Welcome to my latest ‘Spotlight on’ blog, a series where I focus on different businesses in Nottingham that deserve to be shouted about. After going to Luisa’s Vegan Chocolates for the first time last week, I honestly couldn’t wait to write this blog!
Run by Luisa and her daughter Isabella, the team at Luisa’s Vegan Chocolates are the only chocolate makers in Nottingham. They make all of their artisan chocolate from scratch, lovingly crafting each bar by hand at their HQ on the outskirts of the city centre.
Let me start by saying, vegan or non-vegan, if you love chocolate you need to visit Luisa’s. The chocolate at Luisa’s isn’t excellent vegan chocolate, it’s excellent chocolate — period.
The chocolate 🍫
I was greeted by Isabella when I walked into the store and I’m so glad she served me because her passion for chocolate was infectious. It was really useful to have a chocolate connoisseur on hand to answer my questions and give me recommendations. When you’re faced with so much variety but your chocolate experience to date is limited to choosing between a Yorkie and a Boost bar at the local shop, it can be overwhelming!
Did you know that cacao beans (chocolate’s main ingredient) have different tastes depending on where in the world they’re grown? All of the chocolate at Luisa’s is single origin, ensuring each bar keeps the unique taste of the bean it’s made from. Isabella compared chocolate to fine wine and, although I’m not a wine drinker, the comparison feels accurate.
There’s so many chocolate bars to choose from and they all have different taste notes. Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start, as there’s a handy tasting wheel on the shop wall that categorises each bar by taste and makes it easy to choose a bar you’ll enjoy.
The products I purchased and oh-so-selflessly taste tested for you all were:
- Choc-oat-late (made with oat milk)
- Casholate (made with roasted cashew nuts)
- Madagascar 72% cacao
- Casholate truffles (I went for peanut butter, salted caramel, raspberry, white raspberry, honeycomb and hazelnut)
My favourite by far was the Casholate and it’ll definitely be my go to choice for future visits. Speaking as a lactose intolerant girl with a serious sweet tooth, dairy free ‘milk’ chocolate is hard to come by and when you do find some it usually tastes about as exciting as a stale slice of bread. Both the Casholate and Choc-oat-late had a lovely creamy taste to them.
I’m not a big dark chocolate fan, but Isabella persuaded me to sample the Madagascar 72% cacao and sure enough I ended up buying a bar to take home with me. It had a distinct taste of raspberry, which was so nice, despite containing zero raspberries! Best of all, there was no bitter after taste.
Luisa is all about sophisticated flavours from simple ingredients. One of the main benefits of the bean-to-bar process at Luisa’s Vegan Chocolates is that they have complete control over everything that goes into their chocolate.
All of the products are additive free, gluten free and soy free without compromising on flavour.
I was surprised to see such a short list of ingredients on the packaging (only three ingredients go into their dark chocolate!) but it made a refreshing change to the E numbers usually found on the back of chocolate wrappers.
Ethical values 🌱
One of the things I love most about Luisa’s Vegan Chocolates is they pride themselves on having an ‘ethical and transparent approach to chocolate making’. Obviously their products are vegan, meaning they’re cruelty-free as far as animals are concerned, but the business also strives to be as ethical as possible during production.
The business’ direct trade policy allows them to pay farmers an impressive 69% more than the Fairtrade standard. Luisa’s team have even travelled across the world to meet the farmers who supply their beans and make sure they’re working in ethical conditions.
Higher pay for farmers does translate into a higher cost at the till for us chocolate lovers, but personally I was happy to pay extra for chocolate knowing that it not only tasted delicious but had been made ethically. As with most things in life, quality over quantity!
Where to find them 📍
Great news everyone – you can order Luisa’s Vegan Chocolates online! That being said, I would definitely encourage anyone to visit the store. I loved meeting Isabella because it meant I learnt more about the business and there’s just something special about visiting a chocolate maker.
Address: Luisa’s Vegan Chocolates, Sneinton Market, Unit 7 Avenue A, Nottingham, NG1 1DT