Chocolate is one of my favorite foods. Thus it was very difficult for me when I found that many chocolates do contain oils and oil derivatives.
My research taught me that chocolate is a very labor intensive product, so in order to make it cheap corners have to be cut. Often by adulterating the chocolate directly with other less expensive vegetable fats or using cheaper emulsifiers made from vegetable oils.
When I first discovered my intolerance I was disgusted to find that most candy had vegetable oils in it. Which was fairly limiting at the grocery store. Almost all of the sweets displayed at the front counter were off limits.
After a year or so I had discovered that there were a few more less obvious additives that I needed to avoid. Butter oil, and milk fat both made me pretty sick. Flavorings also set off symptoms including mint, hazelnut, coffee, raspberry, citrus, ext. I have learned to make my own mint ice cream with actual mint leaves because I miss it that much.
Nuts have also turned out to be problematic. Because nuts are added it is not required that anything added to them be listed on the label. Thus they -could- be cooked in oil, and its not worth the risk to me.
It was only more recently that I discovered that emulsifiers are often made from vegetable oils. Emulsifiers are things added to the end of the chocolate making process to keep the fat and solids bound together. In expensive chocolate they use extra cocoa fat, and a long 24 hour stir, which seems to be fine for me. But in many chocolates they use soy lecithin, which is made from soy oil. More recently PGPR (AKA Polyglycerol polyricinoleate) came onto the market. It is made from caster oil and is touted as being even cheaper. I’m sure they will come up with new emulsifiers in the next few years.
Because cocoa powder skips many of the steps that chocolate bars go through but has no added fats it seems to be safe for me. Honestly it would probably be cheaper to stick to eating chocolaty baked goods, but I really prefer chocolate bars.
I’ve found that generally in order to find a chocolate that lists only cacao butter, chocolate liquor, sugar and or cocoa powder and vanilla, I have to buy darker chocolates. Probably because there is no room for added ingredients. There are only three brands of chocolate I’ve found so far that produce chocolates below 85% in cocoa, but don’t add soy lecithin.
- Equal Exchange
- Enjoy Life
I prefer the flavor of Equal Exchange, but have yet to try Pascha chocolate because it is so expensive and I’d have to order it online. My mom loves the Enjoy Life mini semi sweet chips.
The other safe chocolates that I have found are:
- Green and Black Organic 85%. (Available only at my co-op.)
- Theo Pure 85% dark. (Available only at my co-op.)
- Safeway Select 85% cacao Dark chocolate. (It does contain natural flavorings but I can buy it at Safeway.)
- Lindt 85% cocoa EXELLENCE bar (Available at almost all the grocery stores.)
All of the ones above are pretty bitter for general eating, although I eat them, my parents prefer not to.
They do make very nice chocolate peanut butter fat bombs though, which my parents actually like to eat. (I use all butter instead of the coconut oil.)