When it’s time to cleanse and be all healthy and not eat cinnamon rolls for breakfast like we do all through December, we’re told dark chocolate might just be our savior if we need something sweet. To be specific, the flavanols found in cocoa may help protect your heart, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation. Also, if you’re going paleo or giving up dairy in 2019, dark chocolate is often naturally vegan, as there is no added dairy like there is in milk chocolate.

Still, to some, dark chocolate feels like a runner-up to whatever they really want for dessert. The higher cocoa and cocoa butter concentrates in dark chocolate can make it taste somewhat bitter compared to a Hershey’s. And choosing a bar of dark chocolate these days can feel almost as overwhelming as picking out the right bottle of pinot noir. After all, there’s the origin of the chocolate to consider, as well as the reputation of the manufacturer.

But trust us when we say this is the year to go to the dark side, especially if you’re trying to do a low carb diet (see above-mentioned cinnamon roll binge). We are living in the golden age of the healthy-ish chocolate bar. Below, our guide to the best bites.

Vosges Haut-Chocolat Super Dark Matcha and Spirulina Bar, $14.99 on Amazon

Amazon

The hit of matcha green tea and spirulina makes this bar a no-brainer. The latter ingredient is packed with vitamins A, C, E and B, as well as a whole host of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium.  If you haven’t gotten on the matcha train yet, know it’s been linked to health benefits, including heart disease prevention and mental alertness.See It

Icelandic Dark Chocolate Bar, $7.99 on World Market

World Market

At 56 percent bittersweet, this is a good bar to try if you’re new to dark chocolate. Originally sold as baking chocolate in the ‘30s, this brand has become a staple in Iceland, and is much better for you than raiding the bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the pantry. Also? That. Wrapper.See It

Black Label Blackout Bars, $73.50 For 6 on Mouth.com

Mouth.com

This gift-to-yourself chocolate dream by subscription box giant Mouth offers good-looking bars dressed in all-black wrappers. The set includes marquee names in the chocolate world, including Mast Brothers, Cacao Prieto, and Ritual Chocolate. The challenge will be actually tearing into the stylish paper.See It

Taza Chocolate Chocolate Mexicano Sampler, $19.23 on Amazon

Amazon

Made with ethically sourced chocolate, Taza follows Mexican traditions to create chocolate discs (not bars!) that are ground on millstones to highlight the complex taste of cacao. Rounding out the process is adding single ingredients like vanilla, cinnamon, and chili.See It

World Market 99 Percent Dark Chocolate Bar, $4.98 on World Market

World Market

As you can imagine, 99 percent is the real deal. Think of eating this kind of chocolate bar the way you’d savor a rich red wine. In fact, why not double the antioxidants and pair a few squares with a rich red wine?See It

BIJA Chocolate Organic Classic Bundle, $14.99 on Amazon

BIJA

High cacao content — ranging from 70 to 80 percent — ethically sourced ingredients and the addition of toasted coconut make these hunks a great addition to your chocolate stash.See It

K&M Chocolate Bar Holiday Gift Set, $65 on Dean & DeLuca

Dean & Deluca

Yes, this breaks down to over $15 a bar (there are four total). But the “K” in the name stands for Thomas Keller, who paired up with olive oil producer Armando Manni, used single-origin beans, and created spins on “traditional” favorites like peppermint dark chocolate.See It

Choc Zero’s Keto Bark, $14.99 on Amazon

Choc Zero

Following a keto or low-carb diet? Chocolate can still be on your plan. If you want your dark chocolate to be more sweet than bitter, look for options without sugar—the sweetness in this one comes from monk fruit.See It

Montezuma’s Dark Chocolate Absolute Black, $14.61 on Amazon

Amazon

There’s one ingredient in this chocolate bar, and that’s cocoa. It may be bitter to some, but it also packs a powerful nutritional punch and makes it suitable for anyone following a ketogenic-type diet.See It

Hu Dark Chocolate Bars 4-pack, $25 on Amazon

Amazon

Paleo, vegan, and organic, Hu prides itself on short ingredient lists and fair-trade cocoa. Hu uses coconut sugar as a sweetener, which has a lower glycemic index than traditional sugar. In addition, unlike regular sugar, coconut sugar contains nutrients like zinc, calcium, and potassium. Pretty sweet! (See what we did there?)See It

Eating Evolved 72 Percent Cacao Primal Chocolate, $4.19 on Thrive Market

Thrive Market

“It’s food, not candy” is Eating Evolved’s tagline and it plays out in the list of ingredients in each bar. The list is short: Organic cacao, organic coconut sugar, organic cacao butter. More impressive is what the brand omits. Minus soy, traditional sugars, or emulsifiers, this bar still tastes rich, complex, and is a guilt-free treat for anyone exploring clean eating.See It

Related Video: 7 Extra-Warming Hot Chocolate Recipes

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Header image courtesy of Mouth.com.

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