I just found out it is National Chocolate Week. I’d never heard of this before but I think it is something I should participate in! I don’t know about you but when it is dark and wet outside I’m way more likely to cave into a chocolate craving than any other time of year. Unlike my intolerant child, I don’t have to eat dairy free chocolate but I do prefer it now – and so we will be celebrating this special occasion along with all the other chocoholics out there, and so can you.
Most of the dairy free chocolate brands and products are way more delicious in my opinion. They tend to have a higher cocoa content and have a much stronger flavour and are very satisfying. They also tend to be more expensive and a bit harder to find but once you know where to look and more importantly how to ‘work’ with them – you will no longer feel hard done by and can start to really enjoy chocolate without milk.
Here’s a few easy recipes which I hope will prove that a dairy free life is not a chocolate free life and is absolutely not a flavour free life.
So where to buy? Most of the ‘big’ supermarkets sell dairy free chocolate within their Free From sections. One of Zac’s favourites is Moo Free – their chocolate drops are great for a treat but also useful for making chocolate chip cookies or as a topping. They are also make cute little chocolate bars in a variety of flavours – Mini Moos. The one with honeycomb is a lot like a Crunchie…Just remember to brush your teeth very soon after – the honeycomb bits are very sticky!
Celtic Chocolates have expanded their range recently and are mostly stocked in Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. They make chocolate bars and buttons and have started on novelties too like Easter Eggs and most importantly at this time of year – advent calendars. Watch out for them. I imagine they will be instore any day now and you can bet they will sell out fast. Zac’s absolute favourites are their ‘Choices Caramels’. I love them too. They are very expensive but a real treat. I use them as his ‘reward’ for being a brave boy before hospital appointments!
Kinnerton also make a really nice large bar of dairy free chocolate and fun character branded chocolate lollipops. They make ‘normal’ chocolate too, so be sure to double check the label. It is not impossible for the non dairy free ones to end up on the wrong shelf in the supermarket as they look exactly the same. The Kinnerton bar, in my opinion, is delicious and great just to nibble on when you need a cocoa hit but it also melts very well and is my favourite when I am making brownies.
Green and Blacks make a fantastic dairy free cocoa powder which is widely available among ‘normal’ cocoa and cooking ingredients. It is very useful for making chocolate sponge cakes etc. Many of the supermarkets sell packets of ‘white’ chocolate buttons which are also great for ‘treats’ and cake decorating. I believe their ‘whiteness’ is taken from the cocoa butter. Just beware, as delicious as they are they are also very high in sugar.
One of our ultimate favourite discoveries is dairy free chocolate raisins. These are also great for snacking but really delicious for baking with. I add a packet to my banana loaf and they give such a lovely chocolatey taste to the cake and help with the moisture. The brand we have found is Fabulous Free From Factory Dairy Free Chocovered Raisins. They are usually around £1.75 a pack and are high in sugar because of the ‘chocolate’ and the raisins, so probably best as an occasional treat.
If you have no luck finding these products in supermarkets it is worth checking health food stores such as Holland and Barrett and the big stores own websites. I have also found Ocado has a good range and here are some independent websites out there such as:
And I have recently discovered Amazon has a good range too and already have the advent calendars in stock. Who’d have thought…
Happy Chocolate week everybody x