My best friend loves chocolate, but a year or two ago she became lactose-intolerant. I’d like to get her some high-quality, dairy-free chocolate candy for Christmas. There are lots of options out there, and even more “best dairy-free chocolate” lists, but I’m looking for personal recommendations: dairy-free brands (or specific products) that you personally have tried and enjoyed.
Cost is not a factor, but I have to be able to order it online with a decent chance that it can be delivered to me (in Virginia, USA) in the next 2.5 weeks. Several promising options that I found on Amazon either don’t ship until after Christmas, or are currently out of stock.
(Yes, I should have asked sooner… )
I’m lactose intolerant and I’m addicted to dark chocolate. That normally will not contain any milk products, but thousands of brands and variants exist so no promises. Milk fat doesn’t affect intolerance, though.
The problem for giving to someone whose tastes you don’t know is that bars now vary greatly in the percent of cocoa (or, pretentiously, cacao). Ghirardelli, a brand I like and is easy to find in a supermarket, varies from 72% to 95%. I like 72% and find the 95% too bitter. Obviously, others will differ. Plenty of brands offer 70% or 72% varieties, and it’s hard to go too wrong.
Lots of products include dark chocolate as a covering or coating for fruits or nuts or pretzels or whatever they can think of. I happen to like Bark Thins snacking chocolate. It’s a Hershey’s product but in fact the dark chocolate is particularly good.
Stay away from Godiva, though. They use milk powder in practically everything.
Can’t say that this particular brand is good, but I’m had some tasty vegan chocolate made with passion fruit. Unfortunately the ones I had are local brands, so I can’t given recommendations. I am not vegan (far from it), but my friend is, and I’ve been trying different foods.
Of course, if she hates passion fruit, it’s probably not to her taste.
One option would be to give her a “tasting set” so that she can explore what she likes and educate her palate. Get 2-4 different recommended brands of chocolate bars and get each brand at two or three levels of intensity, like 65, 75, and 85 percent.
I’m actually going off to a chocolate tasting right now. Will report back!
Okay … I only tried one brand but we had two bean varieties and each with two different levels of roast/conche, so four different types in all. All of them were 68% or 70%.
The brand was Fresco - this is one of the varieties we tried and the other was Ghana.
Honestly, all four were sublime. They didn’t taste the same but I’d recommend any of them. The one that I linked to got a silver medal at some chocolate competition.
Interestingly, the person guiding us through the tasting process (he’s actually a coffee expert but has branched out into chocolate recently) said that true chocolate experts think that a really fine chocolate should be consumed at around 68 to 70% for maximum savoring. Lesser chocolates might be better at higher percentages but it’s a mistake to think that higher percentages equate to “better” tasting experiences somehow.
Not highfaluting but tasty are some of the bars from Chocolove, Theo, Seattle’s Best Chocolate, and Jcoco.
I love valrhona, I love many of their varieties. But it has an acid note that I appreciate and some people dislike. I tend to buy plain chocolate, not chocolate with stuff in it.
That being said, check labels for any chocolate you are considering. But if she’s just lactose intolerant, and not allergic, “made in a facility that also…” is okay.
I’ll also second Theo as a brand I trust to make a tasty chocolate bar.
I wound up ordering three bars of Theo for her to try…
It may be January before she gets around to trying them all, but I’ll do my best to remember!
I’m a big fan of Sjacks. It can get expensive, but it’s nice candy.