Guittard offers peanut-free chocolate
Baking chips have become a problem as late, as first Hershey and then Nestle added warnings for potential cross-contamination. I suspect the warnings should have been there all along, but that's another matter.
It left me with only the local store brand as an option. I felt fairly comfortable with that from a safety standpoint, though it was disappointing to no longer be able to make confections such as seven-layer bars or varieties of baking-chip based fudge.
This weekend, though, Guittard crossed my eye. No peanut warning on any of varieties of chips at my local Save Mart: Milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, mint, cappuccino and butterscotch.
Ever the skeptic, I checked the Web site on the off chance the company produced some other product not carried in my local store that could result in peanuts creeping into the chips.
The answer: Absolutely nothing. In fact, the company even addresses the issue in a letter posted on its Web site: "Guittard does not process or handle peanuts in our facility." The company does use almonds, but on a segregated line.
Even better: The company makes a variety of chocolate wafers and chocolate bars as well, and those are sold on the Web site. It's a premium product at a premium price -- $2.89 for a two-ounce bar -- but at least it's safe. The chips are not cheap either -- $3.29 but on sale this weekend for $2.99, but frankly, I don't care. The extra safety is worth the extra change.
The bad news: The baking chips are not sold online and, because it's a California company, availability might be limited in other states. The company can be reached at 800-468-2462 and there's a contact form on the site if you want to contact officials and lobby them.
Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.