Does this have gluten in it?

“What about chocolate chips?”


Recently, I received this question at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness  Ask-the-Nourish-Chef.


Learning how to read a label for gluten containing ingredients is one of the first survival skills people with gluten intolerance need to master. Look for the obvious-wheat, rye, barely, and most oats. Then the less obvious.


Think about the manufacturing process. Cross contamination during manufacture is an important consideration.

I went to my cupboard to look at the label on 60% cacao bittersweet Ghirardelli chocolate chips. It looked good. No gluten there.


Ingredients: Unsweetened chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, milk fat, soy lecithin.

Manufactured on the same equipment that also makes products containing milk.             

Made in a facility the uses peanuts and tree nuts. 


Because I was responding to a consumer question, I wanted to be sure about all their kinds of chocolate chips. The website did not provide any ingredient or allergen information. No FAQ page either. So I called the company. In this instance, I had to leave a message. I encourage all of you to regularly call manufacturers. Do not be shy. Ask them if their product is gluten free and how they manufacture their products. And  please, put this information on their websites. Sometimes you want to check something at 10pm on a Thursday night. Especially when it comes to chocolate.


A company representative called me back the same day and told me over the phone the following information. It was a lot to take in. So I asked that she email me the specifics and she helpfully provided the following information.


Thank you for contacting Ghirardelli Chocolate. In June 2008, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company started production of a new milk chocolate bar, Luxe Milk Crisp, which has a product containing barley malt as an ingredient.


As a result, the line on which our chocolate bars and squares are produced, will now share a common line with barley gluten.



The chocolate chips (60% Bittersweet, Semi-Sweet, Milk Chocolate, 58% Gourmet, 72% Gourmet, and 100% Gourmet) line and powder line (hot chocolates and baking cocoas) will remain free of gluten ingredients. 


As mentioned on the phone, our Classic White chips are produced in a separate facility which is not gluten-free.


Ghirardelli takes the following measures to reduce cross contamination on our production lines: lines are cleaned between the changing from one product to the next and the first two batches of any product made are disposed of and not packaged.

It is interesting to me to see how companies handle potential cross contamination. Having dedicated gluten free facilities is the safest. But I feel comfortable when I speak with knowledgeable staff and know company policies. In this case, I especially like knowing that the first two batches are disposed of.  

Please excuse me now. I need to put a handful of those gluten free dark chocolate chips directing into my mouth and let them melt slowly. Mmmm.

42 Gluten Free Flours


Grain and seed flours

1. Amaranth

2. Buckwheat

3. 4. 5. Corn

also known as (aka) masa harina. Corn flour can be white, yellow or blue

6. Montina

aka Indian rice grass.

7. Mesquite

8. Millet

9. Oatmust be certified gluten free to prevent cross contamination with glutinous grains.

10. Quinoa

11. 12. 13. Rice-white, brown, and sweet-aka glutinous (but there is no gluten in it).

14. Sorghum

15. 16. Teff-brown or ivory


Bean flours

17. Black bean

18. Chickpea- aka garbanzo and chana dal

19. Fava

20. Great northern

21. Lentil

22. Navy bean

23. Red kidney bean

24. Pea- green and yellow

25. Pinto bean

26. Soybean

27. White bean

28. Yellow split pea


Nut flours

29. Almond

30. Cashew

31. Coconut

32. Hazelnut

33. Pecan

34. Chestnut

35. Macadamia

36. Walnut


Veggie or fruit flours

37. Plantain

38. Potato

39. Sweet potato



40. Potato

41. Corn

42. Tapioca- aka cassava, manioc, and yucca.




There is no reason to get bored, baking or eating gluten free. You could spend a lifetime experimenting with the flavors and behaviors of each, and the infinite combinations. Many gluten free baked goods are best with a blend of flours to highlight the best features of each. There are many convenient commercial blends available now. They can be substituted for glutinous flour cup for cup.


Or be adventurous and make pancakes or waffles with any new single flour you want to try. Use 100% of that flour to learn what it alone brings to the table. You will see if it makes a thin, puffy or sticky batter. What color it is raw and cooked. Taste the batter and the finished product. They cook up light, dense, thin, thick, crispy, soft, dry, moist, gummy, sweet, bitter, nutty, toasty, and a rainbow of colors. Each of these characteristics is desirable at times.  


You could learn about world cuisines too. While unknown to many Americans, sorghum and teff are staple grains in Africa. Latin America is home to quinoa. Both are nutritional powerhouses.


My preference is for whole grain, bean, nut and veggie flours instead of refined starches. They offer full flavor, vitamins and minerals. And are higher in protein.


Tell us which is your favorite. What wonderful things have you made with usual flours?