I'm a total fan of chocolate. The taste, its antioxidant properties, and the endorphin benefits. And when the organic cacao butter treats come with goji berries, gooseberries, and cacao nibs, the chocolate seems like a healthful holistic remedy. With Navitas Naturals' chocolate confections, this added nutrient-packed hit of bioflavonoids, carotene, trace minerals, vitamins, and protein transform the candies into bite-size sweets of longevity and well-being. But do the flavanols contain good chocolatey flavor, too?
When Nativas sent me samples, I was thrilled to do a taste test. Admittedly, I'm somewhat skeptical of the idea that vegan chocolates can taste as good as rich delicious chocolate. I'd previously written here about the many excellent organic and fair trade chocolate bars. Since the Navitas' line of products also include hemp, flax, pomegranate, and green powders, I was curious.
However, I didn't realize I'd have to actually make-my-own candy! The "kits" sat. I was intimidated, expecting a cocoa splattered kitchen and sink full of bowls, double-boilers, whisks--and stains. But I wanted to impress guests at a gathering, so mustered up the courage a day in advance, expecting the initial batch to be as bad as that proverbial first pancake.
All I needed was two smallish bowls, a spoon, a knife, and ice cube tray. Shave and stir, drop in the super berries, pour into ice tray molds, slide into the freezer to set. Within minutes (just like the box promised). Pop them out and there were a dozen perfect little dark chocolate candies. Move out of the way, Whitman's. Forget, Frangos. So long, Sees. And bye-bye to pre-packaged natural equivalents.
For ten bucks and ten minutes, you, too, can be a chocolatier. No one will guess it's so easy. As I said, I'm predisposed to chocolate, so when I taste tested one and liked it, and gobbled another, I recognized my bias. The chocolate tasting party would be the judges. "You made these!?" they exclaimed. (I neglected to mention it wasn't exactly from scratch...close enough.)
Pop. Chew. Gulp.
The plateful of fresh chocolates quickly vanished with lots of "hmms and aahs." They liked the taste, smooth texture, and chewy little goji berries. They also liked the bittersweetness. Oops, I hadn't read the fine print under the instructions until the tray was in the freezer and the candies hard. Optional: add 1 tbsp agave or other sweetener. Yes, these brown pups are dairy-free and sugar-free.
Navitas also sells stevia, but none was listed in the ingredients -- just certified organic goodies, including mesquite, lucuma, and maca root. So in addition to chocolate's phytonutrients and essential minerals, maca provides alkaloids that nourish the endocrine system. Plus these "functional foods" are sourced directly from farmers and sustainably cultivated.
Give it a whirl, literally. It's no wonder the Aztecs used cacao beans as currency.