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Conscious Vegan Dark Side Chocolate Bar Reviews

Disclosure: Conscious Chocolate kindly sent me three 60g dark cacao bars free of charge for the purposes of a review. Conscious Chocolate had no influence over the content on this page. My opinions are my own. This article may contain affiliate links (identified by a ° symbol). These financially support this website - and our chocolate research - at no extra cost to you. Find out more.

Today I'm taking a trip to the dark side courtesy of Conscious Chocolate, which has just launched its heady 100% Perivian cacao raw chocolate bar.

Not for the faint hearted, the 100% organic raw chocolate bar made in Sussex promises a "truly natural and pure cacao experience" for chocolate purists.

Conscious Chocolate kindly sent me a trio of bars from their Dark Side range, rising from 75% cocoa solids to 85% and then onto 100%. I took a chocolate tasting flight through these increasingly intense bars, so see how they compare to one another, and to find out which one hits the sweet spot in terms of flavour.

Conscious Dark Side Chocolate Bars
75%, 85% and 100% chocolate bars by Conscious

The colourful purple and brown boxes all follow the same design, just with different text. The silver-foiled Conscious logo adds a touch of class to the packaging. The trio of boxes are quite large for the 60g bars of chocolate inside, so the bars noticeably rattle around inside their packaging. personally, I'd have liked to see a slightly snugger fit.

The boxes each highlight that these bars are handmade in England using organic, raw Peruvian cacao, with the 75% and 85% bars containing coconut blossom as a sweetener.

On the rear of all three boxes, the ingredients and nutritional information is printed in English, Dutch, Danish, and German. Each carries the Vegan Society certification, Soil Association certification, as well as EU organic certification. There's also a selection of key aspects highlighted on the packaging, including that the bars are free from refined sugar, gluten, dairy, and plastic.

Pull the bar out of its box and you'll find each one wrapped in compostable film, making the packaging fully recyclable or degradable.

Conscious Chocolate Compostable Film
Compostable film surrounds each bar

Each bar is cast using the same bespoke mould, with 12 rectangular segments running around the edge, and a three-segment-long Conscious logo in the centre.

All bars exhibit a clear and crisp snap, and I could easily divide each one into 15 pieces, meaning I could dip in and out as I pleased. Interesting, Conscious Chocolate reckons each 60g box contains two portions but I struggled to work through more than a couple of pieces at a time. These are not bars to wolf down. No, they are for savouring thoughtfully.


Conscious 75% Dark Side Chocolate Bar Review

Conscious Chocolate 75% Dark Side bar ingredients:
Cacao butter, cacao powder, coconut blossom sugar (23%), coconut butter, cinnamon, vanilla (0.08%), cinnamon, sea salt. Cacao solids: 75% minimum.

  • What they say: "Deliciously smooth, creamy chocolate to both indulge and delight."
  • Sugars: 11.5%

The first thing I noticed about this bar, besides its heavy mottling and the imprint of text from the biodegradable wrapper, was its strong coconut aroma. There were also notes of caramel and almond in the perfume of this bar, but these sat behind the coconut.

On tasting, there was an immediate citrus bitterness that coated my mouth, along with lively notes of coconut, liquorice, and tart red berries. A buttery creaminess dove in towards the end, leading me away from a bitter finish and into a rich coconut chocolate aftertaste.

There was so much energy in the flavour that it excitedly bounced around and it appeared difficult to constrain. There was a lot going on in this bar. You need to be ready for the flavour to change direction in a heartbeat.

Conscious Chocolate 75% Dark Side Bar Review

RRP: £2.79 | Conscious Chocolate | Shop now°

A heavily mottled bar, this lively bar has a strong coconut aroma and a flavour that jumps around between coconut and the dark fruity notes of the Peruvian cacao. While it has a citrus-like bitter taste in the main, it has more a rounded finish.

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Score: 3.8

Conscious 85% Dark Side Chocolate Bar Review

Conscious Chocolate 85% Dark Side bar ingredients:
Cacao butter, cacao powder, coconut blossom sugar (14%), cinnamon, sea salt. Cacao solids 85% minimum.

  • What they say: "Creamy, smooth and without any bitterness despite the high cacao content."
  • Sugars: 6.4%

Unlike the 75% bar, the aroma of this bar was considerably more grown-up, with red berries, smoke, wood, and leather all at the forefront. Try hard and you can just about pick up a faint coconut aroma, but it hums away in the distant background.

The tasting experience was more refined too, with a mild cocoa introduction to an onslaught of deep, rich, jam and prune notes. There was not so much in the way of full-on bitter notes per se, but instead a rather mild strain of bitterness that ran along the side lines. Into the finish, there was a little zing of red berries before a refreshingly clean and creamy aftertaste.

If the 75% bar was a child running wild all over the place, the 85% was somebody reading a book in front of a cracking fire in the library of a country house. It was an entirely different proposition that was considerably more refined. Its flavours gently meanders instead of darting around, and it was more refined in its taste.

Conscious Chocolate 85% Dark Side Bar Review

RRP: £2.79 | Conscious Chocolate | Shop now°

Strong, rich, and flavourful with just enough sweetness to control the bitterness. Unlike the 75% bar, the coconut flavour in this bar is barely noticeable, while the flavour notes are more honed and tamed into submission.

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Score: 4.2

Conscious 100% Pure Cacao Dark Chocolate Bar Review

Conscious Chocolate 100% Pure Cacao Dark bar ingredients:
Cacao butter (50%), Peruvian cacao powder (50%). Cacao solids: 100% minimum.

  • What they say: "An intense, delicious, strong cacao flavour that is creamy and fully balanced, without overpowering bitterness."
  • Sugars: 0.5%

Conscious Chocolate didn't just stop at 85%. No, they went all the way to 100%. Yep, this is a bar made entirely of just Peruvian cacao powder and cacao butter.

As you might expect, this bar builds upon the flavour of the 85% bar, with the intensity setting cranked up to 'max'.

The aroma was completely dominated by smokey and woody notes, with a hint of leather in there for good measure. As soon as the chocolate hit my tongue, an immediate dryness spread like wildfire. The chocolate absorbed every last drop of moisture from my mouth as it began to melt.

There was a touch of butter in the flavour, with bitter notes of stone fruit next to follow. Curiously, the smokey qualities in the aroma sat as an undertone in the flavour. The bitter stone fruit notes remained long into the aftertaste, although there was a brief and welcomed flash of creaminess at the very end, just as the moisture began to reform in my mouth.

This isn't a bar for the faint-hearted.

Conscious Chocolate 100% Pure Cacao Dark Bar Review

RRP: £2.79 | Conscious Chocolate | Shop now°

Intense, rich, and dry, this isn't a bar for everybody, and a little goes a long way. You'll crave something sweet after a bite of this raw chocolate bar, but it does deliver bitter stone fruit notes in droves.

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Score: 4

Conscious Chocolate 75% vs 85% vs 100% - Which is Best?

Personally, I think the 85% bar is the sweet spot in the Dark Side range. The dominant coconut qualities in the 75% bar distract from the tasting experience, while the 100% bar is incredibly heady but very dry for my tastes. It's certainly not for everybody, and a little goes a long way.

The 85% bar sits happily in the middle. It's creamier and sweeter than the 100% bar (obviously), but it's not as strong on the coconut front as the 75% bar is. It features the best blend of smokey flavour notes with just enough sweetness to tame its bitterness.

If you fancy an affordable chocolate tasting flight, get all three bars and experience the stark differences between three different percentage intensities of the same cacao. If you're only looking for one as a treat to dip in and out of, opt for the 85% bar.


Where to Buy Online

You can buy these bars on the Conscious Chocolate website - the 75% bar here°, the 85% bar here°, and the 100% bar here° - priced at £2.79 each.

You'll also find plenty of their bars over on Amazon here° too, available in bulk boxes, chocolate gift hampers, or in bundles of assorted bars.

Have you tried these bars? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments below.

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