If you’re one of those people who buys chocolate for your S.O. (or yourself—no judgements) and you tend to pick up whatever box you see near the checkout line, why not plan ahead this year and invest in chocolate that not only tastes multitudes better than that generic stuff, but also makes a positive impact on the community with each purchase? Charitable chocolates give back by way of donating percentages or proceeds (or more) to non-profits around the world. They’re like the chocolate of the future, and the future is now, cause, you know, it’s February.
Check out these 10 charitable chocolatey treats that are guaranteed to make your sweetie—or yourself—all lovey-dovey, warm n’ fuzzy inside this Valentine’s Day.
With less than one gram of sugar per bar, Lily’s is the perfect treat for those who can’t (or don’t) want too much sugar in their diet (but still like to live a little). There are plenty of sweet options besides chocolate bars, including filled bars (caramel, hazelnut spread, or peanut butter), different caramels, chocolate covered nuts, gummy candy, and peanut butter cups, but let’s focus here.
Lily’s carries 18 different varieties of chocolate bars, including the standard milk, white, and dark options. Fancy something exotic and daring? Perhaps Coconut Dark Chocolate is your calling. Want to snuggle up on the couch and watch movies? Maybe try Cookies n’ Cream. Have you fallen hard for your Valentine? Don’t get Intensely Dark Chocolate, unless you know they’re into that kind of flavor profile. The best part is that Lily’s donates a percentage of their earrings to nonprofits that support the fight against childhood cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
Endangered Species Chocolate
Since 2016, Endangered Species Chocolate has donated over $2.6 million to its Give Back Partners who focus on wildlife conservation. Focusing on premium, sustainable, and real ingredients, all of their bars are vegan, non-GMO, Fair-Trade Certified, gluten-free, Kosher, and Green-e (the company buys 100 percent renewable energy).
But how can you make a milk chocolate bar vegan? Endangered Species Chocolate uses real coconut milk and oat milk to make these creamy confections. They even have Valentine’s Day themed flavors, like Oat Milk and Dark Chocolate, Tart Raspberries and Dark Chocolate, and Vibrant Cherries and Dark Chocolate. It’s like one bar for each base you reach. Wink wink.
Alter Eco’s motto is “food for mind, body, & soil.” That’s actually really awesome. Their bars are all organic, gluten-free and Fair-Trade Certified, and the company is Climate Neutral, and a Certified B Corp. Their cocoa is grown in thriving ecosystems by small-scale farmers. Oh, and their packaging is compostable and recyclable. How cool is that? Does it get any better? Yes, yes it does. When you buy a bar, they plant a tree to help conserve a portion of the Amazon.
With flavors like Brown Butter, Burnt Caramel, Coconut Toffee, and Blackout (85 percent cacao), there’s no way you can’t feel good about buying one (or more) of these nomnoms. Unless you have some weird alter-ego that, you know, hates the world.
This company is actually a co-op with farmers all over the world, and they don’t just sell chocolate. They sell coffee, tea, and shelf-stable grocery items. So if you’re really looking to impress your date, you should look into getting chocolate and coffee. Why? Because caffeine increases your levels of dopamine, and chocolate helps release endorphins. Together, that’s a recipe for love. That being said, Equal Exchange is a for-profit Fair-Trader, worker owned co-op and is the largest and oldest Fair Trade company in the US. All of their products directly give back to the farmers and the communities they live in.
Besides the packaging looking pretty darn sexy, they also have some tasty and unorthodox flavors besides milk and dark, like Dark Chocolate Lemon Ginger, Dark Chocolate Mint Crunch, and Dark Chocolate Orange. They also have spicy hot cocoa (and not spicy), which is a sweet option for those who might enjoy a bev as opposed to a bar. Spike it and make it a night. It’s Valentine’s Day. Go wild.
If “just chocolate” doesn’t do it for you, what about chocolate that gives back 100 percent of it’s net profits to animal rescue organizations around the USA? And is 100 percent vegan, Fair-Trade Certified, and organic? That got your attention, didn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a chocolate bar and know they’re helping a rescue animal?
They currently have seven different and unique flavors like Mission Feral Fig (the wrapper highlights humane solutions for feral cats) and Pick Me! Pepper (urging you to go to a shelter and not a pet store). This leaves you so warm and fuzzy, it’ll make your S.O. want to nuzzle you…even if your Valentine happens to be your roommate’s bulldog with a flatulence issue. Hey, stinky guys need love, too. Disclaimer: Do not feed this to your pets. It’s not made for Bruno to enjoy.
This company really is Beyond Good, because they work directly with farmers in Madagascar and Uganda and remove the middleman. Their newest addition is Ugandan chocolates. However, they’re still at the start of their journey. It can take up to 18 months before they’ve set up a supply chain, and four to six years before the farmer can get a pickup truck for transport. That gives you something to think about and even more the reason to buy this fantastic chocolate.
Beyond Good specializes in single origin chocolates and also real, unadulterated vanilla. They even have you covered with a Valentine’s Day Special of six single origin chocolates. The chocolate bars vary in darkness, but no dairy is involved. Milk chocolate lovers will still have plenty to love because Orange Zest with Crispy Rice, Salted Caramel, and Toasted Coconut are too good to pass up. All of their chocolates are gluten-free and organic (except the coconut), non-GMO, and vegan (though they do work in an area that has trace amounts of milk, so they can’t be certified as such).
Askinosie: Date Night-in-a-Box
Askinosie is all about their farmers—and you. They not only practice Direct Trade (no middleman, and they pay more per ton than the Fair Trade market), but their farmers practice intercropping. That means that the cocoa plants aren’t just growing with each other—they get to mingle and grow alongside other crops like bananas, lemons, and coffee. Hey, maybe those bananas have some juicy gossip about some citrus grafting at the farm next door.
If you can’t figure out what bar to choose, you’re in luck. Askinosie is offering a limited edition Valentine’s Day special: The Date in a Box. It comes with four of their most popular dark chocolate bars along with tasting notes, a flavor wheel, and tasting place mat. All you need is wine and cheese, and you’re set. Date not required (‘cause seriously, do you really want to share?).
This women-owned and operated chocolate company hails from the Pacific Northwest, land of coffee, rain, and Bigfoot. Chocolate should be on that list, too. With a mission to make the world a better place through chocolate—if that doesn’t sell you, what will?—Seattle Chocolate is all about empowering individuals, but especially girls and women. That’s why with every purchase of a Seattle Chocolate sweet treat, Girls Inc. will get ten percent of the net profits. So by eating chocolate (which has been scientifically proven to make you happy) you’re also directly contributing to the happiness of girls and teens, aka the future.
Seattle Chocolate takes their flavors to the next level, with flavors like Apple Pie a la Mode, Rainier Cherry, Mexican Hot Chocolate, Campers’ S’Mores, and You Are Sunshine, which has honey nut cheerios in it. That one might just qualify as breakfast. They also have gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, nut-free, and kosher options.
Ok. So putting aside the rather strange—slightly unintelligible—brand name, Tony’s Chocolonely has one main mission that’s worth standing behind: Ending modern-day slavery in the chocolate industry. Say what? Yes. Through sales of their chocolate bars, Tony’s is working to combat and shut down slavery and child-labor on West African cocoa farms. That’s heavy, and worth supporting.
They currently carry 14 different flavors—seven vegan options—including your typical milk, dark, and extra dark. But their fun combinations will make choosing one even more difficult. Do you like candy in your chocolate? Then White Raspberry Popping Candy is your calling. Honey Almond Nougat sounds like it harks back to the good olds days of candy—like, the 1900s—so it must be good. What about Dark Chocolate Cocoa Cookie Citrusy Caramel? That’s a mouthful and looks like it has everything in it, the all-encompassing chocolate bar. An all-encompassing chocolate bar from an all-encompassing company. That’s sweet.
Jcoco believes that good quality chocolate—apologies to the $5.99 drug store assortment box—should be its own food group. If that doesn’t get your attention, maybe knowing that they donate a percentage of all sales to nonprofits working to eliminate hunger will. Mic drop. Or how about this? Since their inception in 2012, they’ve donated over 3.5 million servings—one bar is equal to one serving of fresh food—to nonprofits working to eliminate hunger. Are you on board yet?
All of their chocolate bars are gluten-free and kosher, and if you’re vegan, don’t worry, you’ve got options. If Alaskan Smoked Sea Salt, Mango Plantain, Black Fig Pistacio, or Orange Blossom Espresso don’t make your foodie senses tingle, then perhaps that $5.99 drugstore box is for you (and that’s ok, too).