On Thursday night, I had the unique opportunity to attend the VIP Inaugural Soirée for Salon du Chocolat in Zurich. A very special thanks goes out to Kerrin of My Kugelhopf for hooking me up with some tickets (kugelhopf is the Alsatian version of a bundt cake)! In the afternoon, I jumped on a train, and by 6:30 PM, I was sampling delicious Swiss chocolate from some of the world’s finest chocolatiers.
Salon du Chocolat would have been challenging to navigate with our food-allergic son. Milk and/or almonds are likely ingredients in nearly everything at the event. Our son’s allergies also require us to avoid products with traces of these ingredients (and eggs too), which further limits our search for safe chocolate. It would have been cruel to expose our little guy to such glorious treats, and then tell him he couldn’t have any!
Just to make sure, I’m in the process of sending follow-up emails to a few dozen chocolatiers and other vendors from Salon du Chocolat inquiring about the availability of allergy-friendly chocolate. I’ll be sure to spread the word if I make the exciting discovery of Swiss-made, dairy/nut/egg-free chocolate!
Searching for Allergy-Friendly Chocolate
Since arriving in Switzerland, I’ve been hunting for chocolate that’s safe for my son (in the United States, our go-to chocolate was from Enjoy Life Foods, but I haven’t seen these products in Europe). In all, I’ve probably spent a couple hours reading chocolate labels in search of the elusive, Swiss-made and allergy-friendly chocolate. Often times I’ll come close with a dark chocolate, but then there will be that “peut contenir traces de…” label with our allergens, and it’s right back on the shelf.
After all this searching, other than cocoa powder from Coop, we’ve only found one kind of chocolate that’s safe for our son. However, this chocolate bar isn’t made in Switzerland. And, instead of sugar, it contains Xylitol—a sweetener made from Birch trees in Finland (who knew?). Apparently, Xylitol has fewer calories than sugar and is safe for diabetics. While the chocolate tastes pretty good, the main feature is that it’s dairy-free and nut-free (and gluten-free, as well, for those who need it). At 6.40 CHF per bar (!), I would buy this again, but would prefer a less medicinal-seeming chocolate. I want chocolate with good ol’ sugar, and made in Switzerland, if you please.
Of course, I could order allergy-friendly chocolate online from the UK or elsewhere, but for some reason, I really want to find a good-quality, Swiss chocolate that anyone would eat—not just one catering to those with special dietary needs. Maybe I’m asking for too much? The Great Allergy-Friendly Swiss Chocolate search continues…
For those without food allergies looking for an amazing Swiss chocolate experience this weekend, check out the Salon du Chocolat, which runs today and tomorrow in Zurich from 10h00 to 19h00 at Messe Zürich – Hall 5, Wallisellenstrasse 49. Bon week-end!