Monday, March 7, 2016

Endangered Species Chocolate Spreads!

I remember the day I was introduced to Nutella. I was in high school French class, and our teacher (whose name escapes me) brought a jar of the chocolate hazelnut spread and a baguette to class. She sliced the crusty bread and spread on thick layers of Nutella for us to sample, telling us "This is what French kids eat for breakfast."

I have no idea if she was right about French kids eating Nutella for breakfast, but I believed her at the time. And it felt like a whole new world had opened up to me. Before, I guess I'd never thought much about what the French ate for breakfast or what anyone from any other culture ate at all. I grew up in a small Arkansas town where chain restaurants reigned supreme (and still do), and back then, the Chinese buffet (which was loaded with American faves, like mac & cheese and ranch dressing) was about as cultured as dining could get. But that Nutella, man — it was as if I'd just learned some amazing new secret.

Of course, finding Nutella in Jonesboro grocery stores proved difficult until much later in my college years. So I wouldn't get a second taste for awhile. And after I went vegan, I remember thinking, "Damn, I guess Nutella is out." Thankfully, a number of vegan companies have developed vegan versions over the years. And the latest — and perhaps best — version comes from Endangered Species Chocolate. Three versions in fact! They sent me all three to sample and review.

If you're not familiar with Endangered Species Chocolate, you should be! They donate 10 percent of their net profits to species preservation and habitat conversation.  Most (not all) of their chocolates are vegan. And they're recommended by the Food Empowerment Project, which means their chocolate is ethically sourced and slavery-free. They've been in the chocolate bar market for years, but the spreads are fairly new.

The Hazelnut Spread with Cocoa is the one that mimics Nutella, and it's a pretty spot-on comparison. It's rich and chocolately, smooth and creamy, with a hint of hazelnut. Think of the inside of a Ferrero Rocher truffle (surely, you ate those in your pre-vegan days, right?). I tried all three of these spreads on toast, and this one was definitely my fave. It was delightful paired with mashed raspberries on whole wheat toast. 

I enjoyed that toast before a Saturday long run. Since the spreads arrived, I've learned that they make perfect pre-run fuel. I like to get the right combo of fat, wheat, and simple sugar to power me through a long run without getting hungry. And this did it for me!

Next up is the Almond Spread with Cocoa. This one tastes a bit like a chocolate almond butter, but it's sweeter and creamier. That's probably because the two main ingredients are cane sugar and vegetable oil. This isn't health food, but that's okay because sometimes, we just need into indulge. I spread this one on some toast with banana slices before another long run. Again, it powered me through about an hour and a half run. Look how the spread gets all melty on the warm toast. Mmmmm.

Then there's the Cocoa Spread. This one is just straight-up chocolate. It's sweet with a slight bitterness from the cocoa. Just the right balance. And while I prefer the other two over this one when eaten straight from the jar with a spoon (yes, I have been doing that), this cocoa spread makes the very best toast because you can totally make peanut butter cup toast! OMG! One tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter and one tablespoon of cocoa spread! YES!

Who need Nutella when you can have cruelty-free vegan chocolate spread that helps animals?


Susan said...

Peanut butter cup toast sounds amazing!
Nutella seems to be having a revival at the moment. A Nutella cafe opened recently, and at Christmas shops were selling personalised bottles of Nutella. Odd.
I had some of the ES chocolate when I was in the US last year and it was nice, I hope we get the chocolate and spreads here sometime.

Unknown said...

Wow, those look so good!!!

vegan peace said...

Peanut butter cup toast is one of the best ideas I've heard in awhile!

tina trevino said...

OMGosh, they're on my list to buy! Love their bars.

tina trevino said...

OMGosh, they're on my list to buy! Love their bars.

Sophie said...

Yes she was right! Many kids (and adults!) eat some baguette with Nutella for breakfast. I did that too when I was growing up in my pre-gan and pre-Atlantic crossing days!

I have never tried those, but I can tell you the Trader joe Chocolate Cookie Spread is a close second to Nutella.

Sarah said...

Yes!!!! OMG these sound amazing! I am definitely going to be putting these on my list of things to try.

Babette said...

It's hard to believe it was hard to come across Nutella in your hometown when you were younger! My aunt often had Nutella, but I don't think my mom bought Nutella more than once or twice, much to my dismay.

As for France, I remember seeing lots of giants jars of Nutella in food stands in Paris.

I could never have three jars of Nutella at my apartment... I know I couldn't help myself but eat a spoonful every time I go in the kitchen. But when I see the Endangered Species jars, I'l make sure I get one jar.