My 12 year old daughter is a coeliac. This means she has Coeliac Disease, an auto-immune condition, that requires she eat a gluten free diet. If you’re thinking that sounds like a right faff and a pain in the bum you’re right, IT IS. The days of thinking “We’ll just grab something to eat whilst we’re out” are long gone. You have to be prepared, you have to plan ahead.
The same goes for advent calendars. A quick dash to Waitrose on the 30th of November and grabbing whatever is left on the shelf just won’t cut it. Our first gluten free Christmas was two years ago and I started the search for a certified gluten free advent calendar a good month early. I would buy it and store it and look very smug indeed come December 1st. Except I couldn’t find one. There were advent calendars with no gluten containing ingredients but when I contacted the companies to double check, they weren’t prepared to put their money where their mouth is due to “manufacturing methods”.
I know I sound neurotic. I do. But my child had been very poorly. And I just wasn’t prepared to take the risk. She’d be eating this chocolate every day for the better part of a month.
Most of the big supermarkets sell their own brand of Free From advent calendars, so I started there. The thing I have found with Free From products is that they want to tick as many boxes as possible. It’s not just Gluten Free. It’s also Nut Free… Dairy Free… Wheat Free…Taste Free… When we tried one my daughter said “the chocolate tastes weird… like it’s not chocolate”.
Also these advent calendars are weeny. I don’t know why. The Sainsbury’s Free From advent calendar is a paltry 72g.
I do realise we sound like spoilt brats and perhaps we should just be grateful for anything but it didn’t seem fair to me. So I scoured the internet. They are there, they were just a bit tricky to find. In the end I bought a beautiful advent calendar online from British chocolate company Montezuma’s. I was ecstatic when I discovered that they had opened a shop not far from me, so there was no doubt where I would be purchasing my advent calendar this year.
When I arrived at the shop I was delighted to find that I had a CHOICE of advent calendars. They had a dark chocolate one, a mixed milk/white chocolate one and a slightly smaller milk chocolate one for children.
These organic advent calendars are free from: GM, Gluten, Colour & Preservatives.
I opted for the full size milk/white chocolate advent calendar for my daughter (above). At £9.99 it is expensive when you consider that Cadbury’s and Thornton’s fare is around the £3.00 mark, but I only have to buy one and it gives my daughter delicious peace of mind.
PS: Their chocolate peanut butter snowballs are to die for!