Best vegan chocolate - taste test

For people following a vegan diet or those who are intolerant to dairy, we've rounded up the best dairy-free chocolates.  

Find out more about our BBC Good Food reviews.

Vegan chocolate taste test
With more and more people following a vegan diet and others finding that they're lactose intolerant, we've made it our mission to find the very best dairy-free chocolate to keep cravings at bay. There are plenty of delicious options out there from budget-friendly chocolate bars to luxury versions with high cocoa content and we've tasted a wide range to bring you our top five. 

Best... flavourVego chocolate bar

Vego hazelnut chocolate bar
Before we began our vegan chocolate taste test, never did we imagine we'd find one that tasted, not only as good as 'normal' chocolate, but one we'd actually prefer to a milk chocolate bar. We went back for seconds (and thirds) of this deliciously 'creamy' bar filled with whole hazelnuts. Most vegan alternatives to chocolate have a high cocoa content (often 75% and above), meaning that if you're not a fan of darker styles, vegan varieties may be too bitter. The Vego bar, however, is the closest thing we've found to a milk chocolate bar. Similar in taste to a rich hazelnut spread, but with no added palm oil, this is the vegan chocolate bar we've been searching for. 

Available from Holland & Barrett (£1.99)

Best... luxury chocolate

Hotel Chocolat batons in rectangular box on white backgroundHotel Chocolat 85% dark chocolate fingers
Perfectly presented for a gift, or a luxurious treat for yourself, these dark chocolate fingers are the pinnacle of premium vegan chocolate. The bite-sized chocolate pieces contain an even balance of both sweet and bitter flavours and you'll be surprised at how creamy they taste, despite their darker appearance. As you'd expect from luxury chocolatier Hotel Chocolat, each individual baton is pristinely smooth, tempered to perfection and has a wonderfully sharp snap to it. High-end indulgence. 

 

Best... budget chocolate bar

Asda red chocolate bar on white backgroundAsda Free From choc bar
All our taste tests are conducted entirely blind, meaning that flavour will always prevail over the way a product is packaged. Our judges were unanimous in deciding that this smooth, free-from bar should sit proudly in our top five. We'd be hard pushed to differentiate between this and a non-vegan variety of budget chocolate and, for those times when the only thing that will satisfy your cravings is a sweet mouthful, make sure you've got a stash of these at home.

Available from Asda (£0.43)
 

Best... fairtrade bar

Chocolate and love bar on white backgroundChocolate and Love rich dark 71% bar
A high-scoring entry in our taste test, this is another luxury vegan chocolate bar that has everything we'd want in a dark chocolate; deep and rich flavour as well as a sharp snap. Plus, it'll take you by surprise when it melts in your mouth. If you prefer lighter flavours of chocolate, opt for the orange, pomegranate or coffee varieties from Chocolate and Love – they're all vegan, too, and taste delicious. 

Available from Ocado (£2.99)
 

Best... for cooking
Ombar chocolate bar on white background

Ombar Coco Mylk Ecuadorian
You'll see that a number of our recipes call for the addition of 'good quality chocolate', but what happens if you can't consume chocolate that contains milk? The second we tasted the Ombar, we knew that its rich coffee taste would make it ideal for cooking and baking. You can tell the chocolate has been tempered correctly as it has a crisp snap when you bite into it and the texture is perfectly smooth, so when melted down, you'll be left with an entirely fluid mixture to work with. Make sure to keep a few squares aside for snacking, too.

 

For all of the products mentioned in this review, various retailers have been suggested by our affiliate partner Monetizer 101 and are not suggested or chosen by BBC Good Food. For more information on how these retailers are selected and the nature of our partnership, please read the Monetizer101 FAQ page

What we looked for... 

Various chocolates on white plates on a white background

Taste: Although taste can be subjective when it comes to chocolate, we looked for a rich, dark chocolate that was full of flavour. We allowed the chocolate to sit at a comfortable room temperature and began to take flavour notes when the chocolate melted on the tongue. How did a chocolate pass our test? By simply tasting as good, if not better, than milk chocolate.

The perfect snap: The correct tempering of the chocolate can influence whether there are any nasty lumps or bumps in the finished product. Not only should the chocolate appear smooth and glossy (apart from when additional ingredients are included) but it should have the perfect snap when broken apart. 

No scuffs or 'bloom': Signs of a high-quality chocolate start at the physical appearance of the product. We made sure that the chocolates tested didn't appear to have any white marks (called bloom) on their surface, which often indicates that the chocolate has been spoiled in some way. 

Presentation: Although all chocolates were removed from their packaging, we took note of the appearance and originality of each bar.

How we tested: A range of nationally available chocolates were tested by various members of our BBC Good Food editorial team. The chocolates were all served blind, so that no brand prejudice could play a part in the judging. The chocolates were served at room temperature and tasters were encouraged to cleanse their palate between tastings. 

For more product picks, visit our reviews section

You may also want to check out our gluten-free bread taste test

Check out our recipe collection for the best vegan recipes
 

This review was last updated in October 2018. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk. 

Have you found a vegan chocolate bar that you love? Leave a comment below... 

 

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