F&B World - - SPECIAL FEATURE - Text and Recipe by MIKO ASPI­RAS Pho­tos by PA­TRICK SEGOVIA

Is choco­late ve­gan?

Tech­ni­cally, it is. Choco­late is the prod­uct of a plant, after all. In the process of turn­ing the ca­cao bean into a sin­ful bar, though, the def­i­ni­tion be­comes un­clear as ad­di­tives like milk pro­hibit it from be­ing ve­gan, in the strictest sense of the word.

But don’t lose hope. Due to the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion of healthy con­verts, more and more ve­gan choco­late op­tions are be­com­ing avail­able to the mar­ket. Go Max Go, a ve­gan-owned and op­er­ated on­line com­pany, has come up with gluten-and ar­ti­fi­cial in­gre­di­ent-free ver­sions of our fa­vorite candy bars like But­terfin­ger, while Raaka Co. Vir­gin Choco­late in Brook­lyn pro­duces a ver­sion that mar­ries co­conut and dark choco­late.

To guar­an­tee that the choco­late is le­git­i­mately ve­gan, do a quick scan of the in­gre­di­ents. Milk choco­lates should use non-dairy al­ter­na­tives like co­conut milk or al­mond milk. There should be no trace of an­i­mal fat as well. Co­coa but­ter is ve­gan so you don’t have to worry about that.

For these ve­gan pra­lines, I used three of my fa­vorite ve­gan choco­late brands. The dark one made with Marou choco­lates is made with 76 per­cent sin­gle-ori­gin ca­cao beans and al­mond milk pow­der and stuffed with choco­late hum­mus and rasp­berry jam. The milk choco­late is com­posed of Lov­ing Earth 34 per­cent ca­cao with caramelized co­conut milk en­cas­ing a chickpea, cof­fee, and hazel­nut pra­line fill­ing. And the white is made with Vego, ca­cao but­ter, and al­mond milk filled with co­conut sugar caramel and home­made cashew but­ter.

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