Gluten-Free Chocolate – Dean’s Sweets is now 100% Gluten Free
You’ve said it. You’ve said it nicely and loudly and clearly. And we’ve heard you: gluten-free chocolate, please. Dean’s Sweets is happy to announce that our chocolate is now 100% gluten free. It took us some time and effort to make this important change. The kicker is, to make the switch to being completely gluten free was only a minor adjustment for us – we just had to change a few ingredients on a couple of items.
So why, you might ask, did we not do this months or even years ago? Why did it, ahem, take so darn long? Well, maybe we can fall back on the cliché that all good things take time. Or maybe it was really just a matter of making the commitment. Strangely or not, finding a couple of high-quality substitutes for a few beloved products took us the better part of a year. We apparently needed time to make to the right decisions.
Chocolate is naturally gluten-free.
Most people barely think about it, but chocolate is naturally 100% gluten-free. If you have celiac disease, however, you really think about it. All the time. No item is safe for folks with celiac disease if there’s any chance of cross-contamination with other products that contain gluten. There are plenty of other people without the disease, too, who make a concerted effort to stay away from gluten because they feel better, sometimes much better, without it in their diets.
So, after years of telling a long story about how almost all of our products are gluten free and only some aren’t gluten free, we now have a short, sweet response. We can definitively say yes, to everyone with any kind of gluten sensitivity, that ALL our chocolate is now 100% gluten-free.
Small changes – Big comfort
Here are the changes we’ve made, big and small, that now ensure all our chocolate is gluten-free:
The biggest culprit, the largest cause, the major offender for our FORMER inclusion of gluten was our stout truffle. For the first decade or more of Dean’s Sweets existence, we happily made a stout truffle using one of the best beers in Maine – Allagash Black. We were delighted to be working with Allagash and many customers love this truffle. The stout truffle was (is!) also serendipitously a dairy-free truffle, which makes it vegan. It’s part of our popular vegan chocolate assortment. And though we could drink Allagash beer all day (well not on work days, which is pretty much every day, but you know what I mean), we’ve now switched to a gluten-free beer from Orange Bike Brewing. Not only do they make great gluten-free beer, but they are our neighbors, just newly moved in, in East Bayside. You can go visit them here. And voila, our stout truffle is now gluten free.
We regularly dip pretzels to sell in our stores as a quick grab-and-go item in dark, milk, and white chocolate. These yummy salty, sweet snacks have, astonishingly, never made it to our website (hopefully they will soon!). They are easy and fun and, well, pretzels! Then one day we were at an event and we realized we forgot the little spoons we use to sample our hot fudge and Maine sea salt caramel sauce. A kind and friendly co-vendor gave us a bag of gluten-free pretzels to use instead. That’s when we discovered that not only were the pretzels scrumptious with the sauces, but that this brand of gluten-free pretzels was even better than our (old) standby pretzels. We sold a lot of sauces that day, and, more to the point, we had a conversion moment. The switch was made – gluten-free pretzels, we realized, are the way to go.
Graham Cracker Crunch Chocolate Squares
One of our twelve flavors of chocolate squares, the graham cracker crunch squares combine old-fashioned graham crackers and luscious Belgian milk chocolate. They are just the kind of thing to have after school, after work, at lunch, or before bed. When trying to make the switch to gluten-free, however, this was an ingredient we needed to carefully research. Not all graham crackers are created equal. We did some asking-around and some taste-testing, and we discovered Partake graham crackers. These allergy-friendly, gluten-free graham crackers fit the bill perfectly. We were sold and happily one step closer to our 100% gluten-free goal.
Chocolate-Covered Matzos (Regular and Hot)
Because chocolate-covered matzos are made and offered only once a year – in spring for Passover – we knew we had some time to research this product and find a good alternative. But, sad to say, this is the one item that we have yet to find a suitable gluten-free substitute for.
It’s not for not trying, however. We did plenty of research and found that the only gluten-free matzos, while solving one issue, would create another. Gluten-free matzos contain eggs, a serious allergen that many people must avoid. We didn’t want to eliminate one allergen only to introduce another. Our solution to this is a bit unfortunate, which is to discontinue making and selling the chocolate-covered matzos. However, we are still on the lookout for the perfect alternative gluten-free, egg-free, (nut-free!) matzos. So, if you know of them, please let us know!
100% Gluten-Free Chocolate
It really should not have taken us quite so long to take the necessary steps to ensure that our chocolate is 100% gluten free. But to find these few ingredient substitutes, explained in the process above, maybe you can see why it did. We needed to be sure that each new ingredient we added kept to our highest standards. Taste is obviously of the greatest importance. Avoiding allergens such as nuts and eggs (and seeds and dairy and shellfish and anything we can’t pronounce) is equally crucial. So maybe the cliché is apt in this case: all good things take time. We’d like to think that we took the time necessary to make Dean’s Sweets safe and healthy for everyone. And we’d like to think that we took the time to make gluten-free chocolate that’s 100% delicious.