-no? Treat them to one of these delicious selections
Veganuary may be over, but for vegan and lactose-intolerant chocolate lovers the struggle to find a sweet treat to celebrate Valentine's Day with can be very real. While vegan and dairy-free chocolate is certainly becoming more widely available for occasions such as Christmas and Easter, the options are still a little sparse for those wanting to celebrate on 14 February.
Navigating the world of dairy-free and vegan chocolate can also be tricky. For reference, chocolates that are certified by the Vegan Society means the way they are produced reaches the highest standards. For example, both Booja-Booja and Plamil’s factories are completely dairy-free, and their products carry the Vegan Society logo. Other chocolates may be labelled as vegan-friendly, which means there is no dairy in the ingredients but due to the confectionary being produced in a factory that is not completely dairy free, it is possible they may contain traces of milk or other non-vegan ingredients.
This is why we have picked six of the best options on the market this year, ranging from heart-shaped solid chocolate to boozy truffles and luxuriant chocolate slabs, all of which can make a perfect gift for someone you're looking to treat.
Pierre Marcolini Grand Crus Noir Tablets, 80g: £7, Pierre Marcolini
Haute chocolatier Pierre Marcolini has made dairy-free versions of these popular tablets. Beans are sourced from across the world – from Vietnam to Venezuela – and the result is distinct bars packed with flavour. We particularly like the creamy, fruity Sambirano Madagascar and the Los Rios Equador, which has jasmine and orange notes. If your beloved isn’t into these flavours, there are plenty more to choose from.
Cocoa Loco Dark Chocolate Love Hearts, 100g: £3.99, Coco Loco
These organic, fair trade dark chocolate love hearts come in a perfectly-sized pack considering how rich they are. The solid hearts are made with single-origin beans from the Dominican Republic and have a smooth, slightly sweet taste. Each heart has a different message printed on it, from “I love you” to “kiss me” and “sweet heart”. If you're looking for another option, Coco Loco also makes vegan-friendly dark chocolate pralines.
Booja-Booja Fine de Champagne Truffles, 138g: £12.95, Ethical Superstore
For the readers who have already discovered the world of Booja-Booja, these truffles need no introduction. But for the uninitiated, these dairy-free, organic (gluten and soya free) champagne truffles have won awards for good reason. They are soft, melt-in-the-mouth, boozy ganache treats covered in rich dark chocolate, and are hard not to devour in one sitting. The special edition gift collection box of truffles contains 12 chocolates and comes in a luxe-looking green box, making an excellent present for a dairy-free loved one.
Plamil Organic Fair Trade Alternative to Milk Chocolate Hearts, 125g: £4.99, Plamil
Plamil makes truly vegan chocolate in a factory that does not use dairy, gluten or nuts, making it ideal for people who want a guarantee there will be no traces of milk near their chocolate. Many dairy-free chocolate options are limited to dark chocolate, but this milk chocolate alternative is made with cocoa solids, sugar and rice powder to create a product that is as close to the real deal as possible. It is creamy too, though it does have a hint of a rice milk flavour. The hearts in the pack are solid and the portion isn't stingy however, which makes these a good value option.
Hotel Chocolat Fruit and Nut Chocolate Grand Slab, 500g: £16, Hotel Chocolat
This slab is huge. You get 500g of 70 per cent dark chocolate, filled with almonds, hazelnuts and raisins. The chocolate itself is fairly rich, which may be why Hotel Chocolat calls the slabs “snappable and shareable”. But there's no reason why the people sharing it can't simply be a pair of chocolate lovers celebrating Valentine's - it is a treat, after all. It's worth noting that Hotel Chocolat also makes small bags of dark chocolate hearts, for those looking for a smaller offering.
Divine 70% Dark Chocolate Hearts, 100g: £4.50, Ocado
There are a good amount of these little chocolate hears packed into this box. They’re wrapped in Valentine-appropriate and while this chocolate is 70 per cent, it's not overly rich or strong. It has a smooth, creamy texture to it with a light bitter aftertaste. Overall it is one of the milder options on this list making it ideal for someone who usually finds dark chocolate a bit strong for them.
The Verdict: Vegan and dairy-free chocolates
For the lactose-intolerant and strict vegans, Booja-Booja's chocolates are advertised as dairy-free but are actually vegan, just like Plamil's chocolates, and both are certified by the Vegan Society. The others are vegan-friendly, and state on the packs that there may be traces of milk despite having no dairy ingredients. If your partner likes a boozy truffle then Booja-Booja's box of treats is the perfect pick, while Cocoa Loco's love hearts offer a sweet way to say “I love you” to solid chocolate fans without breaking the bank. Divine's love hearts have the bonus of being fair trade, but the best value for money is Pierre Marcolini's tablet collection. The slabs are not huge but the quality of the chocolate is exceptional.
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