Living with a restricted diet doesn't mean you have to give up the most wonderful of treats: chocolate I have a pretty strong sweet tooth and love chocolate something fierce. And while I grew up enjoying the finest Mr. Cadbury had to offer (wispa was always my favorite), I was worried that turning dairy-free would seriously affect my choc habit. Luckily, I've done a bit of recon this past couple of years while living in London, and have come up with a nice little list of dairy-free chocolate bars available. Some of these are also available in the States, and I'm sure there are way more as well that I don't even know about. But we're sticking to this side of the Atlantic for the purposes of this post. I hope any other dairy-free Brits reading this will find it useful. Obviously, they are all dark chocolate - which I hope isn't a major problem!
By the way, the inspiration for writing about chocolate comes from reading a book for my food writing course, the chocolate connoisseur. If you think you know everything about chocolate, you're wrong. Chloe almost certainly knows far more than you.
Most of these are also vegan, naturally, as they don't contain any dairy - but some of them aren't labelled as such, just in case of any cross-contamination with equipment where milk chocolate is made. Fun fact!
Okay, on to the list...
I'm sure most people are familiar with the brand, but did you know about their recent change in ingredients? They have taken away their 'vegan' label, as they had to add whole milk powder to the ingredients list on their dark chocolate. But this isn't technically the case - as i've mentioned before, this is simply because they make their milk chocolate bars on the same production equipment as the dark stuff. Traces of milk may make their way into all their products, thereby requiring a label change. I avoided their chocolate until reading about this fact - so feel free to tuck into any of the following bars:
- maya gold
- hazelnut & currant
- dark 70%
- dark 85%
A complete classic that's been around for over 150 years - with a legacy like that, you know it has to be pretty good. I just found a new bar by Lindt at the supermarket today with SEA SALT. That's pretty exciting. I loooove salt + dark chocolate. Don't knock it until you try it. But anyway, there are tons of options from Lindt - mostly from their 'excellence' range. Try any of these varieties:
- 99% (the only company that makes 99% according to chloe!)
- orange intense*
- mint intense*
- dark roasted almond*
- coffee intense*
- a touch of sea salt*
This is a wonderful British company producing fabulous chocolates from the seaside town of Brighton. The owners, Helen and Simon Pattinson, are proud of the fact that all of their sweets are fairtrade and many of them are vegan. As well as the bars listed below, check out some of their vegan truffles. I've seen their stuff for sale in lots of random shops and supermarkets, and they have 5 branded stores in and around Southern England.
- papua new guinea dark
- very dark 73%
- ecuador dark
- dark chocolate with orange & geranium
- dark chocolate chilli
- peru 70% cocoa
Another fairtrade company that is completely transparent about where their cocoa and other ingredients come from. There is a boatload of information on their website - and lots of friendly faces. And the good news is, they've just made their products available in the USA, Canada, Sweden, Norway, and Holland. Hooray the Dutch! Enjoy the following bars without fear:
- 70% dark
- mint 70% dark
- dark chocolate with fruit and nut*
- dark chocolate with raspberries
We are talking specifically here about a very English chocolate bar, fry's chocolate cream. Would you think that something with 'cream' in the title would be suitable for a dairy-free diet? Me neither. But it's true! 100% vegan and 100% amazing. If you can find this available in your local newsagents, be prepared for a new addiction. (Also available in orange and peppermint flavors - double yikes!)
Oh yes. THOSE after eights. How fun are After Eights? They always make me think of a dinner party, and everyone's sitting around the table after the main meal, bellies full, wine glasses almost empty, and then a box of these chocolates appear. Just try and resist grabbing one of the little black paper pouches! I remember loving them as a kid and am so happy they still exist today. Bring a box to your next dinner party - it's not passe, it's retro! And again - completely vegan :)
I was fortunate enough to visit Phil's family for Christmas this year - and totally scored when I got not one but TWO boxes of bendicks mint collection. They have one that is just like an After Eight, but round. And then a crispy minty chocolate. And something resembling a york peppermint patty. These are special occasion chocolates, really nice and refreshing though, and totally indulgent. They also have chocolate gingers. I'm going to have to track these little devils down.
For a decadent chocolate spree, visit Paul A Young in London and be prepared to drop some serious cash. Everything is handmade and you will literally feel like a kid in a candy store (only, grownup and fancy) walking in. They make a reallllllly nice dark chocolate with sea salt. I won't list all the available items here - the sales assistants working in the shops always seem to be really friendly and helpful. Just ask them which chocolates are dairy-free and they'll produce a list for you. Love that.
Okay, one just for the Americans: junior mints
Just classic and available everywhere. I pretty much lost it when I realized they're dairy-free. Such a nice surprise :)
* These products contain butterfat. It has never been a problem for me, because the amount of lactose in butterfat seems to be quite low. However, if you have a milk allergy or are intolerant to other aspects of milk besides lactose, then these products may not be okay for you.