Meet the Maker: Vermont Nut Free Chocolates

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Vermont Nut Free Chocolates allows the food allergy community to experience being a kid in a candy store. Started by allergy parents, Gail and Mark Elvidge, Vermont Nut Free Chocolates creates handmade chocolate, candy and baking products including fudge, truffles, holiday-themed molded chocolates, chocolate-covered pretzels, and more in their own dedicated nut-free facility. They’re one of our favorite allergy-friendly resources for Easter, and every other day of the year for snacking and baking. Join us for an Insta Live with CEO and Founder Mark Elvidge today (2-25-21) at 12 pm CT.

In partnership with our friends at

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For the Love of a Boy and Chocolate

We learned that our son was allergic to peanuts almost 30 years ago. Peanut-free chocolate in particular was something we couldn’t find—so Gail started making it at home. We took her chocolates to family gatherings and parties and everyone raved about how good it was. We started selling her chocolate online in 1998 to help other families who needed peanut- and tree nut-free chocolate. One of the first things she made was our delicious caramels. We still use the same recipe today and they are a family favorite!

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It’s Always Chocolate Season

We know holidays can be particularly challenging with sweets and chocolate often taking center stage at Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and Christmas. We expanded into holiday products and we are thrilled to be included in so many important family traditions. We often hear about young adults receiving their first heart-shaped box of truffles after not having been able to participate in Valentine’s Day candy exchanges as kids. 

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Easter Treats Without the Hunt

Easter is one of the most important times of the year for us. We know every parent wants to provide a safe Easter basket for their child and we love being the nut-free bunny! We make milk and dark chocolate Easter bunnies, jelly beans, cream-filled chocolate eggs, egg-shaped boxes of truffles and Easter baskets. Kids love our marshmallows on a stick, which are dipped in caramel, rolled in chocolate and coated in festive holiday-themed sprinkles. 

Do you have products for other allergies?

We’ve gotten a lot of requests to provide safe candy for other allergies, egg and wheat in particular. When we moved to a larger facility it gave us the opportunity to have a second production room where we could create products dedicated free of wheat and egg. We even installed separate heating, ventilation and air conditioning units to prevent airborne cross contamination. In this room, we produce our solid milk and dark chocolate, including our Easter bunnies, pops, lambs and crosses. Products made in this room are dedicated free of nuts, wheat, and egg. Note that these products will NOT carry the warning label about being made on shared equipment with wheat and egg as our other products do.

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Living Up To Our Name

Not only do we have our own nut-free facility, we also have a full time food safety and quality employee. She runs our stringent allergen program, including sourcing and testing to ensure our products are always nut free and safe for the families that rely on us.

Sourcing and Testing

Before we bring in raw ingredients, our vendors have to meet our criteria of being a nut-free facility as well. We also randomly test our finished products across all categories for peanuts monthly. We test for two tree nuts every month, rotating between ten different tree nuts annually.

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No Detail Too Small

We have strict rules against employees bringing in anything containing nuts. This isn’t limited to food, it also includes products like lotions containing a nut oil like almond, coconut, or shea. We don’t even allow anything in our facility that has a warning for potential cross contamination like shared equipment or facility. 

Creating Your Own Chocolate Factory at Home

We know firsthand that the allergy community bakes a lot, which is why we were excited to offer the baking products that we source and use in our nut-free chocolates. We sell dark, milk and white chocolate chips, cocoa powder, unsweetened baking chocolate and candy melts. We also have an extremely popular hot chocolate mix that pairs perfectly with homemade chocolate-chip cookies featuring our chips of course!

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Where can we buy VNF chocolate?

Our products are available on the Vermont Nut Free Chocolates site. We fill orders from all over the world—we recently sent an order to Japan!  We also ship year round using an insulated styrofoam shipping container and gel pack to keep the chocolate from melting when temperatures are at or above 70 degrees. We are also sold in about 600 retail stores nationwide, many of which are listed on our store locator

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