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.
Finding good quality dairy free chocolate is not easy. The supermarkets can be a let-down and (the ones I visit) never seem to have much in. Waitrose seems to be the only place I can buy Moo Free http://www.moofreechocolates.com/chocolate drops and these are a great favourite of ours. A lovely treat and great for use in baking.
Recently I found out about Love Lactose Free Life – a website, selling dairy free goodies. www.lovelactosefreelife.co.uk
This week I placed my first order and was very pleased with the results. I was able to find the full range of Moo Free chocolates, not just the drops but the new little chocolate bars too. I was also able to find two brands that I had heard of but never seen instore – Plamil http://www.plamilfoods.co.uk/ and Mulu http://www.muluchocolate.co.uk/. So purely in the name of research (ahem!) I decided to order a few bits.
Booja Booja http://www.boojabooja.com/ chocolates are also available, but they look a bit like a ‘grown up’ special occasion treat and so I decided just to stick to the ones I knew I could make use of and be sure that Zac would enjoy too.
I also noticed that I could buy cookbooks – The Intolerant Gourmet by Pippa Kendrick and a two of Grace Cheethams books. I had seen the Pippa Kendrick book in my local Waitrose a while ago and nearly bought it. It looked beautiful but at £20 I thought it was a bit of a hefty price tag. Love Lactose Free Life sells it for just £12.99 – so I ordered one of those too.
When you have a child with food intolerances and allergies, it is always essential to pack a large bag of food, snacks and treats for long journeys and days out. You know that you cannot ever rely on being able to just pick something up whilst out and about.
As we are on holiday, staying with my parents in Christchurch – we have tried to get out lots and have some adventures – despite the rain. Every time we plan a little trip, I probably spend half an hour planning and packing a little lunch box full of sandwiches and snacks, which are intended to last the day. Often he is tucking into them before we have pulled off the drive, so I have now also learned it is useful to have a secret reserve stash in a different bag.
Obviously, I try and make sure it is a healthy variety of dairy free, gluten free sandwiches, lots of fruit, an Alpro soya yoghurt, some raisins and perhaps some home made cakes – but sometimes the boy just wants some treats. And let’s face it, he has a pretty healthy diet anyway, as his allergies and intolerances prevent him from eating junk and processed foods.
Since becoming 100% dairy free and gluten free, we have tried many, many different ‘free from’ cakes and biscuits and I am rather proud to say Zac seems to prefer my home made efforts. However, there are a few shop bought brands that he also loves – I have listed them below.
Sainsbury’s seems to stock the widest variety but not all of them are in every day, so you may have to try Goodness Direct or go straight to the manufacturers, if any of these take your fancy. None of them are cheap but they bring a smile to Zac’s face whenever I produce them from ‘my secret’ treats bag and that makes it all worth while to me.
Orgran Gluten Free Kids Mini Outback Animals chocolate cookies –
These come in mini packs of eight and are great for lunch box treats.
Snack a Jacks – Zac loves the caramel flavour for when he wants ‘something a bit sweetie’ and the loves the salt and vinegar for when he wants ‘something a bit crunchy’.
However, be sure to read the ingredients. The large caramel ones appear to be safe, but the individual packs with mini ones, have milk listed in the ingredients. So always check and check again!
Corn chips – supermarket own brand ones tend to the best as they are just made from corn. Other brands have wheat and milk listed in the ingredients and should be avoided. These are always easy to find, among ‘normal’ crisps and are not expensive. Just remember to stick to the golden rule always check the label every time you buy, as the ingredients could change and often do, at any time.
Dietary Specials breadsticks
Dietary Specials make a large variety of gluten free and wheat free food, but not all foods are dairy free so always read the ingredients list, just in case some milk has crept in.
Fabulous Free From Factory Chocolate Raisins
These are delicious – but just remember not to have too many, as too many raisins can make an already sensitive tummy, somewhat lively shall we say!
Moo Free chocolate drops
We have tried many of the supermarket own brand ‘free from’ chocolate buttons and they are all good, but these are by far the most yummy in Zac’s opinion. They melt well in cooking and make a great ice cream or cake decorating ‘treat’. Cute packaging too.
Lovemore Jammy Wheels
Very few biscuits on the free from shelves are dairy free, as well as gluten free. These are Zac’s favourites. He calls them ‘biscuit pies’. I have only ever seen them in Waitrose and at the moment they only appear to be available online. But worth a try as they are very jammy – but also very crumbly, so be warned! Not a good biscuit to take out in the car or to someone’s house, or you could be reaching the for the hand vac within minutes!
I could go on and on, but this is our list of favourites. As you will see from these links, these manufacturers make a wide variety of other suitable snacks that we have not mentioned – but that is just because we have not tried them yet and not because we don’t like them. I am sure, in time, we will have worked our way through them all!