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Thursday, January 14, 2010

High Quality Dairy? Still a No.

Using local foods for baking? Fine with me. Finding only the best ingredients? Great. Saying that high-quality makes dairy okay? Whoa. That's just not so.

Lea Calderon-Guthe wrote an article on a new Vermont chocolate shop in the Middlebury College student weekly. She quoted Stephanie and Andy Jackson about their store.

The simplicity of Middlebury Chocolates' truffles stems mainly from its all-natural, mostly local ingredients.

The Jacksons use no refined sugar — only Vermont maple syrup and honey as sweeteners, and most of the truffles are made with coconut milk for a smoother texture and a lower dairy content so that they are more agreeable with dairy-sensitive diets like Andy and Stephanie's. Most truffles need butter, however, so the Jacksons still pay homage to the local dairy industry.

"They're not completely dairy-free, but the dairy quality up here is so high that we can handle it a lot better, actually," Andy said. "We also want to keep everything incredibly fresh and just nurture the natural flavors, and the best way to do that is to keep things as local as possible."

This is what I hope they meant. Butter is naturally low in lactose. If you use a dairy substitute to take most of the lactose out of the recipe, what remains in any given truffle would be low enough so that most people with lactose intolerance could undoubtedly have one with no symptoms. That would be true no matter what the quality of the dairy. (And how many chocolate gourmet truffles are made with low-quality butter in the first place?)

For those with dairy allergies, butter remains off limits, period. Same for vegans.

Quality is a good thing. I'm all for it. Quality is more an issue for our taste buds than for our intestines, however, which stubbornly persist in reacting to individual molecules. I'd have a truffle made with no dairy except lactose. I just wouldn't advice someone with an allergy to do the same.

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1 comment:

Andy Jackson said...

Great post, and I would certainly agree that those with lactose intolerance should steer clear of any dairy regardless of quality. In that particular quote, Stephanie and I were actually pertaining to our own struggles with dairy, which unfortunately stems from celiac... both of us actually have serious bodily opposition to dairy from cows that are raised on grains, whereas we are much more receptive to dairy from cows which are mostly grass-fed. In that regard, we have both noted a significantly higher tolerance (in general) for local dairy here in Vermont. I refer to it as "higher quality" dairy because, as most people will also note, dairy that comes from grass-fed cows simply tastes better and typically has better properties in reference to cooking or confections. This all may be beside the point as very few of our truffles contain any butter/dairy at all. Most of our truffles are 100% dairy free... feel free to contact me if you are interested in a complimentary sample.