The first story I ever wrote for Barista Kids was a “Guide to a Peanut-Free Montclair.” My oldest daughter was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy at 2.5-years-old, so I know a lot about peanut allergies–unfortunately. When your kid has a life-threatening allergy, you school yourself on how to keep her safe.
I’m very conservative when it comes to what she’s allowed to eat. Because of the severity of her allergy, cross-contamination is a threat. That means that, in addition to not being able to eat foods WITH peanuts, she also cannot eat anything made in a facility that processes peanuts/tree nuts. For those that don’t know, peanuts and tree nuts are different. Peanuts are a legume, not a nut, but they are often processed together, so that makes tree nuts off limits too. If something doesn’t have a label on it, she doesn’t eat it.
That goes for things that she has eaten before. Sometimes companies switch where they manufacture a certain product. A brand of cookies might have been safe before, but now they are being manufactured in a facility that also processes peanuts. Now they become off limits.
It stinks. Especially when she can go someplace and then they add peanut products on the menu making it unsafe. This just happened at Rita’s Ice. It was one of the couple of places she could go for a cool treat and she loved it. But last week, my husband took her for an ice only to discover a sign letting custumers know they have added Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, Reese’s Pieces and a Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice to the menu. It warned of possible cross-contamination. My daughter was so sad, she even sent the company an email. They answered her back, but it was just to say this is the new menu and they are sorry for for the disappointment it caused her.
She used to be able to enjoy Dunkin’ Donuts too. Man how she could put those Munchkins down. But when they decided to add a peanut butter cookie to their menu, it made good old DD off-limits.
Part of living with a food allergy is to learn how to work through disappointment, and although I’m upset that they decided to add PB to the menu, we can’t expect others to cater to the small percentage of people with allergies.
Thankfully, there are many places that do cater to those with allergies. Here’s our updated guide to a Peanut-Free Baristaville:
626 Valley Road|
Bakes everything on the premises and use peanut-free/ tree nut-free ingredients, including Vermont nut-free chocolate and peanut-free icing, sprinkles and coloring.
187 Maplewood Avenue
Peanut-free baked goods (though not tree-nut free) Also has a daily selection of gluten-free items.
286 Essex Street
Completely peanut and tree nut free, down to every last ingredient.
206 Bellevue Avenue
Montclair, NJ, 07043
Completely peanut-free, but not nut-free.
Offers gluten-free treats.
Sells some Vermont Nut-Free Chocolates products, such as Skippers (a safe version of M&Ms, and baking chips)
100 Watchung Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07043
Completely peanut and tree nut free.
110 Walnut Street
Montclair, NJ 07042
358A Millburn Ave
Both locations are peanut free, but not tree nut free.
701 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair, NJ, 07042
235 Prospect Avenue, West Orange, NJ
Carries these great brands:
- Enjoy Life Foods – gluten and allergen-free cookies, cereal bars, granola and chocolate.
- Cherrybrook Kitchen – Baking mixes, frosting and cookies that are peanut/nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and vegan. They also sell gluten-free mixes.
- Yummy Earth – organic, peanut-free, nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free lollipops and gummy bears.
- SunButter – delicious alternative to peanut butter, which taste almost exactly the same.
623 Valley Road
Montclair, NJ, 07043
Carry a small section of peanut-free / nut-free chocolates from Divvies company.
- Stuck On You makes great vinyl labels.
- Jeeto makes cute allergy stickers for lunchboxes, backpacks and more.
- Fiddledee ID bracelets sell really cute medical alert bracelets for kids.
- Vermont Nut-Free Chocolate sells delicious chocolate for gifts, baking and more. They also make great jelly beans.
I hope this guide helps. If you have a great resources for kids with peanut allergies, please share them in comments!
(Photo: Jeeto peanut allergy t-shirt)