Let’s be honest, even the most health conscious among us need a good chocolate fix every now and then. For many, there is no life without chocolate and while it might not be the best thing for your waistline that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t indulge yourself every now and then, especially when there are so many exciting chocolate trends to keep abreast of. Chrissy Beedle, Executive Manager of Research and Product Development at Slo-Jo, shares some of the latest chocolate trends, and how to feed your chocolate urges and addictions this month. Here are 4 chocolate trends to look out for in 2017.

Health-conscious chocoholics

If you’re Banting, following a Paleo diet, or simply prefer to eat ‘clean’, then there are plenty of chocolate-covered trends to try that won’t leave you feeling guilty at the end of the day. Cacao (not to be confused with ‘cocoa’) is considered a super food and the purest form of chocolate and these days is being used in more and more desserts, smoothies and even breakfast dishes as a guilt-free way to indulge in the good stuff at any time of day. This winter look out for healthier chocolate drink alternatives that don’t skimp on decadence, such as Mugg & Bean’s no-sugar-added skinny Muggacchinos.

Eco-friendly indulgence

With consumers making more environmentally and socially conscious purchasing decisions when it comes to what goes in their shopping carts, chocoholics have a lot more options available to them. There is a big market for organic and sustainably produced products, such as cacao nibs (cacao beans chopped up into edible pieces). The next time you’re in the health aisle at the supermarket, look for brands that contain all-natural, organic ingredients that are free of chemicals and preservatives. Slo-Jo also offers non-GMO products* in support of health and wellness among its customers.

cacao nibs

Yummy chocolate alternatives

Yes, the sad news is there are people out there who cannot indulge in chocolate for health reasons. People who struggle with certain food allergies may not be able to indulge in chocolate as much as the next chocoholic, but that doesn’t mean they can’t indulge in chocolate alternatives that are just as delicious. Carob chips are emerging as a popular and healthy substitute for chocolate, with a flavour and texture profile similar to chocolate. Made from the seedpods that grow on the Carob fruit tree, which are then roasted and crushed, carob chips can be used as a substitute for chocolate chips in any recipe and pack just as much sweetness and flavour. They’re also suitable for Vegan diets, and good for your health too!

Artisanal treats

Aside from the store-bought varieties that are more readily available, many foodies are opting for more premium chocolate brands and products for a more authentic and unique taste experience. The ‘Coffee in a Cone’ craze is also taking South Africa by storm, giving chocoholics and coffee-lovers alike the opportunity to sip on an expertly brewed cappuccino from a wafer cone lined with thick, decadent chocolate. Get your fix at artisanal coffee shops, like Chocolat et Café in Pretoria and Royal Coffee Roasters in Edenvale, Johannesburg and many other cafes in Cape Town and Durban.