Miss A Columnist

Kristy Rao is the NYC Editor for Miss A and a Certified Holistic Health Coach. She attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where she studied hundreds of dietary theories, contemporary health issues and topics, as well as both Eastern and Western nutrition. Being a Manhattan native, she loves her city and enjoys supporting it in any way possible. She is passionate about animals, nutrition, fitness, fashion, theater, film, music and art. If you have a NYC charity or cultural event that you would like to have covered on Miss A, please email her at kristy.rao@askmissa.com.

Valentine’s Day Chocolates That Give Back

Choosing the right chocolate for Valentine’s Day can get complicated. Let’s face it- there are so many options! The following list will help narrow your choices down to chocolates made with the finest organic ingredients and that also support great causes and give back.

The Sampler (Photo credit: Righteously Raw)

The Sampler Package (Photo credit: Righteously Raw)

Righteously Raw chocolates are certified to be Organic, Kosher, Vegan, Non-GMO and Gluten Free. They are hand made products entirely from raw, high frequency foods and retain their raw state throughout the entire process from raw ingredients to finished product. No refined sugars are used. They have given to nonprofit organization such as Unbind My Mind, The Foundation For A Healing Among Nations, Teens Turning Green A Way Of Life, Feeding America, Breast Cancer Action, Charity Water and many more.

Their Rose Bar is a decadent truffle bar with raspberry and notes of rose. Each ingredient is consciously sourced beginning with a base of antioxidant-rich cacao butter and red raspberry powder paired with blood-detoxifying beet crystals and highly digestible brown rice protein powder. Inside, there is rich maqui powder that will provide you with yet another boost of powerful antioxidants. This is the ideal gift to introduce to your health conscious friend, family lover or girlfriend. Purchase it here. Better yet, get the sampler with each of their delicious organic chocolates here. The macaroons are also a delicious choice and can be found here.

Truffle Assortment (Photo Credit: Nicobella)

Truffle Assortment (Photo Credit: Nicobella)

Instead of using the cream and butter that is traditionally found in the creamy ganache center of traditional truffles, Nicobella uses coconut milk and coconut oil. Then they add super foods such as blueberries, green tea, ginger and pumpkin to make their truffles even healthier while still being delectably delicious! You do not have to be vegan to enjoy these- they’re great for foodies, chocoholics and health-nuts. The truffles are lower in sugar compared to traditional truffles, because they only use only a touch of either agave nectar or brown rice syrup. In addition to the benefits found in the high antioxidant chocolate that enrobes their truffles, you will also be getting a nice source of antioxidants and vitamins from the healthy whole foods that they use to create each unique truffle flavor. All of this and only 45-65 calories a treat! Click here to purchase their 20 piece box of truffles for $34.95.

Because they love animals, they do not use any animal ingredients. Nicobella donates 5% of their sales to animal organizations such as Mercy for Animals, The Gentle Barn, Noah’s Ark of Locust Grove, GA and A Place to Bark. They also donate any left over chocolates that have not been sold to those organizations to be used in auctions, which helps to raise money for animals in need. Now those are truffles worth eating!

Chocolate Cups (Photo Credit: Newman's Own Organics)

Chocolate Cups (Photo Credit: Newman’s Own Organics)

Newman’s Own Organics Signature Series line of Chocolate Bars is formulated with some of the finest organic chocolate that is made from cocoa beans grown on Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. The Rainforest Alliance Certified seal guarantees that the cocoa in our Signature Series was grown on farms that meet comprehensive standards for sustainable farming, protecting soil, waterways and wildlife habitat as well as the rights and welfare of workers, their families and communities.

The flavor of the chocolate bars are: Super Dark Chocolate (70%), Espresso Dark (54%), Orange Dark (54%), and Milk (34%) and Mocha Milk (34% Cocoa). The chocolate is available in a 3.25oz bar with a suggested retail price of $3.69. The chocolate cups are made from the same chocolate. With three cups per 1.2 ounce package, suggested retail price is $1.69, there are three flavors to choose from: Peanut Butter in 70% Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate, and a Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cup. The Super Chocolate cups are: Super Dark Chocolate with Raspberry and Super Dark Chocolate with Peanut Butter. The retail price is $2.79. Using 70% Cocoa, each 1.9oz. package contains 6 individual mini-cups. Click here to find out where to purchase them.

All the after tax profits from the sale of Newman’s Own products profits are given to Newman’s Own Foundation and then dispensed to charities throughout the U.S. and around the globe. Over $400 million has been given to thousands of charities since 1982.

Sea Salt Truffles (Photo Credit: Alter Eco)

Sea Salt Truffles (Photo Credit: Alter Eco)

Alter Eco based on the premise that food is fundamental to life – and whole, healthy, delicious food can make life better for people all over the world. By working directly with the small-scale farmers who grow their quinoa, rice, sugar and cacao. All of their coop partners maintain their fields within both the American and European standards for organic certification. Transitioning to sustainable farming methods can take years, and often causes temporary losses in yield as the farmers and the land adjust. Programs like organic agriculture training at Rice Fund Surin, their Thai rice partner cooperative, give farmers vital support and encouragement as they make the change.

Fair Trade and Organic practices and assisting them in improving both quality of food and quality of life, they are creating a system that benefits everyone involved. Their values extend to the flora, fauna and fields – where they work with their co-op partners to preserve heirloom grains, replenish and reforest the land. And as a GHG Protocol 3 Carbon Zero business, they offset more carbon than they emit.

These delectable truffles will melt in your mouth. They are available in Black, Sea Salt, Salted Caramel and Velvet with a 10 piece box costing only $7.99! Click here to purchase.

Ulimana‘s organic chocolate truffles are made from raw organic ingredients such as cacao powder, agave or palm syrup (coconut nectar), cacao butter, vanilla beans and Celtic Sea Salt, these delectable raw treats are as healthy as they are delicious! Their Cacao comes from deep in the jungles of Peru and the heart of Bali. Each batch is sweetly handcrafted and infused with ‘life force energy’.

Love Chocolate Truffles (Photo Credit: Ulimana)

Love Chocolate Truffles (Photo Credit: Ulimana)

Cacao, once traded as currency and used in sacred ceremonies by the ancient Mayans, contains phenylethylamine (PEA), ‘the joy molecule’ and Anadamide (AEA), ‘the bliss chemical’, and antioxidants. It is their heartfelt desire to elevate people’s moods with delicious and healthy chocolate and through doing so co-create a more joyful and prosperous environment for all living matter. Click here to purchase their Love Truffles for $8.99.

(Photo Credit: Wei)

(Photo Credit: Wei)

Wei of Chocolate is organic, vegan, made with Fair Trade Cocoa and also GMO-free. You will love the variety in their Wei Delightful Gift Box. For the purists, there’s pure dark 70% cacao Wei Pure, 68% cacao creamy Wei Relaxed, and new 80% super dark Wei Radiant, while 72% Himalayan pink salt infused Wei Inspired, 68% peppermint Wei Beautiful, 70% Wei Peace & 70% citrusy Wei Joyful are sure to please those who love smooth, cocoa buttery goodness with a hint of delicious extra flavor. For those who love earthy goodness, there’s 74% Wei Love and 68% Wei Gratitude, both rich with herbs & spices. They are color-coded, so you know exactly what you’ve got. Each one also contains hand-collected flower remedies from Lotus Wei to balance the body along the acupuncture meridians. With only 2 grams of carbs and 30 calories per piece, it’s the perfect healthy chocolate to let melt in your mouth whenever you need a two-minute break to remind yourself to breathe deeply and enjoy the present moment. The 1/5 pound gift box contains 16 pieces that will be savored with delight. Purchase the delicious dark chocolate assortment here for $32. They have generously donated their chocolates to charities such as Harboring Hearts.

Chocolate Truffles (Photo credit: Bellafina)

Chocolate Truffles (Photo Credit: Bellafina Chocolates)

Every delectable Bellafina Chocolates purchase benefits charities who are working to help the world’s most vulnerable children. They are passionate about chocolate and hand-craft every decadent creation with only the finest ingredients like organic cream, nuts, fruit, and fine chocolate. Find your passion among their amazing line of truffles, chocolate bars, and other divine creations.

Besides their normal green and gold gift boxes and their ever-popular dark chocolate moonshine truffles, they offer special edition gift boxes for holidays featuring children’s art. These gifts for Valentine’s Day feature paintings by students of the Morrison School in Bristol, Virginia. The school helps children with learning disabilities (or those who “learn differently” as the school likes to say). Inside each box is a short description of the school and a profile of the student.  All proceeds from the sale of these boxes for Valentine’s Day benefit the school. You can purchase a box here.

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As the first organic and Fair Trade chocolate factory in the country, Theo Chocolate‘s founding principle is that the finest artisan chocolate in the world can (and should) be produced in an entirely ethical, sustainable fashion. All of their ingredients are carefully screened and 3rd party verified to ensure they meet their standards for social and environmental responsibility.

Theo Chocolates subscribe to the most stringent definition of organic. They only use foods grown without synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilizers, that do not contain genetically modified organisms, and have not been irradiated or exposed to industrial solvents or food additives. Every Theo ingredient has been verified as organic, and they work with farmers and suppliers to ensure these standards are maintained.

By partnering with their local Pacific Northwest friends at CB’s Nuts, Theo created a delicious take on a classic combination. The result is the very first Fair Trade peanut butter cup, and it’s perfect for V-Day because each cup is shaped like a heart! You may purchase it here.

Peanut Butter Cups (Photo Credit: Theo Chocolates)

Peanut Butter Cups (Photo Credit: Theo Chocolate)

In Eastern Congo, Theo Chocolate, Caffe Vita and Eastern Congo Initiative teamed up with Congolese cocoa and coffee farmers to make this deliciously creamy chocolate bar. The cocoa, coffee and vanilla in this chocolate are all from Eastern Congo. When you purchase their Coffee & Cream bar, you are directly impacting the lives of farmers in Eastern Congo by supporting true fair trade. A portion of the purchase price from the sale of every bar will benefit Eastern Congo Initiative. You may purchase it here.

Similar to the Coffee & Cream bar, the cocoa and vanilla used to make the ECI Vanilla Nib bar are all grown in Eastern Congo by dedicated organic farmers focused on quality and sustainability. The vanilla, grown in the foothills of the breathtaking Rwenzori Mountains, adds a delicious creaminess in contrast to the roasted crunchy cocoa nibs. Proceeds from this chocolate bar are also donated to ECI to support their work with Congolese farmers in Eastern Congo. You may purchase it here.

Their work with farmer partners supports their ability to utilize sustainable growing practices that benefit both our fragile environmental ecosystem and all of the people inhabiting our planet. They focus on integrated pest management which protects farmers and the environment from damaging pesticides, biodiverse farming which provides habitat for many species such as migratory birds, and reforestation which helps offset worldwide air pollution and has a positive impact on global warming. Click here to purchase one of their chocolate boxes or bars.

(Photo credit: Rawmio)

Organic Raw Chocolate Truffle Cake (Photo credit: Rawmio)

Rawmio was founded on a few essential fundamentals: pure ingredients, high nutrition, and delicious flavors. Their mission is to combine superior ingredients with time-tested techniques to make some of the world’s most delicious treats. All of their delicious handcrafted products receive great care and attention which transforms simple ingredients into gourmet treats. Crafting some of them can take upwards of 24 hours! Whether it’s their Chocolate Barks, Chocolate Dipped Figs, or even our Stone Ground Chocolate Almond butter – their integrity remains intact. They pick only the best organic and raw ingredients on the planet. By doing so, they proudly support small farms and villages both domestic and beyond. Their amazing raw chocolate spreads are great to top onto strawberries or onto your toast in the morning for a satisfying yet antioxidant rich treat. You won’t find a better and healthier alternative to Nutella! Their trail mix bark combines two snacks that belong together into a decadent raw chocolate bark. A delicious trail mix made with nuts, seeds and dried fruits such as goji berries, mulberries, pumpkin seeds, almonds and others have been enrobed into Rawmio’s delicious dark chocolate. A light sprinkling of sweet cacao nibs transforms the best of both worlds into one tasty bite!

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