Update: Since the writing of this company spotlight, NoCow Chocolate has sadly closed up shop. We loved their “Free From” chocolates and were disappointed to hear they’re no longer available. However, in their place we highly recommend other allergy-safe chocolates from companies like Premium Chocolatiers, Amore di Mona and Vermont Nut Free Chocolates. You can find these and more food allergy-friendly candies in the Food section of our My Kid’s Food Allergies store.
On the list of foods that many people would not willingly live without, chocolate sits very near the top. And that goes for a large number of people suffering from dairy allergies, in addition to those who can eat dairy products with impunity.
Fortunately, people with dairy allergies do not have to live without chocolate, thanks to a number of great dairy-free chocolate choices that are now on the market. For delicious sweet chocolate in a variety of wonderful flavors, one company you won’t want to overlook is No Cow Chocolate.
Mid-Life Diagnosis Inspires the Creation of a Chocolate Company
No Cow Chocolate owner Sandy Phillips was not diagnosed with a dairy allergy until she was in her late thirties. After over three decades of enjoying all of the delicious food items that are traditionally made from dairy, Phillips suddenly found her options frustratingly limited.
One of the biggest disappointments was the lack of dairy-free sweet chocolate options. While dark chocolate treats for the dairy intolerant crowd were fairly numerous, sweet chocolate options were few and far between. Phillips was inspired to create her own brand of chocolates that were both dairy-free and GMO-free.
The Evolution of a Name and a Chocolate-Making Process
Originally, No Cow Chocolate was given the name “No Cow, No How,” in reference to the slang phrase “no way, no how”. However, Phillips came to realize that the name was a bit confusing to many people. She settled on No Cow Chocolate instead, a name that still referenced the original inspiration but also told potential customers exactly what to expect from the company’s brand of treats.
The chocolate-making process itself has also evolved since No Cow Chocolate was first founded. “We have been making chocolate now for about 2 years, and I would say we have been making it well for about the last year,” said Phillips.
Chocolate is a tricky substance that can solidify in different ways depending on temperature and agitation, and tempering is the process of heating and working the chocolate in just the right way to get it to form the most desirable structure and texture.
For a time, No Cow Chocolate struggled with chocolate that would fall out of temper just before it was poured into the molds.
However, these growing pains are behind them, and No Cow Chocolate now provides quality-controlled chocolate treats in a wide variety of forms and flavors. The company has added assortment bags for Christmas and Halloween, and more recently released chocolate bunnies for Easter.
A Dedicated, Allergy-Controlled Facility
Working in a facility in which they are the only tenants allows No Cow Chocolate to carefully control their environment and ensure they maintain a facility that is free of the top eight food allergens (dairy, egg, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish), which together cause 90 percent of all food-related allergic reactions.
The facility, located in the small town of Liberty Hill, Texas, is relatively small and requires that they use every inch of available space wisely. But for No Cow Chocolate, the benefits of controlling their own environment outweigh the challenges, since keeping their products free of common allergens is central to the company’s purpose.
“We run our company the way we wish all other food companies would be run—with full transparency of what is in our products and keeping them simple, natural and delicious,” Phillips said. “As I have a dairy allergy, I know what it’s been like to have to read every label and make sure nothing is hidden where it could make me sick.”
Old Favorites and Exciting New Offerings
The original “milk” chocolate bar that got the company going is still No Cow Chocolate’s most popular item. In addition, the chocolate Easter bunnies that were released this year quickly became the company’s seasonal best-seller.
One of Phillip’s personal favorites is their orange chocolate flavor, for very personal reasons. “I used to bring my dad chocolate covered oranges when I went to visit them from the SF Bay Area, as there was a farm store that was on my route. So the chocolate and orange combination makes me nostalgic for when I could visit my parents with a short drive instead of a long flight.”
She is also excited about a couple of new items that will released very soon. One is a new flavor, orange-cranberry bark, while the second is chocolate chips. In addition, the company planning to experiment with making salted caramels in 2016.
No Cow Loves Their Customer Feedback
For Phillips, the most rewarding feedback comes from kids who have never been able to enjoy chocolate because of dairy allergies. “We especially love helping those kids out for Easter, Halloween and Christmas as it’s no fun to feel left out,” Phillips said.
However, the feedback from adults has been very positive as well. One customer said “all of [the flavors] are smooth, melt-in-your-mouth, rich but not overly sweet.”
No Cow Chocolate products can be purchased online at www.nocowchocolate.com, and at several stores in Cedar Park, Texas and Austin, Texas. The Cedar Park stores are the Sweet Shack Candy Shop and Roaster Coffee Café, and the Austin Stores are Big Top Candy Shop and the Park n Ship at Avery Ranch.
Friends of the Food Allergy Community
Currently, No Cow Chocolate is offering a 10 percent promotional discount to MKFA readers who use the code MKFA10 for online purchases. The code may be used two times by each customer.