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Q&A

Find the answers to the most commonly asked questions.

Product Basics

How should I store Zimt?

For chocolate bars, macaroons, caramels, truffles, and chocolate popcorn, please keep them in cool (preferably between 13 °C and 18 °C) conditions. Drinking Chocolate Mix should be kept cold, too, because it does contain chocolate and could melt!

Are your products gluten free?

All Zimt products are made with gluten free ingredients. However, they are made in a facility that processes gluten, so we cannot guarantee that there is no gluten cross contamination—as in, there is a chance that a trace of gluten may end up in our product.

Are your products made in an allergen free facility?

All Zimt products are made in a facility that manufactures products with dairy, gluten, soy, dairy, hazelnuts, and almonds. But no peanuts. No matter how careful we are with clean up, we cannot guarantee that there is no cross contamination, unfortunately.

What percentage of cacao is your chocolate?

All Zimt chocolate is made with our eighty percent (80%) cocoa content. We often hear that when it comes to chocolate cocoa content percentage that, “the higher the better”. Keep in mind, though, that Zimt is not using any regular cacao—we are using raw cacao, which generally is much, much higher in antioxidant levels than regular chocolate. Plus, the sweetener we use, coconut sugar, is all good- you don’’t have to worry about increasing the cacao content in the chocolate you eat to avoid cane sugar when you eat Zimt!

Can I bake with Zimt even though it is raw?

Yes! Works great if you want to keep a recipe completely cane sugar free.

cane sugar free. I bought Zimt at a store and it was melted/bloomed/not in optimal conditions. Can I have a refund?

Good question! Please enter your postal code for locations here: SHOPLETS.

Where can I buy Zimt in real life?

We hope so- but that would be up to the store you bought them from. When Zimt products leave the factory, they are in pristine condition! It would be during shipping (via distributors) or storage (at stores, in loading bays etc), where the product would not have been kept in the best of conditions. We stress the importance of temperature and moisture control to those who sell Zimt, so if you have a product that is not in tip-top shape, please bring it back to the store you bought it from, with your receipt and hopefully the rest of the product you didn’t eat, and ask for a refund.

Nutrition

Why is raw chocolate different from regular chocolate?

The raw food industry is gaining momentum and is a great indication that people are wanting to consume more consciously.
A healthful raw foods diet (or meal!) should focus on whole, fresh, minimally processed foods – sprouts, greens, raw soaked nuts and seeds, fruit, and even some “superfoods”, if you feel so inclined (more on superfoods below!).
Raw cacao has recently gotten a lot of attention- some tests done, including those by the United States Department of Agriculture, show that raw cacao has some of the highest levels of antioxidants of any food.
The main difference between raw chocolate and regular chocolate, processing wise, is that the cacao beans in raw chocolate are not roasted, nor do they reach temperatures above about 49 °C. This number is considered by many to be the point at which digestive aiding enzymes can stay alive in most foods though this does vary greatly depending upon the food! In fact, as cacao beans are a little heartier, they are able to withstand higher temperatures than say, baby spinach, and keep more of their nutrients.
As raw cacao has not been processed in the same way as regular cacao, it can have some stimulating effects on people- for example, a lot of people say that they can’t eat raw cacao at night- or they won’’t be able to sleep! People who don’t consume many other stimulants (such as caffeine, white sugar, or alcohol) may be more sensitive to the stimulating effects of raw cacao.
Nutrient speaking, good quality (as in, free of cane sugar, emulsifiers such as soya lecithin, and dairy products) it is pretty impressive. Here is a bit of a breakdown:
Magnesium: Healthy muscle and nerve function, heart rhythm maintenance, strong bone building, and healthy immune system upkeep all require a diet offering a sufficient amount of magnesium. Without it, a slew of health problems can arise such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. And as it turns out, along with green leafy vegetables, beans and lentils, whole grains and avocado, cacao is an excellent source of magnesium!
Serotonin: Keep up with your chocolate consumption; keep your friends. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is synthesized from an amino acid protein molecule called L-tryptophan. It functions within the brain to regulate temperature, mood, appetite, sleep and pain. Without serotonin (or a sufficient amount), people’s behaviour can turn aggressive! According to Diana Walcutt, Ph.D. at PsychCentral, dark chocolate increases serotonin levels in the brain. However, she also states that milk products can reduce the benefits of cacao- so steer clear of milk products when you enjoy your Zimt!

Why don't you use milk ingredients?

Zimt is milk and dairy free for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, we are a vegan company who believes that milk should be left for the baby animals who really need it and should leave the cows in peace! Second, adding dairy products is just a filler- dairy is cheaper than cacao by a whole lot, and we want to fill your chocolate with the most cacao powered nutrition. Milk products have also been shown to have negative health impacts (for example, in The China Study, it is demonstrated that countries with high dairy intake are actually more likely to have citizens suffering from osteoporosis! There’s no way we want to contribute to that.). We want to focus on the beauty that plants have to offer- and the cacao tree is a prime example.

Why do you use coconut sugar to sweeten your products?

Such a wonderful discovery—and a rather recent one on this side of the globe.

Coconut sugar is harvested from coconut tree (Coco Nucifera) blossoms—coconut blossoms produce coconut sap, which is evaporated or boiled, leaving a beautiful, caramel flavoured sugar. This caramel colour signifies the naturally occurring nutrients in the coconut sugar, including magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, B vitamins, and amino acids (including glutamine). Unlike with cane sugar, no nutrients are removed in the processing of coconut sugar, leaving all of these nutrients intact.

Another bonus to coconut sugar? It has a lower glycemic index (GI) and lower glycemic load (GL) than most sweeteners.

Glycemic index is a numerical system of how much a carbohydrate triggers a rise in circulating blood—it tells us how rapidly a particular carbohydrate turns into sugar. The higher the glycemic index number, the greater the blood sugar response. Essentially, the glycemic index is about the quality of the carbohydrate in food, not the quantity. Glycemic load is needed to give a more complete picture. For example, figs have a glycemic index of 63 per cup, but a glycemic load of 4. On the GI scale, 63 is quite high- but, 4 is a very acceptable GL.

Value Glycemic Index (GI) Glycemic Load (GL)
High 70 or more 20 or higher
Medium 56 to 69 inclusive 11 to 19 inclusive
Low 55 or less 10 or less

Coconut sugar has been tested to show a range of 35 to 54 on the GI scale per serving, while other sugars, such as refined white sugar, molasses, and muscovado sugar show a range of 65 to 100. Maple syrup has a GI of 69 and up, while honey rates at least 70 on the GI scale per serving. Coconut sugar has a GL of about 1, while agave’’s GL is double that. Agave is also comprised of approximately 90% fructose, which is converted by the body into fat and contributes to triglycerides—a type of fat found in the blood. Coconut sugar is comprised of about 9% fructose.

This sweetener is relatively new to the Western world, but has been used in South East Asia for thousands of years as a sweetener. These trees can continue to produce sap for about 20 years! Unlike cane sugar, there is no “cane trash” – the leftovers from extruding the cane sugar juice from the cane sugar plant, which leaves the fibrous materials that usually just end up being burned, contributing to carbon dioxide levels. Coconut palms also require very little water to grow, and produce an average of 50-75% more sugar per acre than cane sugar and use less than 1/5th of the soil nutrients and water for this production. No wonder the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the World Bank has reported coconut sugar to be the most sustainable sweetener on the planet.

Why don’’t you use soy?

Why would we?! You may see “soy lecithin” listed as an ingredient in many chocolates. It is often used as an emulsifier, that is, to make sure that the cocoa and the cocoa butter do not separate in chocolate (a natural process called “blooming”—when chocolate looks “chalky” or “powdery” on the surface. This is “blooming” happening).

Usually, soy lecithin does not affect those with soy allergies (as those who experience negative reactions when consuming soy are most often allergic to the soy protein, not the oil that is the soy lecithin).

Soy lecithin is not inherently bad- in fact, it can have many beneficial impacts, including cell protection, lowering cholesterol and even memory retention. However, it has also been cited to have some less than favorable side effects, including gastrointestinal problems, malabsorption, and low blood pressure.

But, the main reasons we don’t use soy lecithin in our chocolate bars are the following:

We don’t need it—why include it if it takes the place of any cacao and our chocolate is incredibly smooth without it?
Visually, it is so unappealing. Sure, you don’t see it when it is in your chocolate bar, but you haven’t seen it by itself. In a bowl. Rather sludge like.
So, no soy in Zimt. Soy free chocolate- for the allergies, for the purity of the cacao, and to avoid the ‘sludge’.

Why is your chocolate nut free?

We know, we know! Nuts and chocolate are a rather remarkable combination- the buttery crunch of nuts and the smooth sweetness of chocolate—kind of meant to be.

However when we first started making Zimt, we were manufacturing out of certified nut free facilities. Now, only certain nuts are processed in our kitchen, but we would still like to make sure that our products are able to be enjoyed by as many people as possible. Nut allergies and sensitivities vary between individuals, and we are committed to offering as safe of a product as possible for all. If you have a nut allergy, we suggest you buy only from nut free facilities.

If you want to experience Zimt with chocolate, here is what we recommend: get a Chocolate 80% bar, melt it in a double boiler (or, with a hair dryer), stir in some chopped nuts, set to refrigerate on parchment paper and, wow—bliss! You can also just smear a bar with peanut butter.

Does raw chocolate have fewer calories than regular chocolate?

If we are talking strictly cacao (as in, 100% dark chocolate without any sweeteners added) then 100% dark raw chocolate and 100% regular chocolate have the same number of calories. The main difference is with the sweeteners—since we use coconut sugar as our sweetener, chocolate with the same cacao content as Zimt, but using cane sugar, would not be as low in calories as Zimt. Cane sugar has about 960 calories per cup whereas coconut sugar (what we use!) has only about 720. So in that respect, Zimt would be a little lower in calories than its cane sugar counterpart.

Why don’'t you use more exotic “super foods” in your chocolate?

In the Western world, we are pretty accustomed to chocolate—we grew up around it and have, perhaps, gotten a little too used to it. Sometimes, it seems as though chocolate is rather ordinary. However, very good chocolate is anything but.

We at Zimt are committed to providing you with excellent, cacao centered chocolate- sure, we offer a variety of bars with a variety of flavour accents, but we want you to enjoy it because it is delicious chocolate! Not a powdered sea vegetable, not a magical pulverized root, not experience inducing leaves. Chocolate.

We have nothing against superfoods other than cacao- on the contrary! They can be an excellent addition to smoothies, to be taken as tinctures, and enjoyed as teas. They have some incredible effects on people that founder, Emma, has felt first hand! But, we prefer to save them for the aforementioned and to keep good chocolate pure, recognizable, and always, always delicious.

Inquiries

I have a blog and I would like to ask for samples from Zimt to review- can you please send me chocolate?

We get a tonne of product requests for this sort of endeavour. Unfortunately, our chocolate is very difficult to make, and we really still need to have some left to sell to help pay for our employees, raw materials, rent, etc… Thank you for asking and for your interest, but unless you can show us how your reviewing Zimt on your blog/social media channel will help way more people get way more chocolate, we will have to respectfully decline. But seriously, thank you for thinking of us! And absolutely the best of luck to you on getting yourself out there, too.

I am organizing a fundraiser and I would like Zimt to donate product- how can I get this done?

We get a tonne of product requests for this sort of endeavour, too! If you are working on a fundraiser to support animal rights, children’s rights, or sexual assault victim support, though, drop us a line and we will do our best to help you out. And thank you for your amazing work.

Ethics

Is your chocolate fair trade?

It is indeed. We get cacao from Ecuador and from Peru (certified fair trade by Transfair). Both sources are absolutely committed to making sure that those who harvest and process the cacao are treated as they should be- with respect and dignity (which, includes a fair pay check.)

In Ecuador, in addition to providing sufficient wages and safe working conditions, farmers are able to participate in programs to improve their lives. Such programs include providing farmers with solar powered flashlights, to avoid their having to spend money on expensive- and environmentally destructive- disposable batteries. Another program targets the lack of technology in schools and brings recycled computers into the education system.

Why are all of your products vegan?

All of our products are vegan because we want to respect other life forms as best we can—including human beings!

The United Nation’s report Lifestock’s’ Long Shadow outlines the negative effects that livestock production has on soil health, the ozone layer, water security, and the rainforest. It is a rather convincing read and will make you feel like a bit of a superhero for living a vegan lifestyle (or just choosing one vegan meal at a time).

Also, so many people feel a positive change in their health when they adopt a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle. We would love to support them in their journey towards health—a lot of chocolate out there contains dairy ingredients and having a plant based, totally vegan chocolate bar that tastes this amazing (if we may say so ourselves) is really supporting a good cause! Transitioning to a healthier lifestyle isn’t always easy, but we will always bring you tasty vegan products to make the journey a delicious one.

Finally, we are a vegan company for the animals. We won’’t go into details about what they endure to become food or to provide by-products such as dairy or eggs, but it is very safe to say that the conditions are usually horrible.

Why are all of your products organic?

Choosing organic as often as possible is so important- not only does it often taste better (here’s looking at you, bananas!), but it also has some rather powerful effects- on one’s health, the environment, and on our fellow living creatures.

Organic foods must be grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or herbicides- this means that they are free of neurotoxins, toxins that can damage the brain and nerve cells. In fact, one commonly used class of pesticides called orgaophosphates was originally developed during World War I to be used as a toxic nerve agent. Industry adapted them to kill pests on food—pesticides. Given that bit of history, it is safe to say that many people avoid non-organic, or, “conventional” foods to avoid their exposure to these chemicals.

Organic foods also do not have artificial food additives, such as preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colorings, flavourings nor monosodium glutamate (MSG). Some of these food additives, such as certain food colourings like Red No. 40, Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6 have shown to cause child hyperactivity and even ADHD. MSG has been linked to hormonal imbalances, weight gain, headaches and even brain damage. Yikes!

Environmentally speaking, organic foods are much gentler on the earth. Soil health is preserved, increasing soil biodiversity and reduces nutrient depletion, thus maintaining soil quality for future crops. As well as many other benefits, water quality is also supported by organic agriculture, as conventional agriculture contributes to chemical supplies in groundwater.

So is all “organic” food created equal?

That depends. Some organic foods may well be processed organic (grown without chemicals and made without any artificial additives), but here is why we go with organic certification:

We have our products certified organic because this contributes to their integrity. While it is pretty easy to use organic ingredients to manufacture a finished product, having a product certified organic is anything but- an independent, third party certifies the products as being organic and tracks all incoming raw materials (cacao butter, cacao powder, and coconut sugar, for example, but also all essential oils, salt, cinnamon you name it!) and all finished products made (when they were made, which ingredients went into each batch, where the end products were sold). Zimt also has to make sure that all suppliers are certified organic according to Canadian standards. Not super easy- but at least you know that, yes, the product is very, very organic!

Having a product certified organic helps to insure that there is an independent source to verify the ingredients and processes used are in fact, organic. We all know how much the term “organic” has been sought after and food manufacturers are more than keen to stamp a product with the word whenever they can. However, only certified organic products have gone through third party documented certification.

That being said, companies run by those dedicated to only creating organic products will do so regardless of organic certification- so, if you don’t see the little organic symbol on any Zimt product one day, you can still be sure that all ingredients and processing methods would be certified organic. We may just have gotten a little fed up with the certification process =)

How sustainable is your packaging?

Oh quite—our packaging is certified by the non-profit Forest Stewardship Council, meaning that the paper is guaranteed to have come from well managed forests. The forestry is practiced in an environmentally and socially way- new trees must be planted and existing forests cannot be depleted. Also, the plastic wrapper for the chocolate bars and macaroons are actually plant-based! Leave them in the compost for a few months and they will decompose.

What does it mean to donate 1% of Sales?

Zimt is very, very proud to be a donate 1% of every sale we make to worthy organizations. So, even if we don’t even make a profit off of selling, we still are committed to giving 1% of everything we sell to those who really need it. We like to focus on charities supporting women who have experienced domestic violence, as well as animals who have been abused. If you buy directly from us, know that this is the best way to donate the most to these worthy causes. We donate 1% of the sales price from what we sell, and we have to sell products to retailers and distributors for less than what they sell to you, so then less money overall gets donated. But they may donate 1% of sales, too (none that we are aware of do this…), so then you would end up even.

How do I know that the answers you gave are accurate?

Please check out the list of sources we used! If there is anything you think we are missing that we should be conveying, please let us know—we love learning at Zimt!

Magnesium

Serotonin

Soy Lecithin

Food Additives

Organics

FSC – Forward Stewardship Council