author of Feeding Eden

“All you need is love but a little (Pascha) chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt”

photo-2Charles M. Schulz is known for his famous "Peanuts" cartoons, an irrelevant word play for my purposes here. He also made a very wise statement about chocolate.  Die-hard "chocoholics" will have you believe that chocolate is an essential nutrient. Yet, living with food allergies has taught me that as long as a child is emotionally and physically nourished, they really won't feel unduly denied by their inability to eat particular food. At least not often.

So what about chocolate feels like a deal breaker for those food allergies? Well, Americans love their Hershey's bars and our M&M's, our Toll House Cookies, and our extra fudgy brownies. And whether it's because our factory equipment is riddled with nuts and dairy or because the majority of children seem to prefer their solid chocolate milky and a tad bland, we food allergic types lack a widely available big industry chocolate. For years I've relied two terrific allergen safe chocolate sources: Divvies and Enjoy Life Foods. And both companies make chocolate bars and chips. Their first 3 ingredients is: cane juice or sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter.

And then I found Pascha Chocolate. My other half sent me a link to their site someone had sent to him, knowing, as most friends do that we are a food allergy family. Pascha is "free from peanuts, nuts, soy, eggs, wheat and gluten." Immediately I sensed something new. The first 3 ingredients in all varieties of Pascha chocolate bars are: organic sugar, organic cocoa mass, organic cocoa butter. And that subtle substitution of cocoa mass for chocolate liquor may be one reason that they are by far the most Grown Up allergen safe chocolate bar I've ever tasted.

My son Eden and I tried the basic varieties of Pascha chocolate bar in varying strengths of cacao mass. The 55% was Eden's favorite. It was the sweetest and since he is ten years old it was obvious to me why. However, the 70% bar was a lovely balance of winey and bitter honeyed smoothness. And the 85% bar was abrasive, rich and yet feathery in aftertaste. Pashca bars are contenders in another league of artisinal chocolate; the stuff of foodies, pastry chefs and yes - chocoholics.

I melted a few squares of the 55% on Eden's sourdough bread and the contrast was stunning. I whisked a melted square of the 85% bar into a cup of steamed oatmilk with cinnamon and dash of agave and again, best allergen safe hot cocoa ever. The 70% bar was pretty much eaten within a few days. And that stretch took discipline.

I will soon order the 55% bars with chocolate nibs and with golden berries. If you are reading this and you have food allergies, I suggest you do the same. Can't hurt.


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