Dairy free living in the UK is not easy. Gluten intolerance is widely understood and supported, but living a dairy free life is very difficult. Milk proteins creep in everywhere. You have to be very careful not to accidentally consume it. Finding a good dairy free chocolate is also very difficult. Even a lot of ‘dark’ chocolates still have some milk solids, which is just not safe for an extremely dairy intolerant child like Zac.
One of our early discoveries, after Zac’s diagnosis were the ‘Dairy Free’ branded chocolate buttons. They were relatively widely available in most supermarkets, on the ‘free from’ shelves. Sometimes we found the ‘milk chocolate’ variety and sometimes the ‘white chocolate’ variety. They were a little pricey but a nice treat for Zac, so I had no problems with grabbing a handful of packs every time we saw them.
Then just recently they disappeared from the supermarket shelves. I contacted the suppliers, Humdinger Foods and found out they were discontinuing them due to low demand. They told me they imported them from Australia and it was no longer viable as the supermarkets were also planning to launch their own brands. Fortunately after a bit of pressure they have changed their minds and are bringing them back. Great news. But it made me wonder. What is different in Australia? Is the demand much higher? Why does no-one make them here?
Zac is three and goes to lots of birthday parties. My friends are all fab and kind enough to consider him when making up party bags and so many have gone to the trouble to find the buttons. Very kind. So it is not just the mothers of intolerant children who missed them. Are you listening supermarkets???
One particular friend had to go through a dairy free phase with her children, so knows how hard it can be. She also has in laws in Australia and yesterday she knocked on my door with two bags of dairy free chocolates her family had brought over on their most recent visit. Extremely kind and thoughtful. I was very touched. Zac absolutely loves them and so do I. Thanks Kerry.
So now I am curious. I have now only come across a few brands of dairy free chocolate and most of them have come from Australia. So what is the story? Is dairy intolerance a big issue in Australia? Or do they just sub out the milk because they are such a health conscious nation and have long realised how damaging too much dairy can be? Or is just climate? By swapping out the milk does it prevent the chocolate melting so fast in the heat? I really don’t know. I am guessing. In fact I am asking. Aussie friends and Brit travellers who have been – what is the answer? Please tell me. I need to know.
By the way, the brand is Sweet William Dairy Free. Delicious. They have 25% less sugar (than what?). They are also gluten free, nut free, suitable for vegans, and Halal and Kosher approved. www.sweetwilliam.com.au
If they were available on the shelves here, I would be very happy indeed.