How should I store Zimt? Please keep your chocolate them in cool (preferably between 55°F and 70°F) conditions. This is to keep the chocolate in temper. Salted Vanilla Bean Caramel Macaroons and Drinking Chocolate Mix are also best kept below 77°F. Perishable items- please keep them in the fridge or freezer.
Are your products gluten free? Most of our products are made with gluten free ingredients, but some of our bakery items contain wheat- we rarely make these, but it is important to be aware that they are made in the same kitchen.
Are your products made in an allergen free facility? All Zimt products are made in a vegan facility! So that means, no dairy, no eggs, no honey, no animal flesh nor animal secretions. But, we do manufacture some treats made with gluten (whole wheat flour), nuts, peanuts, sesame and soy. 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 dark Zimt chocolate is made with our eighty percent (80%) cocoa content. Peppermint Nib’d, Sweet Orange Nib’d and Chocolate Nib’d bars have a slightly higher than 80% cocoa content. Our milkless varieties have a much smaller percentage, and our White Stuff base essentially can be at a zero- there is plenty of cocoa butter, but folks are generally interested in the dark chocolate content.
Can I bake with Zimt? Yes! Works great if you want to keep a recipe completely cane sugar free.
I bought Zimt at a store and it was melted/bloomed/not in optimal conditions. Can I have a refund? 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.
I bought Zimt from your online store and I would like to return it. Can I get a refund? Essentially, no- we make sure that all product leaving the facility is in great shape, and work very, very hard to keep it in good condition after it has left our doors, by packing it with great (and sometimes creative) care. We recommend purchasing chocolate during the cooler months, as it is easier to keep it in top shape during shipping.
Why is raw chocolate different from regular chocolate?
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 point of 'raw' for us is- keeping the processing as minimal as possible, while creating the best end product. We know that, if we just focus on good ingredients and solid processing, we're already miles ahead of... many. We don't need to add emulsifiers to make our chocolate taste great. We really don't need additives or fillers because our ingredients are already fantastic and are honoured through our processing of them. It isn't about the temperature for us- there is no solid definition of 'raw' as impacts of temperature vary greatly depending upon the food impacted. We don't add unnecessary ingredients, fillers, or use anything cheap- perhaps an even better version of 'raw'.
Nutrient speaking, good quality (as in, free of cane sugar, emulsifiers such as soya lecithin, and dairy products), cocoa in and of itself 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! NB: whole cacao (as in, not powder- does include cocoa butter- is high in saturated fats. If you are experiencing cardiovascular issues and high blood pressure, it may be worthwhile to speak with your healthcare provider to see if consuming additional saturated fats is safe for you- animal products are a big source of saturated fats, as well.
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), peoples 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 dairy 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 their moms (cows) in peace. 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 Zimt treats? 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.
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 fat 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 don't you use more exotic superfoods in your treats? 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.
I have a blog and I would like some samples from Zimt to review- can you please send me product? 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 of our chocolate, we will have to respectfully decline.
I am organizing a fundraiser and I would like to get a product donation from Zimt- how can I make this happen? 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.
Is your cacao 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.). 'Fair trade' certification is a huge issue, though, and we don't prioritize it- it costs farmers and processors a lot of money to maintain- money which could (and should) be going to harvesters and processors, not a certifier.
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 Livestock’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 isnt 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. Our stickers are also biodegradable, as are our bags for our drinking chocolate and baking chocolate.
How do I know 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!