Vegan chocolatiers mix candy for healthy snack alternatives

No Cow No How owners Scott and Sandy Phillips make vegan chocolates in their Liberty Hill-based business. (Brenda Young Photo)

No Cow No How owners Scott and Sandy Phillips make vegan chocolates in their Liberty Hill-based business. (Brenda Young Photo)

By Brenda Young

When Scott Phillips decided to give his wife dairy-free chocolates last year as a gift, he had no idea the occasion would go beyond simply satisfying her sweet tooth–it would also open the door to a new business for the husband and wife duo.

Since she is allergic to dairy products, Scott presented his wife, Sandy, with an edible gift that included a recipe, and Sandy says she began experimenting with a variety of flavored, specialty chocolates and took them to work.  Her co-workers were so impressed they suggested she make more chocolates to sell and distribute so everyone could enjoy the healthy candy.

That’s how their Liberty Hill business, No Cow No How, got its start.

“We opened for business last year and started the commercial kitchen in August,” Phillips said. “All of our chocolates are certified vegan, and it’s all dairy, gluten and soy-free.”

The couple oversees their chocolate operation in addition to both managing jobs outside the kitchen, but they hope this new venture will one day lead them to full-time operation for No Cow No How.

“We discovered the recipe kind of by accident,” Mrs. Phillips said. “Scott gave me a Valentine’s present last year for a dairy-free crème egg recipe, and as I made it, the chocolate solidified, and I thought ‘Oh wow, a dairy-free magic show.’ From there, I started playing with it from scratch and started adding my own flavor to it.”

All the chocolates are made in a dedicated kitchen, which means they are free of the top eight allergens many people are restricted from eating such as dairy, nut, tree nut, soy, egg, fish and shell fish products.

“The reason we’re in Liberty Hill is it was the only place where we could find a dedicated kitchen. Every place we looked at in Austin required us to share it with someone who was making something with either gluten, dairy or both. This was really the only facility where we could keep it dedicated and have total control of who comes in and out of the building to ensure that our standards are met,” said Mrs. Phillips.

“Plus, we just like Liberty Hill,” her husband added.

The couple says their chocolate brings out all the flavors without adding a tart flavor, preservatives or acidity, and the end result is a chocolate experience that may not be calorie free but does provide a natural, satisfying taste that prevents over indulgence.

“One bar and you’re done — there’s no need to eat the whole box,” he  said. The couple says the lack of fillers and preservatives leaves consumers eating less with more flavor to enjoy.

Certified vegan and otherwise healthy candy alternatives are not something candy lovers often find in stores, the Cedar Park couple said. Flavored varieties of candy bars are typically found in dark rather than milk chocolate, but that’s another bonus of the No Cow No How brand that makes this milk chocolate product so rare to find in most retail outlets.

“I think right now a lot of people are realizing that soy has what they call phytoestrogens, so it pretends to be an estrogen in your body and messes with your hormones and systems, so the awareness of that is picking up at the moment,” Mrs. Phillips said.

All three flavors are sold as bars that weigh 1.86 ounces or chocolate discs that weigh one-half ounce. The website, www.nocownohow.com, offers candy packaged for daily treats as well as special occasion gifts. Orders are shipped domestically Monday through Thursday each week to provide the freshest product available.

The product list currently includes regular milk chocolate, mint and orange and will soon be joined in mid-May by three new flavors that include fig, strawberry and raspberry.

No Cow No How chocolates are also sold locally at three retail outlets including Emma’s Treasures in Liberty Hill, Roasters Coffee House in Cedar Park and the New World Gelato stores in Williamson and Travis counties.

More information about the certified vegan chocolates is available on the website.