This shouldn’t come as much of a shock to anyone: Americans love their chocolate. An average of 600,000 tons of cocoa beans are consumed globally each year, and Americans alone eat about 10 to 12 pounds per year, on average. Face it: chocolate is delish, and even the most health and wellness-conscious of us are going to indulge now and then. Our advice? Embrace it! And find a chocolate that makes good sense for you and your lifestyle.
From organic to kosher to fair-trade, even exotic, AKiNS' chocolate selection lets you satisfy your sweet tooth without compromising your commitment to wellness. And in anticipation of AKiN'S annual chocolate experience - happening February 11th from 12pm-3pm at all AKiN’S locations - we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite ways to enjoy chocolate. From pairings to mid-afternoon snacks to indulgent recipes, there’s plenty here to keep you snacking.
A quick note about enjoying your chocolate: for best results, be sure to warm your chocolate a bit before eating. Rub it between your fingers to activate its flavor before popping it into your mouth. Before eating, bring a few of your other senses into the mix by getting close to the chocolate and taking a big, deep inhale. Notice how the chocolate looks, too; quality chocolate will have a nice, glossy sheen to it, and should give a nice ‘snap’ when bent in two.
1) Elle Macpherson’s nourishing chocolate protein torte
Photo: Bettina Campolucci
A totally paleo alternative to rich, indulgent chocolate desserts, Elle Macpherson’s nourishing chocolate protein tart uses all natural ingredients and a power punch of protein to keep you happy and satisfied. We suggest using Artisana cacao powder for the main ingredient! Don’t forget the sprinkle of sea salt over the top!
2) Chocolate + Salty
Few pairings are more palatable than sweet and salty, and chocolate is no exception. For a snack that tickles both taste buds, try a square of chocolate with some of our gluten-free pretzels, or some preservative-free potato chips dipped in chocolate ice cream. Want something natural? Bissingers chocolate covered almonds make for a great protein-packed sweet snack. Sample them yourself at our Chocolate Experience, happening February 11th at all AKiN'S locations.
3) Cauliflower ‘White Chocolate’ fruit dipPhoto: Unconventional Baker
Gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free, this chocolate dip is as guilt-free as they come. Even better, it’s PACKED with protein (cauliflower alone boasts 11 grams per head). Snag a few bundles from our produce section, then careen your cart over to our baking aisle for cacao butter, maple syrup, raw vanilla beans, and everything else you need for this white chocolate concoction.
4) Chocolate + Strawberries
There’s nothing new about chocolate-covered strawberries, but we’re always up for a new, healthier take on an old favorite. Next time you want to nibble on these delicacies, make your own with our organic melting chocolate.
5) Chocolate ‘Nice Cream’ Sundae
6) Chocolate-drizzled vegan ice cream bars
Photo: Golubka Kitchen
This lusciously layered treat bears a striking similarity to a certain candy bar (looking at you, Snickers). The brainchild of Golubka Kitchen - a foodie blog specializing in vegetarian, vegan, and in-season treats - these tahini, miso, caramel, and chocolate bars are decadent and all-natural. Streak ‘em with our Darifree Chocolate Powder for an easy, all-natural chocolate finish. Get the recipe here.
7) Chocolate carrot cake
For slice of life that’s heart-healthy, too, try this all-natural chocolate carrot cake recipe from the AKiN’S healthy recipe resource library. It’s spongy and spicy, with just the right amount of chocolate. While you’re there, browse countless other sweet and savory recipes, perfect for when you find yourself in a hurry and dinner hot on your heels.
The Mayans originally enjoyed chocolate in liquid form, so it’s only fair we pay homage to its original inception with some beverage pairings. From coffee to wine to kombucha, chocolate is an excellent companion for a hot or cold drink.
1) Chocolate + Beer
Because chocolate can tend to fall on the bitter side, when enjoying with beer, it’s best to pair it with something thick, rich, or sweet. Malty beers will usually be your best bet. Try a Belgian Dubbel, a coffee porter, a nutty brown ale, or a milk stout. If you feel like going all the way, grab a chocolate stout for total flavor immersion.
2) Chocolate + Coffee
The bitter flavor of chocolate can often be a perfect compliment to chocolates’ sweeter notes. When pairing coffee and chocolate together, try a rich truffle or a bite of deep, dark chocolate. Start with the chocolate, then take a sip of coffee. Traditional tasting calls for french-pressed coffee poured into a ceramic cup or glass, but we’re guessing your snack will taste about the same from a mug, too. For coffee, we like these: AKiN’s Coffee, Peace Coffee or Jim’s Organic Coffee.
3) Chocolate + Kombucha
You wouldn’t think that chocolate and a funky, fermented drink would go hand-in-hand, but they actually fit together quite nicely! For something that plays off the fruity, fizzy side of kombucha, we suggest pairing a tablespoon of cocoa powder with raspberry kombucha. Or try your hand at this homemade batch from Cultures for Health.
Ready for more chocolate? Sample some of AKiN’S finest candies and confections at our annual Chocolate Experience happening February 11th at all store locations. Visit the AKiN’S Facebook page for event details, or to find your nearest store.