IT’S that time of year when the shops are packed with perky foil-wrapped bunnies, big-eyed chocolate chicks and row upon row of elaborately wrapped, truffle-stuffed and ribbon-sporting eggs.
But if your child suffers from a food allergy, you’ll know what a minefield Easter can be. You have one of four options:
– go the non-chocolate route and buy them something else instead (good luck with that)
– go the anti-consumerist route and ignore the whole charade (ditto)
– bake the goodies yourself (assuming you have the time)
– go slowly demented desperately trawling the web for something your little ones can eat
So, in a bid to take the stress out of Easter shopping for the allergic one in your life, we bring you this year’s top 10 best Easter goodies for kids (in no particular order). We’d love to know your suggestions, so do drop us a comment if you find any more…
1. Hello Kitty Milk Chocolate Egg & Shopper Bag (nut free & no egg, wheat or gluten in the ingredients)
The perfect girlie treat: a pink Hello Kitty tote and nut-safe egg from kings of the allergy choc, Kinnerton. There are no eggs, gluten or wheat in the ingredients although Kinnerton doesn’t list them as ‘egg, gluten and wheat free’ because they are not tested for cross-contamination. From £4 online at Tesco and Asda. For more details and stockists see Kinnerton’s website.
2. Marvel Heroes 3D Puzzle Tin & Egg (nut free & no egg, wheat or gluten in the ingredients)
A magnetic puzzle game and nut-safe milk chocolate egg for tiny superhero fans everywhere. From £4 online at Tesco. For more details and stockists see Kinnerton’s website.
3. ‘Moo Free’ Egg (dairy free, gluten free, casein free, egg free, vegan, wheat free)
Ideal for the little one with a milk allergy, this dairy free ‘milk’ choc egg tastes pretty darn good, actually (all in the name of research). There’s no soya in the ingredients list but there is a ‘may contain traces’ of nuts and soya warning. From £3.79 online at www.ecogreenstore.co.uk and at selected stores nationwide. See here for stockists or contact Moo Free on 0845 094 6498
4. Bunny Lolly (nut free, and no egg, wheat or gluten in the ingredients)
So many freefrom chocolate goodies are po-faced about packaging – but Kinnerton knows how to make allergy-friendly products fun for kids. If we hadn’t already told you, you’d be none the wiser that these choccie bunnies weren’t ordinary Easter fare. From 54p at selected Co-op stores – click here for details or see Kinnerton’s website.
5. Jelly Mini-Eggs (gluten free, milk free, soya free)
Understated packaging but colourful jolly jelly eggs in apricot, pear, raspberry, orange and pineapple flavours. Does contain wheat glucose syrup, though, so not suitable for most wheat allergy sufferers (unless your doc advises otherwise). Nut traces warning. £3.50 from Waitrose
6. Holland & Barrett White Choc Egg with Buttons (dairy free, gluten free, wheat free, egg free, vegan)
The health food chain has a few allergy-friendly treats this spring but this sports the most kiddie-friendly packaging. This white choc egg and buttons has been shortlisted for the Free From Food Awards 2012. They aren’t labelled as nut free because of the possibility of “airborne contamination throughout the supply chain” but manufacturer Celtic Chocolates don’t use nuts in their factory, or nuts in any of their products, plus staff are prohibited from eating nuts in the canteen or bringing any on-site. £3.49 from Holland & Barrett stores nationwide – click here for details
7. D & D Hollow Chocolate Easter Egg (dairy free, gluten free, wheat free, vegetarian)
Not the most eye-catching box but at least we have a few hopping bunnies and spring butterflies on this dairy-free confection. D & D’s egg has no, um, egg in it either but does contain soya lecithin. There is a ‘nut traces’ warning as nut products are made on-site. £5.36 from Goodness Direct. For more details see D & D’s website.
8. Chocolate Trading Co Milk Chocolate Duck (soya free, egg free, wheat free, gluten free)
This dinky duck choc is made without soya lecithin and hydrogenated fats. No wheat or gluten in the ingredients, although nuts and gluten are used on-site so it “may contain traces”. Also find bunny shapes, dark chocolate varieties and a lovely bright yellow chocolate chick on the website. From £3.95 for a small bunny to £10.95 to a large hen, from the Chocolate Trading Co
9. Billy Goat Stuff Solid Easter Bunny (nut free, soya free, dairy free, egg free, wheat free, gluten free)
Gold foil and pink ribboned Easter bunny in a bag. This small Essex-based supplier uses goat’s milk to create its cute confectionery and was highly commended in the 2010 Free From Food Awards. £2.99 from Billy Goat Stuff online shop
10. Mini Easter Eggs (milk free, soya free, nut free, egg free, gluten free)
Made by Finnish brand Dammenberg, this pack of mini dark choc eggs is a multiple allergy kid’s dream: no eggs, gluten, soya, dairy or nuts. Organic, too. £6 online from Gourmelli UK. For more details contact Gourmelli on 01234 240000.
And… we can’t go without a special mention to Kinnerton for their Peppa Pig, Spongebob and Fireman Sam ranges – and to Tesco for stocking the lot. Hooray.