Thursday, 23 February 2012

On the trail of the Dairy Free Easter Bunny!

The Hub has made it easy for me this year (not that he's dairy free anyway). 'Don't buy me anything,' he said (having left his eggs of previous years gloriously uneaten). Baby, however, has already caused me problems by diving on tubs of creme eggs, left (quite negligently, in my opinion) within her reach in the aisles of the supermarkets or by grabbing chocolate bunnies from the shelves. She clearly has her eyes on the prize - chocolate!! 

No one has had to teach Baby, funnily enough, how to enjoy chocolate - she just does! Neither has anyone had to teach her how to spot it in the supermarket - she just can -even when it's disguised as a brightly coloured bunny!! What she doesn't yet know, though, is how to tell apart the chocolate she's allowed from the chocolate that would make her feel bad. And is it just  me, or have you also noticed that the big stores have been selling Easter Eggs since Christmas? So much temptation in Baby's way, whenever we go to the supermarket! 

Last year it wasn't so bad - Baby was in ignorant bliss of the chocolate lined shelves and was quite happy with the big fluffy bunny that Granny gave her... as well as the odd morsel of dairy free chocolate that she filched from me, but this year... Thinking that (come Easter) Baby might like an Easter Egg of her own, I've been desperately scanning the shelves at Tescos for weeks now - looking for the dairy free egg they stocked last year, right alongside all the others. 

It was almost unique in the dairy free Easter Egg world for being the nearest thing to a milk chocolate egg that (even if it was a bit on the small side) looked 'normal'. The reason I've been keeping my eyes open, is that last year (not surprisingly) it disappeared quickly from their shelves. However, this year it has been disappointingly absent... so far! Thankfully, should it not appear on the shelves, there are some other options!

Speciality Chocolate 
A lot of speciality chocolate makers also make chocolate that is Vegan and therefore dairy free but the chocolate they produce tends to be dark chocolate.

The prize for the most extravagant should almost certainly be awarded to Hotel Chocolat for their Gianduja  egg. Thankfully they also produce a smaller cheaper version as well as some Dark Chocolate Tiddly Chicks which are cute! These are all marked as Vegan.

Cocoa Loco - makers of organic chocolate, who produce Vegan and dairy free chocolate as part of their range. Look out for their dark chocolate bunny lollies.

Montezumas - apparently one of the Guardian's Top Ten ethical traders, they produce 'Traded Fairly' chocolate, some of which is also Vegan.

 Produce dark chocolate slabs, but not eggs unfortunately. Definitely aimed at the discerning customer, you may think that they're very expensive (for what you get) but then you are buying artisan chocolate! These are available from Waitrose. 

Dairy Free Easter Eggs Online
Chocolate makers that solely produce dairy free chocolate do exist. Not always quite so widely available, but obtainable online, these often produce a chocolate which is more like milk chocolate.

Moo Free chocolate prides itself on being organic. I've read reviews that rate this chocolate quite highly. In my opinion, it is quite similar to milk chocolate but is a bit sugary for my liking. 

D & D Chocolates also seem to produce a 'milk' chocolate. I've not personally tried these. Their selection offers eggs of various sizes, from the bunny hunt variety to the larger boxed version.

Siesta Carob produce a pack of small hollow eggs which are available from Goodness Direct (who sell quite a range of different options, some of which have been featured here).

Perhaps the most decadent looking of the dairy free options, and certainly the most exquisitely packaged, are Booja Booja's  truffle-filled papier-mache eggs. These can be bought online, but their website can also direct you to your nearest stockist. They are organic but be warned - they aren't that big and are quite a pricey option!

If you're interested in investigating some of these options, then it could be worth taking a look at Animal Aid - which is basically an online Vegan shop. 

Dairy Free Easter Eggs at the Supermarkets
There are not many options in this category, but there are a few!

Celtic Chocolate's Easter Egg is available at Ocado and Waitrose and is made of dark chocolate. It's fine, if you like dark chocolate, but the packaging is a bit uninspiring - although you could buy one of these as well as a 'normal' Easter egg in more interesting packaging and do a swap!

Sainsbury's Free From Easter Egg is also dark chocolate (it's not on their website unfortunately). Not that attractively packaged in my opinion! I'd want to sprinkle some (tasteful) spring daisy stickers all over it.

Humdinger's Dairy Free Easter Bunny milk chocolate bar (not an egg unfortunately) really is an Easter Bunny - if a little on the flat side! It is another milk chocolate alternative. It was available from Sainsbury's last year and is apparently also being sold at Waitrose this year.

'May contain traces of milk'
Available at supermarkets and therefore fairy easily obtainable. These are suitable for those that are comfortable with the fact that a minuscule amount of milk may find it's way into the chocolate, during production.

The dark chocolate bunny!
Divine - chocolate manufacturers that pride themselves on their fair trade credentials. They produce some dark chocolate eggs which may be suitable for you.

Green and Black's  Also produce dark chocolate eggs. They pride themselves on producing organic chocolate that also now bears the fair trade logo. Their 'Maya Gold' is Vegan and therefore guaranteed Dairy Free!

Lindt dark chocolate bunnies - spotted in Waitrose only, so far! Watch out, 'cos it looks very similar to the other bunnies. You'll know it's the right one, if you pick up the one with the dark brown ribbon.

Feeling the pinch or feeling creative?
It's not always cheaper to make your own, but in this case, it may pay - as dairy free options are not cheap! If you need any ideas on this score, look out I'll be addressing this one shortly, in the meantime...

Whatever most appeals to you, I hope you can find at least one helpful suggestion here and that you truly do have a most enjoyable and blessed Easter.

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