So in our last post about Easter sweet treats we mainly focused on vegetarian and not vegan products. At Veg Rev we’re lacto-veggies which means we don’t eat eggs but do have dairy products. Eating vegan is often the safest way to guarantee that your sweet treats contain no meat or eggs. It covers all bases. There’s also merit in veganism which is why a vegan Easter deserves a mention. Nothing irritates me more than large food companies ignoring the existence of vegetarians so, likewise, at Veg Rev we won’t ignore veganism.
A vegan Easter instantly smacks of one thing: dark chocolate. It’s deep, it’s decadent and, more often than not, it’s quality. Higher quality than mass produced milk chocolate sugar fixes, and totally free from all animal products. A simple, but immensely satisfying, vegan chocolate fix. There must be innumerable recipes out there which champion the richness and deep flavour of dark chocolate (I’d welcome any good recommendations) but, for now, I thought it would be best to focus on the big brands selling the dark stuff which will go in to those scrummy creations.
Green & Black’s. Three words never sounded so appealing. Before I’d tasted these wonder bars I always flirted on the edge of dark chocolate’s world, never fully committing myself as a fan. Until the day I had Green & Blacks. Gone are the wishy-washy after-dinner dark chocolate mints; enter chilli, whole cocoa, cherry and ginger. My personal favourite is dark chocolate and cherry. Admittedly, they do make other types of chocolate- milk and white included- but their dark versions really made an impression on me. Incredibly versatile to cook with or to add an indulgent touch to a cup of green tea.
Their bars are pricier than, say, Cadbury, but they exist in a different category of chocolatiers so it’s only to be expected. And once you buy one you won’t regret it. Trust me.
However, I’m slightly concerned about the ‘Dietary Information’ section on Green & Black’s website which specifies whether their products contain soya, nuts, dairy etc. This is because it states that their dark chocolate contains dairy. I’m wondering how this is possible because the last time I checked on a bar, it said it was suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. No fear!
After digging a bit on their website I uncovered the source of the problem:
‘ Why has the allergen warning on your dark chocolate bars changed?
The change highlights milk as an ingredient in our previously labelled ‘vegan’ dark organic chocolate bars. As both the milk chocolate and dark chocolate bars are made using the same production line there is a risk of cross contact. A recent audit revealed that traces of milk residues can still be found on manufacturing equipment despite intensive cleaning.’
I don’t expect that these findings are a consolation to vegan readers but, at least, it’s an explanation. It’s up to the vegan to decide what to do in this situation. Perhaps we could suggest to Green & Black’s that they use separate equipment for making their dark chocolate bars? That means more £££. But the money they lose from loyal vegan customers taking their business elsewhere might tip the balance in favour of using different equipment. Vegan readers: what do you think? I’m pretty frustrated about my findings actually. When I first started writing this post I was under the impression that Green & Black’s happily catered for vegans. However, I certainly approve of their honesty. They could have chosen to ignore the results of their recent audit and mislead their vegan customers. The question now is will they hold onto that portion of the market? We doubt it.
So I’m going to ask the specialists, the vegan readers: which chocolate would you buy for Easter or when you fancy a little treat?
On this train of thought, look out for up-coming articles by Veg Rev on ethically and humanely produced milk and how cruelty-free production of the white stuff is growing across the UK.