Say the word “chocolate” and watch people start to drool. There really aren’t that many people who don’t love chocolate, and honestly, a lot of people are self-proclaimed chocoholics. The problem comes about when a person finds that they can’t eat just any piece of candy bar or piece of chocolate. Especially if they are buying a commercial brand piece of candy, or a lower end chocolate brand, the candy will be milk chocolate. Milk chocolate is as its name implies. It’s a mixture of pure chocolate, mixed with milk and other dairy products.
While milk chocolate is known for its sweetness, and it’s smooth texture, eating milk chocolate can be a real problem for some people. One reason is because of food allergies. Many people are allergic to dairy products. This condition is known as lactose intolerance. The symptoms of lactose intolerance ranges from mildly irritating, to very grave. On the lower end of this condition, a person can experience gas in their digestive tract, bloating, and discomfort. On the more severe end of lactose intolerance, a person can feel pain that is excruciating, and they can become violently sick to their stomachs. This isn’t pleasant to experience, or to have to deal with. For the person who is very lactose intolerant, even the slightest bit of dairy products can send their bodies into an uproar. For the person who struggles in this way, they have to be very mindful about the types of chocolate that they eat. They also need to make sure that the chocolate doesn’t contain dairy ingredients that are commonly found in chocolate, such as lecithin, whey, cream, or butter. While these ingredients add texture and richness to the chocolate, they can make someone very ill.
At the same time, not everyone suffers from lactose intolerance, but they simply don’t want to eat animal products. These people are known as vegans. There is some confusion about who are vegetarians, and who are vegan. Vegetarians used to be what vegans now are, but in general, they cut out animal products from their diet. However, they might eat some animal sources, such as cheese, eggs, or fish. Some Vegetarians go as far as to eat chickens, but they won’t eat beef or beef products. If chocolate is going to contain dairy products, then most of the time, the dairy source is going to come from a cow, so a vegetarian wouldn’t eat this.
Vegans on the other hand, exclude any and all animal foods and animal sourced food products from their diets. There are many vegans, however, that need their chocolate fix just like everyone else. So what does a person like this do to get their chocolate? They can eat dark chocolate. Most dark chocolate doesn’t contain dairy. The key is in the percentage of cacao that is used in the chocolate recipe. The higher the percentage of cacao, the more likely that there are no dairy products in the recipe.
Because of the demand for revamped health food stores, and the creation of artisan chocolates, there are many micro-companies that make dairy free chocolate, tailor made for vegans. The great thing about these chocolate manufacturers is that they not only make a dairy free recipe, but they also ensure that no dairy products come in contact with the manufacturing belt, or instruments. This is very important because even the slightest exposure can cause a reaction in some people. This is also important to note, because while some chocolate might be labeled “dairy free”, it might have been exposed to dairy products during the manufacturing process if the dairy free chocolate was produced using the same belt and instruments as dairy chocolate. Again, those wanting dairy free chocolate can go to a health food store, or shop for it online. It’s just as yummy, and because it’s a lot richer, it will last you longer, and satisfy you better.