The food of the gods. The privilege of kings.
When I first heard Dr. Bronner’s was going to be making chocolate, my response was, “Wait, what now?” Likely you thought this, too. I figured this was another one of my brothers’ super fun ideas that had no direct connection with anything we were already doing. Like the time we bought a firetruck (at 0:24).
Was I ever wrong. Our making of chocolate couldn’t be more complementary to our soap making and our efforts towards regenerative organic agriculture, which brings healing to our depleted and misused Earth. It is the most logical next step, and it makes me wonder why every soap company isn’t also making chocolate.
But even the best chocolate origin story would be pointless if the chocolate itself didn’t taste good. Could we be true to our Cosmic Principle #2 of doing right by our customers and promoting their general well-being without ending up with chocolate that tasted, well, healthy?
I knew I’d be biased towards our chocolate, so early on, I had my husband help me with a blind taste test. Blindfolded, I tried various high-end brands as well as Dr. Bronner’s. I was blown away. What came to be christened Magic All-One Chocolate was so full of flavor and complexity, it made the others taste like wax. It was utterly transportive.
And so here we have it. A rich, 70% dark chocolate that’s a blend of Ghanaian and Ivory Coast cocoa, Indonesian coconut sugar, Congolese cocoa butter, and vanilla from Madagascar. It’s certified vegan, organic, fair trade, kosher (made on equipment that also processes dairy), non-GMO, and from a company that is certified B-Corp. But most importantly, it tastes amazing, a perfect balance of rich, nutty, pure cocoa flavor that fills the senses.
Here are the seven flavor varieties – all made with 70% cocoa:
- Cool Peppermint Cream
- Smooth Coconut Praline
- Salted Whole Almond
- Salted Almond Butter
- Crunchy Hazelnut Butter
- Roasted Whole Hazelnut
- Salted Dark Chocolate
Cool Peppermint Cream
The classic combination of sweet mint & rich chocolate! The peppermint enlivens while the cocoa mellows, creating a sophisticated experience that lingers on the palate.
Best for: The meal finisher who says, “I just need a little something to wrap things up and send me on my way.”
The favorite of: Me! I have to add this bar to own list of favs. I love how the flavor stays with me for a while.
Other than eating straight: Amazing dissolved in hot chocolate or chopped up into a gooey pan of brownies. It is the classic finishing touch to any meal.
Ingredients: Fair trade organic cocoa beans, fair trade organic coconut sugar, fair trade organic cocoa butter, organic sunflower oil, organic peppermint oil, fair trade organic bourbon vanilla
Smooth Coconut Praline
Rich chocolate covers a sweet praline center that thrills coconut-lovers and chocolate-lovers alike. Clearly, we have many such folks in our midst.
Best for: The skeptic who says, “I don’t like dark chocolate.”
The favorite of: All three of my kids, my brother David Bronner (Dr. Bronner’s CEO – Cosmic Engagement Officer), Christina Volgyesi (VP of Marketing), Gina Coccari (Senior National Sales Manager), Ryan Fletcher (Director of Public Relations), Darcy Shiber-Knowles (Director of Operational Sustainability & Innovation – OSI), Kim D’Amico (All-One Chef, joining me for a Facebook Live to bake with the chocolate)
Other than eating straight: Pair it with a smooth unsweetened cup of coffee or espresso.
Ingredients: Fair trade organic cocoa beans, fair trade organic coconut sugar, fair trade organic coconut, fair trade organic cocoa butter, fair trade organic coconut milk powder, organic sunflower oil, fair trade organic bourbon vanilla bean
Salted Almond Butter
A thick layer of smoothly blended salted almond butter lies just beneath the dark chocolate coating for a creamy, nutty cocoa experience.
Best for: The finished working who says “Give me something mellow and smooth. I’m ready to relax.”
The favorite of: Gero Leson (VP of Special Ops), Marc De Rosa (Director of Sales)
Other than eating straight: Melts beautifully for S’mores and other gooey creations. Drop a cube in hot chocolate or coffee for extra richness.
Ingredients: Fair trade organic cocoa beans, fair trade organic coconut sugar, organic almonds, fair trade organic cocoa butter, sea salt, organic hazelnuts, fair trade organic bourbon vanilla bean
Salted Whole Almond
The classic combination of whole almonds alongside smooth deep chocolate deliver a meal’s worth of flavor and satisfaction.
Best for: The afternoon snacker who says, “I need something substantive to get me through the day.”
The favorite of: Sharla Pierick (VP of Finance), Darcy Shiber-Knowles (Director of OSI), Lilia Vergara (Director of HR), Les Szabo (Director of Constructive Capital)
Other than eating straight: Break up into a trail mix with dried fruit. And if there’s such thing as a breakfast chocolate…
Ingredients: Fair trade organic cocoa beans, fair trade organic coconut sugar, organic almonds, fair trade organic cocoa butter, sea salt, fair trade organic bourbon vanilla bean
Crunchy Hazelnut Butter
Nutty, creamy, and crunchy – this bar has it all and allows the deep cocoa flavors to roll around with the thick layer of warm nuttiness.
Best for: The savory-phile who says, “I don’t like things too sweet.”
The favorite of: Marc De Rosa (Director of Sales), Bertine Kabellis (Director of Engagement), Darcy Shiber-Knowles (Director of OSI)
Other than eating straight: Chop and stir into brownies before baking. Pairs amazingly with tropical fruit.
Ingredients: Fair trade organic cocoa beans, fair trade organic coconut sugar, organic hazelnuts, fair trade organic cocoa butter, fair trade organic bourbon vanilla bean, organic almonds
Roasted Whole Hazelnut
You had me at roasted. This extra step amplifies the crunch and gives a full flavor that stands toe to toe with the complex intensity of the dark chocolate. There’s also something about the plain dark chocolate in this bar that calls to the heart of the chocolate lover.
Best for: The texture lover who says, “Give me a little bit of smooth and a little bit of crunch!”
The favorite of: Me! Also my brother David (CEO), Kim D’Amico (All-One Chef)
Other than eating straight: Chop up for recipes when you need both chocolate and nuts. Pairs both with vibrant flavors as well as the mellowness of black teas.
Ingredients: Fair trade organic cocoa beans, fair trade organic coconut sugar, organic hazelnuts, fair trade organic cocoa butter, fair trade organic bourbon vanilla bean
Salted Dark Chocolate
Just the right amount of salt elevates the rich flavor of the dark chocolate and brings out the complex notes of dried fruit and sweet caramel.
Best for: The purist who says, “No additions. Just give me chocolate.”
The favorite of: My mom Trudy Bronner (Dr. Bronner’s CFO), my brother Mike Bronner (Dr. Bronner’s President), Edwin Gomez (Director of Operations), Safianu Moro (Serendipalm’s Managing Director)
Other than eating straight: Chop it into chunks as a “chip” replacement in baking. Grate it for espresso drink toppings. Use in savory dishes like mole.
Ingredients: Fair trade organic cocoa beans, fair trade organic coconut sugar, fair trade organic cocoa butter, sea salt, fair trade organic bourbon vanilla bean
So why is a soap company making chocolate?
Our Magic All-One Chocolate is testament to the interconnectedness of all things. Since 2009, Dr. Bronner’s sister company Serendipalm in Assoum, Ghana has supplied Dr. Bronner’s and others with ethical palm oil from the world’s first commercial certified organic, fair trade, and now Regenerative Organic Certified™ palm oil project. Part of why this palm project flourishes is that the farmers have embraced a technique called Dynamic Agroforestry (DAF), which in short is farming like nature intended.
What does farming like nature look like? Always in diversity. To support the growth of the oil palms, the farmers grow many other crops: tall timber trees to provide shade to the medium height oil palms, which in turn provide shade to the shorter cocoa and cassava trees, which hover over the ground-covering legumes, turmeric and garlic. In fact, if you see a mature DAF farm, you can hardly tell it’s a farm. It looks like a forest.
Not only does this intercropping strengthen each of the species, but also it leads to higher yields and provides the farmers with additional crops to sell, giving them greater financial stability from fluctuations of crops or market prices. The diversity also eliminates the need for chemical pesticide input because the varieties protect and support each other. It increases biomass, nutrients, and water in the soil and sequesters carbon out of the air. I strongly believe this dynamic agroforestry can save the world, and it has been the cornerstone for why we are now producing chocolate.
The farmers with all these additional crops to sell were selling the cocoa to some of the world’s finest chocolatiers. Season after season we watched these high quality crops head off to other manufacturers, and we finally figured, “Hey, why don’t we produce the chocolate ourselves?” And so the Magic All-One Chocolate was born.
After years of delicious research, we partnered with a generations’ deep Swiss chocolatier and went on a treasure hunt for ingredients around the world. The result is that every ingredient in the bars carries a compelling story. For example, we source the coconut sugar from Aliet Green, an award-winning woman-owned cooperative in Indonesia whose products are certified organic and fair trade. We chose to use coconut sugar because it subtly sweetens the chocolate without interfering with the rich cocoa flavor. Further, coconut sugar comes from trees rather than the more environmentally disruptive annual crops of cane or beet sugar. Plus, coconut sugar is said to have a more extensive nutrient profile and lower glycemic index compared to cane or beet sugar.
We didn’t set out to tackle one of the world’s most troubling luxuries, but I am glad that one step after another, we have arrived at this point. I am glad that we can undermine the excuses big chocolate manufacturers give for why they don’t correct abuses rife in the cocoa industry. I am glad that by purchasing cocoa beans through our partnerships with farmers, we improve the farmers’ livelihoods and encourage them to continue these practices that benefit themselves, their communities, and the land they tend. And I’m glad to have chocolate that is as delicious as it is regenerative to the soil and environment.
For even greater detail about our chocolate journey, read “Dr. Bronner’s Path to Regenerative Cocoa” by Gero Leson, our VP of Special Ops, who has been our feet on the ground in Ghana and elsewhere. The article is a summary from his book, Honor Thy Label , which tracks all of our fair trade projects around the world.
Our Magic All-One Chocolate is available on our webstore or use our Store Locator to find it in a store near you. Enter your zip code, then use Filter, Select Product, and choose a chocolate flavor. (The blue pins on the map indicate stores that carry it.)