Does Ghiradelli Chocolate Have Gluten?

Broken milk chocolate bar set

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Finding gluten-free chocolate sources can sometimes be confusing, as most chocolate companies do not specifically identify their products as gluten-free. Part of the problem is that foods that are traditionally gluten-free are presupposed not to need such labeling, and only foods that have been altered to become gluten-free are often identified as gluten-free foods.

Chocolate and Gluten

Chocolate, by itself, does not contain gluten. Chocolate becomes non-gluten-free when added to ingredients to create other foods, such as chocolate bars. Because chocolate in its natural form has no gluten, Ghiradelli's products that contain only chocolate, such as cocoa powder, do not have gluten. Conversely, the company's candy bars may contain gluten. The Ghiradelli website does not specifically list its gluten-free products.

FDA Gluten-Free Definition

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines gluten-free food for the purposes of labeling as food that does not contain wheat, rye, barley or a crossbred hybrid of these grains. This would not include, of course, these grains if the gluten were removed, such as is the case with gluten-free wheat flour. The ingredients of Ghiradelli's products cannot be found on their own website, but can be found on the packaging. Keeping the FDA definition of gluten-free foods in mind, read Ghiradelli's individual product ingredient lists.

Checking Ingredient Lists

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The following Ghiradelli products all meet the FDA definition of gluten-free: 60 percent Cacao Bittersweet Baking Chips, Milk Chocolate Chips, Classic White Baking Chips and Sweet Ground White Chocolate. Ghiradelli's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips lists wheat flour as its first ingredient, thus cannot be deemed gluten-free. Ghiradelli's Unsweetened Cocoa Powder as well as its Premium Double Chocolate and Mocha Hot Cocoa Mixes meet gluten-free requirements, as does its Unsweetened Chocolate and Semi-Sweet Baking Bars. Several of the chocolate square products made by Ghiradelli do contain barley, thus there is a possibility of cross-contamination of equipment. The Ghiradelli website lists which of its products contain soy, milk and tree nuts, but does not post a gluten-free product list as of 2011.

Gluten-Free Recipes Using Ghiradelli Chocolate

Many websites host gluten-free recipes using Ghiradelli products. The Ghiradelli website lists gluten-free recipes using its ingredients as well. Yummly has a recipe for Chocolate Almond Berry Bark that uses Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips. Chicago Now has posted a reworked recipe for chocolate chip cookies from the back of a Ghiradelli Chocolate Chip bag. To make them gluten-free, non-glutenous ingredients are substituted for glutenous ones, and Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips are used. The Bread and Butterfly Blog has posted a recipe for birthday party chocolate cupcakes that are gluten-free using Ghiradelli's cocoa powder. Many recipes that have gluten can be reworked by substituting gluten-free ingredients for glutenous ones.