Valentines Day is around the corner. The day of love – or most appropriately the day of chocolate. I have hated this day for so long – not just during my single more bitter days but waaaaay back to childhood. The reason isn’t because of loneliness or lack of love it is because:
I CAN’T EAT THE CHOCOLATE!
Do you know how sad that is?! As a six-year-old or even now? This is one of the realities I’ve accepted by living with a nut/peanut allergy. It is hard to enjoy chocolate-filled holidays. Generally, not eating dessert is an accepted fact for me. But over the years I’ve grown and softened to this holiday and have actually learned to enjoy it – although it is still hard to find chocolate to eat.
I’d be happy to get anything as a present for Valentine’s but the cliche present of chocolate is a challenge to receive with an allergy – especially fancy gourmet chocolate. Most boxes of chocolate are full of nuts and if they are not they say “may contain nuts” which is essentially the same thing. So what sweet can you buy your nut/peanut allergic partner?
Here are my suggestions to have a sweet and safe Valentine’s Day with your nut allergy. And remember you can buy yourself chocolate- this is a day for fun and all kinds of love, self-spoiling included!
1. Buy Cupcakes Instead
If you can’t get chocolate that is safe, get cupcakes or other baked goods. Toronto has some quality nut-free bakeries that carry cakes, cookies, brownies- anything a normal bakery would carry. Some of my favourites are: Sorelle and Company (which is super Instagram-worthy, but pricey) Cakes by Roberts did my unicorn birthday cake which I absolutely adored! I haven’t been to Yonge and Eglinton in ages but I remember The Cupcake Shoppe being amazing. So, if classic chocolate fails I’m sure there is a nut-free bakery in your city.
2. School-Safe Chocolate
Kid or school-safe chocolates can often be found at grocery stores, drug stores or even dollar stores. However, the shapes won’t be very fancy or romantic – think Darth Vader, princesses and cartoon characters. But you’ll likely be able to find the classic heart-shape as well. Scan the aisles for a peanut-free/nut-free label. On the downside the chocolates are generally cheap and drug store quality at best – but they will work as a gesture.
3. Laura Secord has a nut-free line!
Laura Secord does have a line of gourmet chocolate bars and fancy boxes of nut free chocolate. They are definitely of a higher quality and more romantic than the school-safe chocolate. But, it is hard to find a store and most of the specialty nut-free products are only in store. My boyfriend has come home with fear in his eyes more than once at not being able to find a box of chocolates for me.
4. Shop Local
For me Laura Secord is local, as a Canadian company I grew up with it. Although I didn’t grow up eating their chocolate, I believe the nut-free line is a newer development. Another option is to shop local, maybe your local independent chocolatier can make you a special order? It can’t hurt to ask.
5. Make it yourself!
If all else fails (or even if it doesn’t) you could always bake yourself and you’ll know it will be safe! You could make your sweetie dessert or a batch of nut-free cookies. They will be one of a kind and from the heart and that is always king!
Please share your nut-free recommendations with me! I’m always looking for new ways to satisfy my sweet-tooth!