Allergy free chocolate at the Chocolate Show

May contain traces of milk. Made in a factory that also handles nuts. Manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts.

People with food allergies are used to reading such precautionary allergen labelling (PAL) on their foods, but chocolate is particularly renowned for it. As you may know, if dark / vegan chocolate is manufactured on a line that previously ran milk chocolate, even scrupulous cleaning may not be sufficient to prevent trace cross-contamination, and a manufacturer will almost certainly add a PAL to the wrapper.

Allergy free chocolate, then, is tough to find. Yesterday I took myself down to the Chocolate Show in Olympia (tough work etc) to see what was available. Naturally, I came across a lot of PALs - not only for milk, gluten, soya, peanuts and nuts, but also sesame and sulphites. I did, though, find three very good brands.

Pacari Chocolate
This is an organic and fair-trade brand of chocolate from Ecuador, producing premium dark chocolate, dark chocolate covered fruit and coffee beans, raw cacao powder, raw chocolate and much more. They do not use milk, peanuts or nuts - and yet, as I was told by their UK & Ireland representative Juan Andres, PAL warnings for these allergens are required by Ecuadorean law before export of the products is permitted. I was reassured that, in fact, all Pacari products are allergen-free. Frustrating, isn't it, and you wonder how many other exports are in fact safe despite PAL warnings. UK site here.

Raiz the Bar
Chocolate from Hong Kong, surprisingly enough, which is free of all allergens and PALs. They use a genuinely low temperature method of production to ensure their 'bean to bar' products are unarguably raw, and are certified organic, paleo, parve and vegan. Flavoured varieties include raspberry rose acai, wild blueberry lavender and orange white mulberry. In the UK, it's available from The Chocolatier. The Hong Kong site is here.

Based in Lincolnshire, this is a small-scale producer of bean-to-bar chocolate - they import and produce from unroasted beans, sourced from central and south America - which uses only milk in some of its products, has a nut-free factory and is free from all other allergens. One of the team told me they used to use soya lecithin, but switched to sunflower lecithin - which is an easy swap so many more producers of chocolate (and other foods) could make, in order to reduce the numbers of allergens used. Check out their site here.

If you know of other chocolate with good allergen-free attributes, let me know in the comments.

You'll also find other allergen-free chocolate brands - such as Ayni and IQ - in the regularly updated 'Allergen Free Foods' article.

For more about the Chocolate Show, click here.

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