Chocolate as health food

Brooklyn Daily
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This couple has just the thing for the lactose-intolerant, nut-allergic, vegan chocoholic in your life!

The husband-and-wife Brighton Beach chocolatiers behind Brooklyn Dark — a dairy-free, organic chocolate company — have treats that everyone can eat up this holiday season. Brooklyn Dark’s treats are made with dark chocolate and hemp seeds, and without common allergens like gluten and nuts.

“Our goal is to be the healthiest chocolate in the world right now — and the tastiest, obviously,” said Lev Kelman, who started the company with his wife, Lori Denman, three years ago. “If you have someone vegan in your family and you don’t know what to give them, this is the perfect gift. If you know someone who wants to be healthy, this is the perfect choice.”

The chocolates are made with hemp seeds and high concentrations of cacao beans, which Kelman said offers a rich taste that allows the couple to use less sugar and fat. Kelman said Brooklyn Dark is the first company to use hemp seeds as a standard ingredient — and he said the small seeds pack a mighty punch.

“Hemp seed is what truly sets each of our Brooklyn Dark products apart — not only in taste and texture, but for health benefits as well,” said Kelman. “Hemp seeds are a nearly perfect food source. They contain digestible protein, healthy Omega fatty acids, and naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.”

The chocolate flavors include classic hemp, orange silk, open sesame, Moroccan spice. The company’s newest flavor is Pop Star, which contains popcorn. Kelman said he created the crunchy flavor to entice folks who are new to cacao-heavy dark chocolate.

“It could introduce other people to higher-content chocolate, like ‘Oh, it is popcorn,’ ” he said. “This is enticing people to try something they’d never try anytime else.”

Kelman said the organic ingredients can even offer women relief for premenstrual syndrome.

“The change during the time, women lose a lot of metal. Magnesium and hemp helps regulate that,” he said.

But the chocolate isn’t gender specific. Denman said residents who try the chocolate will enjoy it so much, they’ll want to share it with their friends.

“It is also a good regulator of mood,” said Denman. “It is a gift and re-gift.”

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at or by calling (718) 260–4507. Follow her
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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