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A blog about all things allergen-free and delicious


The Best Allergen-free Chocolate

Since I am a chocolaholic, I will always be on the lookout for the best chocolate for baking, cooking, eating and giving.  Here is a start to my list.  I'll keep adding to it and letting you know what else I find out!


Cooking, Baking & Confections

Barry Callebaut - North America - DARK CHOCOLATE

  • Dairy Free (processed on a dedicated dairy-free, dark chocolate North American factory line & tested for milk.)
  • Kosher
  • Vegan (no animal products are processed on their dark chocolate line)
  • Contains small amounts of soy (soy lecithin is used for consistency)
  • GMO Status?  Currently Unknown.
  • **May be OK for gluten and nut allergies (currently, nuts and gluten products are not processed in the North American Factory, however, there is no testing for this at the moment.  Some European factories do process nuts). **If you have nut and gluten allergies, please do your own research
  • Used by confection makers, restaurants and bakers world-wide


Check out Tender Palate's recips for Almond Cognac Truffles (contains nuts) & for our Coconut Truffles (dairy-free) using Callebaut.



Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

& Bittersweet Chunks

  • Free of the 8 most common allergens (NO wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish, or shellfish. Also made without casein, potato, sesame or sulfites).
  • Nut-free (tested and produced in a dedicated nut-free and gluten-free facility)
  • Gluten-free  (tested and produced in a dedicated nut-free and gluten-free facility)
  • **Dairy-free (tested)
  • **Soy-free (tested)
  • **(produced in a facility that also processes dairy and soy, but produced on a dedicated dairy-and soy-free line.  Ingredients have been additionally tested for the presence of dairy and soy)
  • GMO status?  Currently unknown.



Giving & Eating

Indie Candy 

Indie Candy makes allergen-free confections for Tender Foodies of all kinds.  They offer selections that are:

  • Gluten-free
  • Dairy-free
  • Soy-free
  • Nut-free
  • Kosher
  • Vegan
  • Feingold Diet Approved

Check out what The Tender Foodie has to say about Indie Candy in our Review.




If Chocolate Were the Perfect Man, Would He Be Dairy-free?



XOXO, Love, Chocolate.


I love chocolate.  So much so, that when I was a kid my mother used to hide the chocolate chips from me.  If she didn’t, she could never find any in the house when she wanted to bake.  I had already eaten them.  She hid that yellow bag of semi-sweet morsels in the most unlikely places, too -- the china cabinet, the back of the coat closet, the piano bench…  I would always (I mean always) find them.  One day my “choco-dar” led me to a little fire safe in the basement.  I knew they were in there (and they were indeed).   So I sat for an hour pondering potential combinations.  I summoned all of my magic powers, “If I believe I can open this safe, I can.  I will. I will”.  A chocoholic I am, a safecracker, not so much. 


When I found out that my adult dairy allergies would limit the kinds of chocolate I would be able to eat, I went through a period of denial.  Those “traces” of dairy wouldn’t really harm me, would they?  My own body finally forced my illusions to hit the reality fan.  I realized that this secret romance with the forbidden was over.  Until I met Barry Callebaut.


Barry Callebaut, Je T’aime


Valentine’s Day always makes me think of chocolate.  And of love.  And making truffles.  This year I was determined to finally find the perfect high quality dairy-free chocolate for these little confections.  And during my search, I spoke to the very charming and intelligent folks at Callebaut, a chocolate manufacturer based in Zurich, Switzerland.  They have factories in 26 countries and are the only chocolate manufacturer in North America with a dedicated, dairy-free dark chocolate line.  They test for it, too.  While they do not produce gluten or nut products in this factory, they also do not yet test for the presence of those allergens (so do your own research).  They are, however, considering additional allergen-testing, so they can serve a larger Tender Foodie market.   As for soy, there are small amounts of soy lecithin in Callebaut chocolate used to give the chocolate the best consistency. 

Before I called Callebaut, I asked myself the question… what is the perfect chocolate, anyway?  Is it anything like the “perfect man”?  I’ve made many mistakes in my love affair with chocolate.  So I wondered . . .


If chocolate were the “perfect man”, what would he say?

 (And maybe, just maybe could “he” even have a little French accent?) 


Mon Petit Bonbon,


You are the most interesting and wonderful woman I have ever met (I like him already).   I want to learn all about you and satisfy your every need...  I will not drink milk because you cannot.  If you need me to be Vegan, I am yours.  I’ll live and travel only to places that are gluten-free… so mon cher, you can have me anywhere.


Don’t worry, my love, I’ll protect you.  I got tested.  And if religion is important to you, I can even become Kosher. 


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to change “who” I am.  I am chocolate.  I respect my home, the rainforest, and the knowledge of the farmers who raised me.  If you were looking for a cheap roll in the hay, you would not be the one.  I need a woman who appreciates my finer qualities.  And you do.


I am a little naughty, you know.  And so are you, my little vixen, especially when you are with me.  But I have the beans to be faithful. I will not let any GMOs, politicians, or biotech powerhouses get into my pants.   


And now, I must tell you something that you may not want to hear.  I am not really an aphrodisiac.  Please don’t be disappointed.  I am not perfect.  I am only a food.  But we are meant for each other.  My serotonin-making tryptophan will increase your desire and my phenylethylamine will make you will fall in love with me over and over again.  I promise.  Each time we are together, we will keep it real so that you have as many anti-oxidants as I can give to you.  Especially when we turn out the lights. And when you unwrap every ounce of me and it’s dark.  Very, very dark.


My final promise:  I am good for both your brain and your heart – you don’t have to choose.  And when I melt in your mouth, your passion will last four times longer than if I had simply, lustfully kissed you. 


Ah, mon cherie, until I melt in your mouth again…


Xoxo, Love,



 My Dairy-Free Picks for Making Candy & Baking

  I suppose, there is no such thing as the perfect man.  And if the perfect man existed, would we like him?  I’m not so sure that we would.  I was afraid this would also be true for the perfect allergen-free chocolate.  Perfect isn’t always very interesting or very good.  But when it comes to food – being perfect often means that the quality, texture and taste is sooooo, so very much better.  And in the case of chocolate, being perfect in the hands of the experts is a very good thing. 



Barry Callebaut

Bittersweet / Dark Chocolate

  • Dairy-free in North America


Enjoy Life

Semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Dairy-free
  • Nut-free
  • Soy-free
  • Gluten-free


Click here for the allergen-free chocolates that are the best for baking, candy-making and giving.






Are Oats Gluten Free?

ARE OATS GLUTEN-FREE? It depends. Oats do not naturally contain gluten. However, they contain a protein called "avenin" to which many folks (especially those with Celiac disease) are sensitive. Oats can be dusted with wheat flour at the factory. And can also be contaminated on the farm.  Wheat & oats often are planted in rotation on the same land, causing cross-contact.  If you are able to have oats, get the gluten-free kind.  But introduce oats carefully and mindfully if you have a gluten allergy.
Bob's Red MIll has a great blog post about this.  Read on!




Review: Indie Candy


Allergen-Free Sweets for Your Valentine

Having a tough time finding the perfect sweet for your favorite Tender Sweetie? You can pull out all of the stops and make your own, or order from a professional like Indie Candy. Most of their sweets contain none of the “Big 8” allergens. Plus, they cater to special diet protocols (like Feingold, Kosher and Vegan). You would think this is a recipe for crappy candy, but it’s not. It’s tasty. I sampled a few of their Valentine-themed products for you. You don’t have to thank me. No really. Here are my choices.


Dark Chocolate Truffles

Truffles are love. Truffles are sensuous. “Truffle” even sounds romantic. So when you bite into one, you long to hear that naughty little voice in your head say, “Ohhhh. (pause) “Ohhh Yeah.” And these truffles do not disappoint. What I like the most is the initial snap as you bite into the hard chocolate shell and the caramel-like consistency of the center. Yum. Are they as fluffy as the dairy-packed confections that I remember? Not quite. But they don’t have to be. They are the “real thing” and they are very, very good.


Sweet Hearts Gummies

These gummies are yummy. And pretty. Indie Candy uses no artificial dyes or flavors so the wild cherry and watermelon flavors pop genuinely. The texture is satisfying and sexy, too. Might make your gluten-free Valentine’s imagination run wild.


Other products that I sampled were the Pineapple “Love Heart” which was not a favorite (it just tasted like sugar).  But the “Beary Sweet” dark chocolate sucker used high quality chocolate and would please adult and child alike. The packaging of each product is not highly designed, but sweet and down-to-earth.


Sweetheart GummiesThe Company

Before I took my first bite, I wanted to understand the company and its practices. I spoke with the President/CEO, Hanson Watkins. I was sincerely impressed with her knowledge and passion for both confections and health. She emphasized their goal of making things truly delicious, not just allergen-free – a goal that the Tender Foodie requires. Indie Candy carefully sources each ingredient right down to the factory where it is processed and to the seed that is sown. The majority of their ingredients are organic and they do their best to use non-GMO foodstuff. They sell their own in-house artisan candies (no Big 8 allergen is allowed in their kitchen) as well as those from other independent confectioners who cater to more narrow allergen-free markets. The Indie site clearly directs you by allergen, diet and confection and includes the ingredients, so read them.

If you are a Tender Foodie (or a Tender Valentine) and you give Indie Candy a try, let me know what you think!

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