For vegans who have tolerated the subpar taste of carob as a substitute for chocolate, Micah Intrator of Chocolate Therapie in Chapel Hill has done the unimaginable: Made an organic, raw, vegan and gluten-free chocolate that is delicious.
Take the ingredients of the Superfood Almond Butter Chocolate Chunk, a crowd favorite: cacao paste and nibs; coconut oil, nectar and sugar; almond butter, maca, chia seeds, camu camu berry powder, cinnamon, vanilla beans and Himalayan crystal salt.
Maca is a plant native to Peru that is used as a root vegetable and a medicinal herb (and, according to Wikipedia, allegedly an aphrodisiac). Camu camu is a Brazilian fruit packed with Vitamin C and amino acids.
The confections must work: Intrator looks lean and robust, the kind of guy who probably has a resting heart rate of 50.
You can order online at chocolatetherapie.weebly.com, or if you want to be instantly gratified, buy Intrator's wares at Merritt's Store & Grill (1009 S. Columbia St., Chapel Hill) and the Saxapahaw General Store (1735 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road).
If your idea of time well-spent is staring into a candy case, then head over to Parker and Otis (112 S. Duke St., Durham, 919-683-3200, parkerandotis.com) and Southern Season (201 S. Estes Drive, Chapel Hill, 919-929-7133, southernseason.com), where the chocolate practically begs to be taken home.
If you want to read about what you're eating by the pound, The True History of Chocolate includes history and anecdotes, while The Science of Chocolate contains, you guessed, science. The Chocolate Bible is not made of chocolate (but if it were, I'd take the Book of Psalms; it's long), but this coffeetable cookbook is packed with tons of recipes. However, the recipes are not for beginners. The Great Book of Chocolate is colorful—and an easy read.