Is chocolate Gluten-Free and Vegan?
Many of us follow a gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan diet; for health or lifestyle reasons. It can be challenging to determine which foods can be safely eaten and which should be avoided. Chocolate is an example that can be tricky. You may be surprised that some chocolate contains flour, barley malt, milk, honey or other gluten or animal derived ingredients.
Which leads to the question: Is Charley’s chocolate Gluten-Free and Vegan? The short answer is yes. But you should always read the contents on the label.
Gluten Free Chocolate Primer
Gluten is a type of protein found in many types of grains, including rye, barley, and wheat. Most people have no problem digesting gluten in its various forms. However, eating foods containing gluten can cause issues for people with celiac disease or those with a sensitivity to gluten.
For someone with celiac disease , consuming gluten triggers an immune response in the body. This then results in symptoms like diarrhoea, nutritional deficiencies, and fatigue. Those with simply a sensitivity to gluten can experience bloating, gas, and nausea after eating foods with gluten.
Is Charley’s chocolate gluten free?
The good news is that pure chocolate Is Gluten-Free. High quality plain dark chocolate (eg Charley’s Mount Edna) comes from cocoa beans (Theobroma cacao). Mt Edna, is made from cocoa nibs and cocoa butter, both part of the cocoa bean, and sugar. All are considered gluten-free.
Consider the additives
Many common brands of chocolate may contain 10–15 other ingredients; including powdered milk, vanilla, soy lecithin, emulsifiers, stabilisers and flavourings. Because cocoa beans are expensive, it is cheaper chocolate that is most likely to contain these other ingredients. Many chocolate bars also have additions of nuts, raisins, chilli and things like biscuit pieces. So as always, it is really important to check the contents on the label.
Vegetarian and Vegan Chocolate Primer - The e good news is that pure chocolate is suitable for those on a Vegetarian or Vegan diet.
Is Charley’s chocolate suitable for vegan’s and vegetarians?
Pure dark chocolate (eg Charley’s Mount Edna) that comes from cocoa beans (Theobroma cacao) does not contain any animal or animal derived products. It is made from cocoa nibs derived from roasted cocoa beans and cocoa butter and sugar; all of which are entirely vegetable products.
Consider the additives - As with the gluten example, the issue of concern can be with the additives.
Milk chocolate is a different story and whilst some vegetarians allow themselves milk and milk products, others and vegans generally do not. So, milk chocolate may not be suitable.
The Chocolate making process - Risk of Cross-Contamination
Even if a chocolate product doesn’t contain any ingredients with gluten or animal products, it may have become cross-contaminated. Some labels warn you and say ‘’may contain traces of nuts”. An example could be a biscuit manufacturer that also makes chocolate. The contaminant quantities will likely be minute and so would be of little concern to most people; but could be detrimental to others. Reputable manufacturers would of course have procedures in place to minimise such cross contamination.
In conclusion, Premium dark is suitable for gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan diets. BUT read the label and if still unsure contact the manufacturer to seek clarification.