Advent calendars adorn the shelves, individually wrapped sweets and treats line up like soldiers at the checkout, saluting your decision to slip one quickly into your basket. Us Brits get through 700 tonnes of chocolate every year!
Here's our Top Ten chocolate brands to support this year.
Play In Choc is our brand of the moment. Plastic-free, organic, ethical, vegan, allergen-free and single origin, these cute little bite-sized nuggets of joy are impossible to fault. Great for kids and adults alike! You can buy them with or without a cardboard toy inside, which has been made from certified sustainable forestry and is carbon offset to boot! These little chocs are lighthearted and unique. They seriously pass the taste test too! Which, with just 3 ingredients (cacao, coconut and vanilla), we think is a marvel. They do beautiful Advent Calendars too.
2. Raw Halo.
As the name suggests, this chocolate company is pretty angelic. Their chocolate is sourced ethically from small, organic farms that prioritise people and planet. They manufacture exclusively with social enterprise chocolate factories, who educate and improve the lives of their workers. Their packaging is 100% plastic free (we have so much time for this) and is fully recyclable. They have organic bars with minimal ingredients and no added sugar (other than coconut sugar). Their bars make a great stocking filler, check it out now.
Land is a unique, small business run by Phil Landers who left his job at the BBC to travel, where he fell in love with chocolate making in a cacao field in Guatamala. Fast-forward and after a stint honing his craft with The Mast Brothers he releases his own bar. From bean to bar, Phil is involved in the whole process and produces excellent quality bars. His large bars are 100% recyclable, so be sure to choose the full 60g as his smaller bars are still on their way! We love his drinking chocolate, which comes with a handy recyclable pouch for refills.
Probably one of our favourites! This small company pushes the boat out on flavour combinations and fun, playful packaging. This brand is owned and run by Matt and Ish up in Scotland who run their own micro factory. They prioritise great ingredients and monitor their suppliers in Africa for high ethical standards, working with fair trade, organic growers who support the local wildlife (gorillas!) as well as people. Their chocolate is great for someone who enjoys art and illustration as all the artwork is created by the duo and is designed to touch on the cultural as well as aesthetic. The outer card is FSC certified and the inner film is home and industrially compostable. They have a lot of vegan options alongside milk varieties so you can choose from varieties such as Eggnog or Black Cherry
I can't tell you just how good Calm Cocoa is. The packaging is made with recyclable and FSC cardboard, with an compostable inner bag that can be popped into home or commercial compost. Each bag comes with a mini meditation so you can learn to savor and enjoy your melting moment, as the founder Meredith is both a chocolatier and meditation teacher. Vegan, thoughtful and small batch, this little brand deserves a lot of love. Just melt the flaked chocolate into your heated milk of choice and voila a delicious treat for any season. Try the Spicy Ecuador, Salted Madacascar or if you can't possibly choose, why not pick up a pack of three of their biggest hitting flavours for a festive gift?
Ombar is a company with excellent values and commitments who is nearly all the way there with their packaging. They offer a huge selection of flavours and the chocolate itself is grown by independent farmers on smallholdings and they're certified Fair Trade which means the farmers are paid properly for their time and produce. They taste insane and are refined sugar free, dairy free, gluten free and certified vegan and organic. Their button bags are in 100% compostable wrappers but their bars do have a inner paper + foil mix which currently can't be recycled, but they're working on it and we're glad they've got it in their sights.
One of the winners when it comes to sustainability, Divine Chocolate is a BCorp and social enterprise dedicated to ever-improving the way they make, package and distribute their bars. Sensational flavour, they have an organic range, vegan options, fair trade ingredients, palm oil-free and wrapped in compostable Natureflex or recyclable card, there's not much you can fault with Divine. This brand is co-owned by the cooperative of farmers who produce their beans and 1/3 of whom are women, thanks to initiatives like their Empowering Women programme. We love their 85% tasting gift selection, or an organic advent calendar.
Hello chocolate subscription from the UK's most ethical chocolate producer? Seed and Bean is a great brand to choose from for several reasons, they're 100% organic which is better for the environment (and your body), and they prioritise Fair Trade suppliers with 16 of their bars being fully certified. The packaging is top notch with the outer paper layer being fully recyclable, but the inner foil layer is made from Natureflex™ - a flexible cellulose film which is made from eucalyptus wood pulp and decomposes in your home compost bin. If you can't choose a flavour, try one of their decadent truffle bundles!
A highly ethical and award-winning small family-owned chocolate company here in the UK. Their packaging is designed and redesigned to be ever-more eco-friendly, they are plastic-free and even recently phased out their compostable window to achieve better recyclability rates. Lick The Spoon are committed to the environment and also protect the future of Mayanese people whom they work with for their cocoa beans. They donate to a children's home. These truffles look like a fab gift and are 100% plastic free!
10. Toni Chocoloney
We cannot have a green future, if that future is only accessible to the few. Tony's is a chocolate brand on a bigger mission than simply to satisfy the sweet tooth - which they do exceptionally well I must add. They're on the path to eradicating slavery from chocolate supply chains. Chocolate is shockingly still often the product of modern slavery and child labour, and Tony set out to eradicate this himself. The packaging is 100% recyclable and comes from recycled and FSC sources. They work with cooperatives directly, ensuring they get environmental training and encourage better use of land and pesticides. They have released vegan options, but definitely are aimed at those with a sweeter sweet tooth!