I’m so thrilled to be offering a giveaway today of a product that I really love! Not only that, but this vegan company is based in my hometown of Baltimore, MD (an up-and-coming vegan city if I say so myself!). Charm School Chocolate is a maker of 100% vegan chocolates, made with fair trade and organic ingredients. Even cooler, their line of products includes dark chocolate and ALSO vegan milk chocolate and vegan white chocolate bars. (Giveaway is at the end of the post.)
I discovered Charm School Chocolate through an impulse purchase made while buying wine. Anyone with dietary restrictions can appreciate the process that happens when you see a new product on the shelf. “Coconut milk chocolate”, the label read. Living in a non-vegan world, I automatically assumed that this was a coconut-flavored milk chocolate, made with dairy. But as I got a little closer, I saw the word VEGAN on the label, and naturally it was in my shopping cart within 5 seconds. You know how that goes!
I’ve tried vegan milk chocolate in the past and I was less than impressed. Other vegan milk chocolate has been chalky or worse. Charm School Chocolate’s, though, was creamy, melt-in-your-mouth milk chocolate, with just a hint of coconut flavor; and sweet, without being cloyingly so. Truly the best vegan milk chocolate I’ve ever had. I mean that!
All of Charm School Chocolate’s products are hand-crafted in small batches, and stone ground. This attention to detail and quality comes through in the end result. I also love the story behind the company name – “Just as charm schools “refine” their students, we source cocoa beans from around the world, and carefully “refine” them into “polished”, delicious chocolate.” And since Baltimore’s nickname is the Charm City, the name ties in perfectly with the company’s home base.
I made a point of going back to the wine store (you know, because I needed an excuse to get more wine) to buy other flavors. I have tried 5 now:
Classic Coconut Milk Chocolate (not pictured): creamy, sweet and just slightly coconutty. Notable hints of caramel, which tells me that high quality cocoa was used and kept at a low temperature to preserve its nutty flavor. I love the super simple ingredients list: sugar, cocoa, coconut, sea salt, and vanilla bean.
Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Toffee Bar (not pictured): the milk chocolate from above, infused with crunchy peanut butter toffee. I would love a bigger pinch of salt in the peanut butter to really bring out the flavor, but it still tastes great and the texture is just right – crunchy, but not hard to eat, and doesn’t get stuck in your teeth.
Vanilla Bean White Chocolate: First of all, take all of your childhood memories of sugar-laden, tasteless white chocolate and toss them aside. I didn’t used like to white chocolate, either. But I promise that if you try a version like this, made with quality, minimally-refined cocoa butter, and a few other simple ingredients as accents, your mind will be completely changed. There are rich, malty notes to be found in this vegan white chocolate bar. The cocoa truly sings and the vanilla is a lovely complement. Good white chocolate, like this one, tastes a lot like “regular chocolate”, but without the bitterness or acidity.
Vanilla Bean Rice Crisp: The classic vegan white chocolate from above, finished with crispy toasted brown rice and sea salt. Need I say more? This bar was my very favorite, for its blend of flavor and texture. The salt is forward but not overbearing.
Milk Chocolate Maple Pecan Bar (sorry, phone picture!): The classic milk chocolate from above, studded with maple-candied pecans and a hint of cinnamon and sea salt. This one is perfect for the holidays.. with the addition of the maple syrup, it’s a bit on the sweeter side than Charm School Chocolate’s other offerings. The cinnamon was very subtle with the sea salt being more forward.
Now that I’ve piqued your chocolate cravings, it’s time for a giveaway! After becoming totally obsessed with this chocolate, I asked if Charm School Chocolate would provide a giveaway for my readers and they very graciously agreed. To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway is open to USA residents only (including all 50 states). The winner will receive a coupon code to their online store, good for any chocolate bar + shipping. The giveaway period starts right now and ends at 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time on 12/16/2014.
Can’t wait to find out if you’re the winner? Check out the selection available in the Charm School Chocolate online store. The chocolates are also sold online at Vegan Essentials, and at select retail locations in Maryland, Washington D.C., Oregon, Colorado, Washington, and New York.
Disclosure: I did not receive goods or compensation for this post or giveaway – I am simply writing about a product that I love. Charm School Chocolate kindly agreed to provide the giveaway prize.