Vermont Nut Free Chocolates Melt Away Allergy Concerns
One manufacturer is making sure everyone can enjoy quality sweets, and here's where you can find them locally
There's nut-in' to worry about with these chocolates.
Photos by John Bruno Turiano
Cautious parents inspecting candy is a familiar Halloween sight, but for children and adults alike with food allergies, finding safe and delicious treats can be a year-round ordeal. While some allergen-containing products are easier to avoid than others, chocolate is especially difficult, as many factories produce nut-filled varieties on the same machinery as their nut-free counterparts. This potential for cross-contamination has given rise to the ubiquitous “may contain nuts” warnings now found on many products' packaging.
But chocolate, ideally, should never be the cause of stress. Enter Vermont Nut Free Chocolates. Co-founder Gail Elvidge’s son was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy at only eight months old. As he grew, and without any prior culinary experience, she began making chocolate at home to control precisely what was in his snacks. In 1998, she and her husband began helping other families enjoy gourmet chocolates, some for the first time.
Their resulting business offers a variety of gourmet confections, ranging from gummies to fudge, trail-mix to cookies—all produced in a completely tree-nut and peanut-free environment. There are standard milk and dark chocolate bars, rice crisp varieties, truffles, chocolate creams, caramels, and candy-coated chocolate “Skippers.” For Halloween enthusiasts, there are even gift bags including milk-chocolate pumpkins and spooky chocolate pops.
Full ingredient lists are online and on every package, noting if a product contains milk, egg, soy, or was processed on shared equipment. Many products even receive Star-D kosher certification.
Despite its growing size, Vermont Nut Free Chocolates is still very much a local company. “We use fresh Vermont butter and Vermont maple syrup in some of our products,” Elvidge says. “And I still enjoy experimenting with small batches of chocolate products for my son.”
The good news for those of us in Westchester is that Vermont Nut Free Chocolates can be purchased at 10 different area locations, including Candy Rox and Rye Country Store in Rye, Grassy Sprain Pharmacy in Yonkers, and Standing Room Only and Imagine Candy in Scarsdale, the latter of which was voted Westchester’s Best Candy in Westchester 2014. Donna Halperin, Imagine Candy’s owner, confirms that Vermont Nut Free "is a terrific brand providing a full range of products from chocolate to candy, all great tasting and high quality.” And did we mention Halloween's just around the bend?
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