Most ‘celebrations’ or ‘holidays’ or gatherings or whatever you call them are a headache for the parent of an allergic child. None more so than Easter – because everywhere you look there are more cakes and chocolates and confections than ever just screaming at you to buy them.
Zac is very used to walking past the groaning supermarket shelves and pays them very little attention. It is a testament to his character that my child is probably one of the only four year olds in the country who can walk down the ‘sweetie’ aisle and cake aisle in the supermarket and remain totally unmoved and disinterested by what he sees there. He rushes past all the ‘normal’ stuff and head for his special place – no more than a few short shelves in our local supermarkets.
In the run up to Easter it was no different. Our local Tesco had nothing special in for Easter and rarely stocks more than a handful of packets of dairy free buttons, so we rarely shop there – I have been particularly anti-Tesco since they delisted the Black Farmer sausages!
Anyway, last year there were a few dairy free Easter confections in some of the supermarkets but they sold out so fast we missed out completely and I ended up making my own Easter eggs for him, by melting down bars and bars of the Kinnerton dairy free dark chocolate and pouring it into egg moulds to set in the fridge. This year, I started looking out for them much earlier and was pleased to see our local Waitrose was stocking the Moo Free Bunny Bars. Week after week I went back – but that was it. Surprising as they stock Montezuma and Green and Blacks – both ‘high end’ dark chocolate brands. Thought they might have created something!
Sainsbury’s, in my experience, is the best bet for a good selection of Free From foods and this is where I struck gold. They had 3 or 4 different kinds on their shelves, so I bought one of each. Only the Choices White Easter Egg and the Moo Free Easter Egg were obviously aimed at children. Smaller in size with cartoonish packaging. They also stocked their own brand one all wrapped up in nice yellow cellophane and the Kinnerton one – probably the best value as it was a very large egg that also came with a lovely full size bar of their ‘Luxury Dark chocolate’. Definitely one you could happily present to a ‘dairy free’ adult but equally appealing to a child thanks to the sheer size and shiny-ness!
The bigger ones were all around the £4 mark which is about the same as some of the really big ‘normal’ eggs in the supermarket and in my opinion far superior. I am a bit dairy intolerant and have come to much prefer the Kinnerton dark chocolate to anything else out there – even Dairy Milk or Galaxy and never did I ever think I would say that. The bars are great to have in the cupboard for some dairy free baking and of course the odd cheeky treat for me and my ‘dairy free kid’. And as the dietician recently told me dark chocolate is a source of iron, so I don’t feel so bad that he misses out on the ‘junk’ chocolate that is so low in cocoa that our French and Swiss chocolate gourmet cousins don’t even regard it to be ‘real’.
My other seasonal chocolate saviour is http://www.lovelactosefreelife.co.uk/Great website for all dairy free kids out there – big or small. This website has the full Moo Free range including the Mini Moo bars, which Zac loves and the ever elusive Dairy Free White Chocolate buttons, that were also delisted by Tesco for a while. They had a lovely range of Easter eggs and I bought several, as we also had two Easter Egg Hunts coming up and I didn’t want him to miss out.
Which goes back to my point. It is not just the chocolate it is the whole Easter thing. These days Easter Egg Hunts seem more popular than ever and our local pre-school has an Easter Egg Hunt organised by the committee that takes place in the village. As the chair of the committee I am heavily involved in the organising and am always amazed at the skill and generosity of the local baking mum’s who donate boxes and boxes of home made cakes and masterpieces for us to sell at the village hall to raise funds.
This year was no different, I wish I had taken a picture – because the array of cupcakes, big cakes, tray bakes and Easter biscuits and Easter nest cakes etc was something Mary Berry would have been proud of. As usual I had offered to make some cakes too but always offer to bring something for Zac and just in case anyone else needs a dairy free gluten free something. We always do a few bags of ‘non chocolate’ prizes but not many people have ever asked if we do dairy free, gluten free cakes and I think that is because when you are in this situation your expectations and are low and you just bring your own.
I made my banana loaf with added chocolate raisins. I also made dairy free chocolate gluten free corn flake cakes for the first time. I took them with me, but have to confess I was too embarrassed to get them out of the box. They tasted great, but my presentation is nothing compared to the others, so I just made it known to people that ‘options were available’. Since starting this blog I have been very open about my dislike of baking and the fact I don’t even like cakes – I am not sure if women are supposed to admit this, but there you have it. I am ‘out’ – cupcakes do nothing for me! So probably because I don’t put the same love into it as the others, the result never looks the same – but I have been told, my stuff always tastes good and of course my biggest fan is Zac – and that’s who I am doing it for anyway.
I am happy to report he loved his chocolate corn flake cakes and some of the banana loaf was eaten by our wider family when we got home from what was an exhausting and snowy Easter Egg hunt. So my efforts weren’t wasted.
When Easter finally came around a week later, I knew my shopping efforts had definitely been worthwhile, as he was absolutely thrilled on Easter Sunday to receive the same number of boxed Easter Eggs as his sister and cousins. So despite last year being a bit of a flop, Easter need not be a disappointment or another occasion to feel left out of for a dairy free kid – or parent. Thanks to the nice people at Kinnerton, Moo Free, Choices, LoveLactoseFreeLife and all the other manufacturers and suppliers of dairy free chocolate my little boy got as mucky as any other 4 year old on Easter Sunday – and a week later he is still working his way through them!