Saturday, March 17, 2007

Gluten-Free Chocolate from the UK

I am nothing short of a chocoholic - I just rarely find myself having too much of such a great thing. And, as a connoisseur of chocolate as well, I love great dark chocolate and specialty chocolates from all around the world. Sometimes I find a new and wonderful bar of chocolate at a general retailer, and other times I have encountered some excellent chocolate shops while on a trip to a different city.

Most recently, I have had the luck and luxury of getting some absolutely fantastic chocolates from the United Kingdom - from a place called Montezuma's. This place creates luxury hand made organic quality chocolates, and certifies most of their varieties as gluten-free! (certainly a huge plus for me!)

Sadly, I did not pick up my chocolates first hand (sad, because I would have welcomed a trip to the UK), but instead had them delivered to me courtesy of our daughter who spent her Spring-break in the UK fulfilling her college's international-studies requirement during a study-abroad program that was chaperoned by a few college professors. And, during her 8 days in and around London touring sites of historical significance to 19th-century literature, she happened upon the Montezuma's Chocolate store and instantly thought of bringing some back for me. And, she definitely struck gold as far as I'm concerned.

The first chocolate bar to catch my attention was this one - the Emporor Bar: Chilli Chocolate:

I have had similar bars before, that combine the subtle heat of chili peppers with the richness of dark chocolate, but this one was definitely a cut above. It was nothing short of spectacular! As you can see (if you followed the hyperlink above), the chocolate is vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and organic too -- so, it must be good for you! :)

Next, my daughter presented me with a small bag of these truffles.

What I instantly found rather scary about the product is how the ingredients label shows Wheat Syrup in the product! So, I go and look at the web-site again, and read about the truffles. Check out this page about the Vegan Truffles for example, and how they are listed as Gluten-Free. Moreso, look at the part that states:

"*Wheat Syrup is certified as Gluten free "

Wow! Now that is a bit counter-intuitive to me after being programmed to avoid anything with wheat in it. It surely wouldn't be considered gluten-free here in the United States, but I can also see how, if one was to just isolate the sugars from the wheat, that there would be no gluten in the resulting syrup. You'll see this wheat-syrup in quite a few of their truffles. Honestly, I just don't know what to make of it all. Gluten-Free, but yet with wheat-products in it. If you don't already know, much of Europe also considers pure wheat-starch as gluten-free too, since all the gluten (proteins) have been removed.

So, call me the guinea pig... my curiosity got the best of me, and my addiction to chocolate doesn't help matters either. Keep in mind, I am very conscientious about watching what I eat and avoiding gluten too. I just decided I would try a bite of the truffle knowing that, were I in the UK, I would only be eating what is considered gluten-free. Hopefully it truly is 100% safe for consumption. If not, I'm sure I'll know in the next few hours.

Though the truffle was good, I definitely preferred the chocolate chilli bar. That was just extraordinary! And, since my daughter only brought a couple small bars back with her, I had to do some quick thinking about how to acquire more of them. Talk about good timing... one of my employees is working on a project in London this week, and he said there is a good chance he'll be quite near the chocolate store. Good thing, since Montezuma's won't mail shipments overseas.

So, with luck, I'll have a supply of those wonderfully rich and spicy treats for a while! And, I feel much safer sticking with the chocolate bars that do not have any wheat-syrup in them (gluten free or not - the sound of that ingredient still disturbs me on some level).


Lynn Barry said...

You sure are an addict...plotting to get we'll read about a trip you just HAD to take...wink wink...for the sake of chocolate. What a fun blog entry!

Gluten Free Suzi said...

"Wheat Syrup is certified as Gluten free "

Hi Mike.. Below is a quote from the Australian Coeliac Society Ingredients List Handbook. I think you will find it interesting...

"Some ingredients (eg glucose syrup, caramel color) are so highly processed that, when tested, the results have always shown "no detectable gluten"

PS. That chocolate looks delicious!

Dianne said...


Where is this place Mike? I'm going to London next week, and I feel a bit of a detour coming on!


Mike Eberhart said...

Dianne, just follow the link to the website and they list retail locations. There are about 6 or 7 as I recall... not sure which would be closest to you.

Suzi, yes, I am aware of such things, I just find it interesting and hard to get past the whole "wheat" thing on the ingredients list :) There are products here in the States, like Benefiber, that is made entirely from wheat-dextrin, but is considered gluten-free. Once again, hard to mentally accept when programmed to avoid "wheat". Fact is, I will take their word for it and eat it - especially if it is chocolate that is so labeled. mmm.

ana montero said...

Dear Mike:
I understand now the meaning of "if you can setup a FeedBurner RSS feed". I´ve read the all the instructions of your email. (Ha, ha). I´ll try add your "if you FeedBurner RSS feed", but it´s difficult for me. But I am spanish woman and the spanish women are very obstinate. I´ll try it.

Mike Eberhart said...

Your obstinance has paid off - I see you finished the setup, and I have added your blog to the news aggregator. Thank you for being patient and figuring it all out :)

Wheat Free said...

I've never heard of wheat syrup before. Sounds nasty and insidious since it is wheat that is a problem for me rather than gluten itself!

Dianne said...

Oh Yes!!!! They have a store that is just ten miles from my front door!


Mike Eberhart said...

Dianne, that's great! I hope you enjoy their chocolate as much as I do. That chocolate-chilli is awesome, and I just had a smaller bar of a hot-ginger/dark-chocolate that was really good too. If you find any other "must have" flavors, let me know. I have another contact that plans to go through London in mid-April, and I could have them bring me back more of the wonderful chocolate :)