Just in time for Halloween, my friends at Sun Cups sent a sampling of their nut- and gluten-free “peanut butter” cups. Now, I do have Celiac disease and a shellfish allergy but do not have any nut allergies. I do have friends with nut allergies and I always have nothing but respect for them trying to navigate safely in a nut-filled world. I know I was amazed to learn some of the sneaky places that nuts can crop-in and much like gluten seem to be in pretty much everything (and that’s not even accounting for cross-contamination risks).
I was intrigued when Sun Cups reached-out to me and have to say I was a bit apprehensive because, well, I love peanut butter cups and wondered what a sunflower seed butter cup would taste like. Would it be one of those “alternatives” that kind-of/sort-of (but not really) tastes like the real thing? Answer: Absolutely not!
Being a label reader, the first thing you’ll notice is the ingredients. You can 100% easily identify all of them because they are REAL. Imagine that – chocolates that use real, honest to goodness ingredients. Best of all they keep it simple with just a few carefully (and more importantly responsibly) sourced ingredients. Aside from being certified gluten-free by the Celiac Sprue Association, they are also Non-GMO Project Verified, and ingredients are either Rainforest Alliance Certified or organic. Very nice indeed.
So on to the taste test. First up was the Dark Chocolate Cups. I love all things dark chocolate and was looking forward to trying these. When you unwrap the cup you’ll notice that these are solid. None of that oily sticking to the paper wrapper ripping the middle out like a certain mass manufactured peanut butter cup that shall remain nameless. Sun Cups are enrobed in a thick shell that makes them a treat to bite into. Once through the chocolate shell you notice a fantastically smooth and creamy sunflower seed filling that is actually better than any peanut butter cup I have come across. The mild flavor of the sunflower seeds pairs perfectly with the rich cocoa notes of the dark chocolate. The filling also has that familiar every-so slightly saltiness that you look for in a traditional peanut butter cup.
Next up was the Dark Chocolate Mint Cups. Another unique feature about the flavored cups is that the flavors are blended into the sunflower seed butter center. I was expecting a layer of mint but instead was rewarded with a wonderfully blended center that packed a peppermint punch courtesy of organic peppermint oil. Nothing goes better with dark chocolate than mint in my opinion and these cups did not disappoint.
If chocolate and caramel is your thing then Sun Cups has you covered as well. Their Milk Chocolate Caramel Cups are the perfect blend of sweet milk chocolate paired with a rich caramel/sunflower seed butter center. The cream is caramel perfection with the slight salty kick you look for in a good caramel. These were one of my personal favorites.
Last, but certainly not least, is the original and more traditional Milk Chocolate Cup. These have the same delicious milk chocolate as the caramel cups but feature a plain sunflower seed butter center. Milder in flavor than its darker counterpart these are as close to those “other” peanut butter cups as I have ever come across and there is neigh a peanut in sight – so that really says something.
So as Halloween approaches (like you need an excuse for good chocolate), whether you are food allergic or not, I highly recommend giving Sun Cups a try. These are just great chocolates that happen to be nut- and gluten-free.