Lament for Chocolate

Lament for Chocolate

I have coeliacs. It means that gluten is way, way beyond off-limits for me. Even a tiny crumb can send me spiralling into the mires of pain and sickness.

Well, that’s a bummer, says you. But surely there are all sorts of gluten-free products that you can eat?

Yes, says I. If you are willing to eat cardboard that’s been processed to the point of no return. I, for one, have problems with processed food. As in, I have pain whenever I eat it. Not nearly as bad as gluten-induced pain, but pretty bad.

Oh, and I’m vegetarian.

Basically, if you feel like being a masochist, try my diet. I don’t have much of a choice in the matter, but if you choose this, prepare for a whole lot of raw foods or serious cooking. At the moment, my kitchen hates me so I eat a lot of raw foods. Back in the States, where my kitchen doesn’t hate me, I do a lot of cooking. And eat a lot of raw foods.

The whole point to this prelude was to tell you that gluten is everywhere. A lot of people add it to bind things together, or as a flavouring agent or whatever. And my favourite dessert, chocolate, is no exception.

Seriously? Yes. Here in the UK especially (though I have no idea why) I have a hard time finding good chocolate that is gluten-free. And by good chocolate, I don’t mean the bricks of darker-than-my-soul chocolate that people shave on top of other desserts (though that, too, is not gluten-free). I mean the flavourful, lovely chocolate that a person eats because it’s good. Chocolate, you know?

I would order it from Amazon, but the import fees are astronomical. So I don’t. The chocolate in the “gluten-free” section at the stores is depressing and tastes like, well, milk that may have flirted with chocolate but married sugar.

My food metaphors can, indeed, get worse.

Yesterday, I was walking back to The Very Yellow Flat from the Royal Botanical Gardens when I spotted a chocolate shop. There are a lot of chocolate shops around, most of which will charge me an arm and a leg to buy their average chocolate. This one looked promising. Really promising. They had all sorts of chocolate types. Dark. Really dark. Really really dark. Milk. Creamy milk. Milk that has caramel in it (not my favourite). White. All sorts.

I was prepared to spend a good deal on this chocolate, even though it was well priced. Basically, I was prepared to buy a whole lot of chocolate. And then, I turned it over to read the ingredients (something that becomes second nature when you have as many food problems as I do).

May contain traces of gluten.

The only reason I didn’t fall into a dark despair was because I was no worse off than before and I have come to expect all sorts of gluten shenanigans from the people here. But golly, it came close.

Why, oh why, cannot people make gluten-free chocolate that is as good as “regular” chocolate? Why must it be so difficult to find decent, healthy, tasty gluten-free food? In the States, I solved this by cooking a lot (and baking, too). Here, that option eludes me.

My solution: drink more tea. At least that the UK has in abundance.

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