By Claire Baker, Beyond Celiac Director of Communications and New Media
I drew the short straw and had to do the Lily’s Sweets review. Kidding! I practically had to wrestle the chocolate from my colleagues! Well, that might be overstating it, but dang it! I’m the right person for this job, tough though it may be.
I have celiac disease and am gluten-free 100% of the time. I’m also vegan, but not as strict. I’d give me a 94%. Naturally, I lit up at Lily’s 70% Extra Dark Chocolate, which is both certified gluten-free and vegan. I sampled both the unadorned bar and the Blood Orange variety. So good! The Extra Dark didn’t disappoint. It was as good a chocolate as I’ve had. The blood orange reminded me of those actual-size chocolate oranges that you see at the holidays that break into sections like a real orange (the brand name is Terry’s Chocolate Orange — neither vegan nor certified gluten-free), only not so monstrous and of a much more refined palate. This is definitely chocolate I will buy.
True confessions though. In a meeting with my boss, at a weak moment, I sampled the non-vegan but really delicious Coconut variety. In my defense, I didn’t actually know it wasn’t vegan. The meeting was going long, the office was a little warm, I was starting to droop, and I clutched at the proffered dark chocolate just as a floundering contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire uses her last lifeline. I didn’t know it was coconut for that matter. All I knew was that it was gluten-free and right in front of me. I took a bite and stopped talking in mid-sentence. Whoa. I had to see what it was that I had just eaten. The morsel was crispy and light with an excellent balance between chocolate and coconut. It was the texture I really loved. I’m usually not gaga for coconut, so I was totally surprised when I read the label. Who knew? I’d be sorely tempted to pick this out over other bars.
Oh, and by buying Lily’s, I read on their website that I’ll consume 20-25% fewer calories than conventional chocolates. They use Stevia as their sweetener of choice. And what’s more, I’ll be supporting organizations that provide services to children with cancer and their families, since Lilly’s contributes a percentage of profits each year to these causes. Check out the story behind the company.