I was asked an interesting question by a client today that I hadn't ever thought of in 15 years in the chocolate business. That doesn't happen all that often.
He was wanting to know if we could make him a customised chocolate, yes, but it needed to be a chocolate that was suitable for vegetarians.
A Vegan chocolate? I'll get back to you.
In our office we have a sign that reads "chocolate is made with cacao, cacao comes from a tree, that makes it a plant which makes it a salad." There's your answer its clearly Vegan!
The real answer is not so simple though.
Chocolate is more than just the cocoa bean. A whole lot happens to it before it gets to the shelves of your local chocolate store.
Milk chocolate for example naturally has milk added to it. Milk comes from cows - cows are an animal. So there's a problem.
In fact even some dark chocolates, particularly the cheaper ones, have milk or milk products added to them to fill them out and reduce the cost, which primarily comes from the cost of the cocoa mass and butter.
But good dark chocolates contain no milk products at all. They are made from Cocoa Mass, Cocoa Butter and Sugar with limited quantities of some additives like Soya Lecithin and Flavour.
Furthermore for the vegans some producers also replace the milk in chocolate with non dairy substitutes like almond or rice milk.
So being a strict vegan doesn't stop you from enjoying the delights that come from the cocoa tree.