Studies show that eating chocolate regularly can benefit heart health
. However, the newest chocolate brands are focused on enhancing overall wellness as well as cardiovascular vitality. Touting labels like “No GMO!” and “Nutrient-rich!,” they suggest that ‘healthy candy’ is no longer a misnomer. While these sweet treats aren’t as nutritious as, say, an apple, they’re certainly a lot more indulgent and, in some cases, just as farm fresh
What happens when a kid’s parents limit his consumption of candy? He makes his own healthy version, that’s what. In a desire to “unjunk” sweets, 15-year-old Nicky Bronner teamed up with a renowned chef and his entrepreneur father to launch Unreal
, a new brand of chocolate treats that mimic checkout line favorites like Reese’s and Snickers. But while the candy may look like convenience store classics, it uses fewer ingredients and no artificial add-ins. For instance, chocolate-covered candies are colored with beetroot and cabbage juice. Unlike artisan chocolate brands that focus on organic ingredients and small batches, Unreal isn’t targeting a niche marketplace—in fact, it’ll be available in 30,000+ stores come fall.
Bixby & Co.
: Proof that New York's artisanal food movement
extends beyond Brooklyn, Warwick-based Bixby & Co.’s
candy seems like it could’ve emerged from Willie Wonka’s factory. Among the vegan, gluten-free confections are a riot of fancy flavors, including Whippersnapper (walnuts, blueberries, and black pepper) and Knockout (peanuts, cherries, and chipotle). The company’s retro sensibility is not just a marketing ploy, however. Indeed, it was named after founder Kate McAleer’s great-great-grandparents
, and the 1920s-inspired packaging earned the “Best Branding” award at the Philadelphia Candy Show. Between the colorful foil wrapping and pretty packaging—printed in soy ink on FSC-certified paper—they almost look too lovely to eat. Almost.
Katrina Markoff spent the last six years helming Vosges Haut-Chocolat
, a boutique sweets brand that’s perhaps most famous for its bacon flavors
. In an effort to bring her confections to the masses, the “Kate Spade of chocolate makers
” launched Wild Ophelia
. The more casual spinoff, though half the price and easier to find than Vosges, is anything but conventional. Incorporating New Orleans chili peppers ("high in vitamins"), nuts ("nutrient-rich"), and beef jerky ("high protein"), flavors are as gourmet as they are good-for-you. Even the BBQ potato chip flavor touts a gluten-free stamp. Virtuous in more ways than one, the all-natural ingredients are sourced entirely from small farms and independent artisans.