Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The Great Big Dairy Free Easter Egg Hunt 2014

Update March 2015: Find 2015's post here.

Oo! Get me! Can't believe I'm writing this post so early, but following the response to posts on the FB page about dairy free Easter eggs, it's clear that people are champing at the bit, ready for the off, so here we go...

What's in the shops??

If you're in the area for Ocado, you may want to check out their offers first, but if you're not and rely on the supermarkets near you, here's what to expect at the moment:

Well there's nothing chocolate, dairy free and Easter egg-shaped in my Asda, so far, and I'm not near a Morrisons (let me know if you are), but bless my soul! Mark's and Spencer's have finally risen to the dairy free challenge and brought out the first product in their (soon to be expanded) 'Made Without Dairy' range. It just so happens to be a chocolate Easter egg or reasonable size, which is accompanied by a chocolate bar (hidden 'round the back). 

The M & S egg

The M & S egg is £6.00. It is made with soya lecithin and is suitable for vegetarians, but sadly not for those with a nut allergy. I had to go some distance to a fairly large store to find it, hopefully, it will be in a store near you. But, if not, there's always Tesco and Sainsbury's:

So, first out this year was the 'Choices' eggs by Celtic chocolates. 

One of the Choices eggs

In stock this year at both Tesco and Sainsbury's (29p cheaper at Tesco). They're dairy free, and gluten free. You can also find them in Holland and Barrett. In Holland and Barrett they cost £4.99, but you can buy one and get another half price. Which is a good offer, if you want two (works out about £7.49, for the two)!!

They come in two sizes - the smaller one is 'white' chocolate and the larger is 'milk' chocolate with either large chocolate coins (pictured above) or caramels. Actually, there is a third choice, Holland and Barrett also sell a dark chocolate version. Sainsbury's 'own brand' Free From egg looks exactly the same, but is somewhat unimaginatively packaged in a clear plastic box. It costs £3.99. 

Speaking from personal experience, I much prefer the 'milk' chocolate version to the 'white' chocolate version, but that is perhaps due to the fact that I have fond memories of milky bars. 'Baby' with no prior experience of 'white' chocolate loves it!! (Weird, huh?) 

Sainsbury's also stock the Choices Easter bunny - again in white and 'milk' chocolate - priced £1. Holland and Barrett have them priced at £1.49. Again, you can buy one, and get one half price, at the moment. This could be a good way of 'sampling' the chocolate, to see if you like it  :)

'White' or 'Milk'. Which would you prefer?

Sainsury's is also stocking the Kinnerton egg, priced £4.99. Confusingly, it used to be the only dairy free egg that Tesco sold, but hasn't appeared there this year. This egg is perhaps the largest of the dairy free eggs that is likely to grace the shelves of the supermarkets. It's dairy, gluten, egg and nut free. It's made with dark chocolate and comes with a bar of the same.

This egg has also been spotted in Home Bargains for £1.99! It doesn't appear to be everywhere, though, so keep your eyes peeled. 

The packaging hasn't changed at all since last year!

Now, Sainsbury's are also stocking Moo Free Chocolate eggs this year, for £3.99, and that is a real departure! Up 'til now, these have only been sold by Waitrose (particularly, I find, in the stores that are situated in posh areas, like Cobham at the same price). 

Moo Free's Original 

Moo Free chocolate is like a dairy free 'milk' chocolate. The advantage of these eggs is that they are not only dairy and gluten free, they are not made of soya. The label says, 'may contain' and most people seem OK with that.

Moo Free are not in every Sainsbury's at the mo (check out the big ones), but all is not lost if you can't find them locally. Online traders, such as Love Free From and Free From for Kids will most likely be stocking them, as well as some of the Vegan online companies, such as Alternative Stores. 

Oo! The options! My Sainos, a few weeks ago! The Moo Free ones are no longer there!

Online you get the choice of two new flavours: Honeycomb and Hazelnut. (Oo! Which to choose?)  Sainsbury's and Waitrose only have the original version, so get hold of these you may have to go online, unless you have a great health food shop near you. BUT, online you pay more (£4.50 at Alternative Stores) and you have to factor in the extra costs of post and packaging as well!

Moo Free also make chocolate bunnies. They were cheapest with Love Free From last year, so it's worth shopping around!!

Meanwhile, Tesco's only other dairy free choice, apart from the same Kinnerton egg (thanks to @Sugarpuffish (on Twitter) for this - her Tesco is MUCH better than mine),  is these: 

Photo: Tesco also sell these 'Bunny Mix' Haribo. No allergens listed.
Not chocolate!
Oh, and this egg-shaped lolly (available in various colours)!

No dairy, egg or soya but 'May contain nuts'!

Ok, Haribo bunnies and lollies are definitely NOT chocolate, but could be popped inside a cardboard egg shape, should the worst come to the worst! Co-op had some of these last year too and I think Waitrose does as well. Let's face it, you can find Haribo most places, but what we really want is chocolate, right? So, on with the hunt!

Another brand that may or may not appear in a High Street near your is Montezuma's. They only have a few shops in the south of England, but their Easter eggs are now available in Holland and Barrett, for £7.99 each, or two for £11.98. They are also usually available online from Love Free From.

This year, they have smaller praline filled eggs as well, (which you can buy from Alternative Stores, priced £5.49). Mmm! I like their style. Although... I'd love it if a dairy free chocolatier tried making some dairy free 'Cream Eggs' like Cadbury's!!

Montezuma's dark chocolate is not made with any cow's milk, but 'may contain'. The dilemma with 'may contain,' of course, is that nine times out of ten you may be OK and not come across any 'traces'. However, you never can tell, so if at all sensitive please avoid - just to be on the safe side!!

If you're looking for something that's more widely available, Hotel Chocolat have shops all over the place it would seem. Their dark chocolate has always been OK with us, although, again, it 'may contain'. The only thing to watch out for, though, is that they have recently taken to mixing their dark chocolate with other flavours, that may not be dairy free, so do check carefully, when making your choice

Sadly, the Gianduja egg, that The Hub bought for me from Hotel Chocolat a couple of years ago, has vanished without a trace. Hotel Chocolat discontinued it. What's more, I haven't seen their dark chocolate Tiddly Chicks online this year, only the milk chocolate ones. Last year I thought they were rather fun! Bit of a shame that, but their chocolate sandwich eggs are back this year and I think I'm right in saying that 'Baby' has got me one of these. 'Shhh! Don't tell anyone, will you?' 'Cos she's not supposed to have told me ;) 

The Gianduja egg was all about extravagance and was such an unexpected treat from The Hub. This year, if you're looking for similar extravagance, look no further than Booja Booja! Their beautifully decorated papier mache eggs are filed with their truly delicious dairy free truffles. If they're not sold in your local health food shop, they can be bought online, but they're not cheap though! We're talking £9.99 for a small one and they really are quite small. See here.

This year, you can also buy these eggs at Holland and Barrett. They are available in two sizes, the largest of which is £24.99 or £37.48 for two. The other costs £9.99 or two for £14.98, but they only had the larger ones in the shop near me.

What if you can't have nuts or soya?? Look online!!

Plamil are a brand to look out for, if you can't have soya or nuts. Like Moo Free, although they're not made with soya, Plamil chocolates 'may contain'. But, unlike Moo Free, their chocolates are nut free. 

These were not on sale anywhere near me until Holland and Barrett suddenly started stocking them, this week, priced at £3.69. Again, you can buy one and get one free. The local health food shop might also eventually get them in, as they stocked their snowmen at Christmas. They seemed a bit reluctant to put out their Easter eggs yet, even though they already have them in! However, I think they're missing a trick, as I've already bought ours - the early bird catches the worm and all that!

Again, if you can't find them locally, look online. Various online Vegan and Free From companies stock them, but you can also obtain them direct from Plamil's own website, where you can currently get 5% off their Easter eggs at the moment (current price £3.51)!

Cute! Huh? 'Baby' loved the look of these!

I took advantage of this offer and bought an egg for packet of half eggs too (current price £4.70)! Rude not to - especially as you have to factor in post and packaging costs as well!

Another source for dairy free chocolate, that is soya free and nut free is D and D Chocolates. These are definitely soya and nut free but can only be bought online directly from the company that makes them. I bought some mini eggs from them last year for 'Baby'. They were a bit pricey (36.95 for a box), but perfect for an Easter egg hunt and a hit with 'Baby', so I've bought some more for this year!

Perfect for an egg hunt!

They stock a whole range of 'child friendly' Easter gifts. SO, if you've not been inspired so far, you may want to check them out.

Last but not least, a company called Mulu, make raw chocolate eggs. Mulu say that their chocolate eggs are dairy, soya, and refined cane sugar free. They do not contain nuts, but cannot offer a 100% guarantee that their ingredients have not come into contact with any. I've not tried this chocolate, but I know Emma, at Love Free From, stocks some of their chocolate buttons and usually sells their eggs at Easter too.

Now, you may have noticed along the way, that although some companies think a little bit more carefully about presentation, than others, none of them can really match the commercial presentation of the 'normal' Easter eggs that are out there this year. 

If, as in our case, your child is becoming more aware of the difference, you may end up doing the same as us - 'Baby' having fallen in love with Doc Mc Stuffins (just DON'T ask - the catchy jingles are responsible for a seemingly permanent ear worm), I've bought her a 'normal' Doc Mc Stuffins egg. The milk chocolate egg currently inside the packet will be ditched/donated to The Hub/chucked in the bin/whatever and substituted with a free from egg. 

Anything for a quiet life!!  ;)

Please note: Further updates to this article will be posted on our Face Book page 'Dairy Free Baby and Me' and also on Twitter @dairyfree

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  1. Hi I've just linked this post to my facebooks' .. Unfortunately in Italy we don't have any dairy-free eggs in our supermarkets (even in the big ones) but lots of dairyfree companies sell their products on line so last year I bought the Moo free chocolate egg and my son enjoyed it very much! Have a good day, serena

    1. Moo Free is a great choice! It's a shame that your supermarkets don't have the same choice. Is your dark chocolate suitable? A lot of ours could be, but often carry 'may contain' warnings or 'not suitable for nut allergy sufferers'.

      Thanks for sharing! xx

    2. This year I started giving him the dark chocolate and it was ok with allergy, but as you said, you never know what can happen with the "may contain" warning so it would definitely be safe something like the Moo free!!

  2. Hey thanks for sharing this post. It would really help in finding Dairy Free Easter products. I would like to go for this as my son loves chocolates.