Something special for Christmas Day

Looking for a delicious alternative to Christmas pud on Christmas day? Love chocolate orange? Read on!

This Just Love vegan cake is a Terry’s chocolate orange lover’s dream! Not only that, just look at the beautiful presentation. The snowflakes and gold chocolate buttons make this cake a perfect centrepiece.

As you can see, the cake is covered with a layer of chocolate orange icing. There is no scrimping here, with it extending all the way around the sides as well as the top. It isn’t a thick layer, but is just the right amount. Inside, is yet more chocolate orange, with the cake being this flavour, too. The cake is lovely and moist and has a nice, light texture to it.

The flavour is quite rich, as you can imagine with the double chocolate orange! But this isn’t a bad thing. It just means that you can have a smaller slice – more to share with guests (or just a longer lasting treat if you are planning not to share).

Either way, if you are looking for a lactose free lovely dessert and are a chocolate lover, why not give it a try?

Purchased from: Tesco
Rating: 5/5

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Vegan Galaxy for Christmas?

If a nice big box of choccies is too much, or you are just after a smaller, stocking filler gift, then Galaxy’s vegan range is a good place to go. One bar in particular is the stand-out of the collection for me – Crumbled Cookie. I found this whilst on a trip to the all-new vegan aisle in Asda.

I will say straight away that if you are looking for this to taste exactly like a dairy bar of Galaxy, then you might be disappointed. Having said that, once you have got over that, I think you will appreciate the taste and texture of the chocolate they have created.

I always remember dairy Galaxy bars as being slightly more on the luxurious side of the chocolate continuum, and they have clearly worked hard to make sure this dairy free version is, too. It has a very silky, creamy texture to it, with lovely crunchy gluten free chocolate cookie pieces studded throughout.

The chocolate itself has a very nice flavour, too. Rich and not too sweet. It definitely has the taste of a dairy free ‘milk’ chocolate rather than dark chocolate. So good news if you still crave milk chocolate or prefer it to dark. It also has quite a nice hazelnut flavour to it, which seems to add to the creaminess.

It’s really good to get some more variety in the chocolate market, as dairy free chocolate has always been a bit plain in the past. As time goes on, it seems more and more companies are getting on board, which I think is good news for us lactase challenged chocoholics.

So, if you are looking for a luxurious chocolate-based stocking filler with a reasonable price tag, I would definitely recommend giving this one a try.

Purchased from: Asda

Rating: 5/5

Christmas is coming…vegan treats from Hotel Chocolat

Well, it is that time of year when you start to think about gifts for loved ones. Vegan or dairy free gifting is just getting better and better every year, but if you are still stuck for what to get the lactose free lovely in your life, look no further! I aim to bring some dairy free sparkle to Lockdown 2.0 and your Christmas gifting.

I was very excited when Hotel Chocolat announced it would be bringing out a box of chocolates. So excited I pre-ordered a box to try! In the dairy free gifting world, a good old fashioned mixed box of chocolates is a rare find indeed. Hotel Chocolat do have quite a few vegan chocolate specials throughout the year, but I hope this is one that will stay.

These come as an ‘H-box’ which is a smaller selection, or a ‘Sleekster’ which is a much bigger collection (that hopefully Santa will bring me, if he is not in quarantine). One important point to note is that both cost the same price as their dairy counterparts – regular followers of my blog will know this is something I am passionate about advocating for. Although the H-box is a smaller version, I don’t think it is possible to be disappointed with the selection and variety here.

Contained in the H-box are the following chocolate delights:

  • Simple Nutmilk
  • Pecan and Nutmilk
  • Salted caramel and Nutmilk
  • Raspberry and Nutmilk
  • Gianduja Bombe
  • 45% Nutmilk Baton
  • Ornage and Nutmilk Baton
  • Crunchy Peanut Butter and Nutmilk Buche

As you can see, this box of chocolates is very much part of the growing Nutmilk range, which creates a lovely creamy taste and texture without the dairy aspects of actual cream. Can you taste it? Yes, you can. But I would say on the whole it is subtle and goes well with all the flavours. My only slight disappointment would be the salted caramel, as I think this is the least perfect match. But, by no means is it inedible.

One of the other amazing things about this vegan H-box is the sheer differences in texture between the chocolates – definitely something I miss from having a box of chocolates before I found out I was lactose intolerant. The caramel is probably the closest in texture to ‘real’ caramel – smooth and flowing from the centre. In fact, I would say they have got it spot on. You also have the more truffle-like texture of the pecan and the gianduja bombe. The batons are pure, solid, silky-smooth chocolate and the buche brings some crunch to proceedings. I think the different textures are one of my favourite things about the collection.

Any problems with this amazing box of chocs? Only one. They won’t be around the house for long! I would definitely recommend treating the lactose free lovely in your life to a box of these for Christmas.

Rating – 5/5

Rocky Road! (V, DF, LF)

Vegan rocky road

Happy Veganuary! Being lactose intolerant, I absolutely love that more and more places get on board with Veganuary and vegan food more generally as it means more options when eating out. It’s a shame that lots of vegan products don’t make it past Veganuary, so I’m trying to try out a few and blog about them before they disappear. (Any excuse!)

Today, I decided to treat myself to lunch out, with it being a Friday and having being dieting recently. Everyone needs a treat now and then! Costa is really close to my workplace so I decided to pop along to see what was on offer.

I was a little disappointed that they didn’t have the vegan toastie that has been advertised but they did have this delicious rocky road.

One little warning – it is very sickly! But that never stops me and I did manage the whole thing, despite it being quite large. As regular readers of my blog will know, full-sized lactose free lovelies always get bonus points with me, as so often they are much smaller than their dairy counter parts.

The rocky road contained plenty of biscuit pieces, vegan marshmallows and raisins. Despite its lack of dairy, there was no lack of chocolate flavour. It had a very rich, creamy chocolate flavour to it and the fact it was nice and chunky gave it a great texture and chocolate hit. I loved the combination of this with the biscuit crunch. Although us lactose intolerants don’t need to avoid marshmallows, I think the inclusion of vegan marshmallows makes this a really good option for vegans seeking a sweet treat. The ones on this rocky road were really well made, with a nice soft texture and sweet taste.

All in all, this was a well thought-out and delicious product, which I would fully recommend! Sometimes, vegan/dairy free options can feel as though they are a poor cousin to their dairy counterparts, but this is definitely not the case here. Absolutely perfect for my Friday lunch time treat.

And all dairy free milk is currently free at Costa!

Rating – 5/5

Vegan Gu – but actually! (V, LF, DF, GF)

If you have been a follower of my blog for a while (thanks, wonderful people!), you will know that I am always finding substitutes for tasty Gu products. But now, Gu themselves have finally decided to give it a go and create a dairy free version for us lactose free lovelies and vegans.

I am glad they have taken time to get this right, as I had high expectations for this pud. Luckily, it lived up to all of them!

Cheesecake has always been a favourite dessert of mine and I do miss it since I have had to ditch dairy. This chocolate and vanilla version is spot on.

Whilst the cheesecake is made of a coconut cream substitute, it doesn’t taste overly coconut flavoured. The chocolate layer is lovely and thick, and works really well with the creamy layer underneath. As well as being vegan, the cheesecake is gluten free. The biscuit base has quite a buttery taste to it, but is probably more crumbly than you would normally expect in a cheesecake. However, still delicious, so no complaints here!

I’m also pleased to note that the Gu pots are the same size as a regular version, so no missing out. Its the perfect size, as quite rich and indulgent, as you would expect from our friends at Gu.

Here is hoping they bring out some more lactose free lovelies soon!

Rating: 5/5

Puddings and sweet treats galore! (V, LF, DF, GF)

Check out this lactose free lovely! A vegan hot chocolate made with oat milk and topped with soya whipped cream.

Today I met up with my friend in Nottingham for lunch. We then decided a dessert was required and decided to visit The Pudding Pantry.

https://www.thepuddingpantry.co.uk

I have been here a few times, and the range of lactose and dairy free goodies seems to grow each time. It has a very relaxed atmosphere and serves a range of light snacks, brunch, hot and cold drinks and puddings. Not everything is dairy or gluten free, but as I have already mentioned, there is a solid range.

This is my fully vegan dessert – a Biscoff gateau accompanied by vegan peanut butter and choc chip ice cream. As you can see, the portions of both are generous, and I couldn’t finish it, even though it was delicious! I think having this alongside the hot chocolate might have been a little too ambitious! I love the pretty china that is is served on as well.

My friend chose a banana sticky toffee pudding which was also vegan.


He said it was delicious, which is also a good endorsement from someone who does not intentionally avoid dairy. I thought I would include a picture even though I did not try it to illustrate the range available.

Neither of our desserts were gluten free, but there were gluten free options available, so something for everyone! Both soya and oat milk alternatives were available.

I shall definitely be visiting again…but maybe this time I will have to try and not cram in everything on the menu!!

Rating: 5/5

Perfectly dairy-free afternoon tea! (DF, LF)

Delicious afternoon tea – all for me!

Apologies for the picture on this one as it isn’t very clear. I hadn’t planned to put this on my blog, but then my partner suggested I did and I thought, why not?

Going for afternoon tea is one of my favourite things to do. Some friends suggested we go in the Easter holidays (we are all teachers) and we picked Dobbies Garden Centre. My friend booked and asked for one of the afternoon teas to be dairy free.

Now, it’s fair to say that I have had my fair share of disappointment when it comes to having my dietary requirements met during afternoon tea. The worst I came across was a Christmas afternoon tea where they gave me a hot cross bun (gluten free) instead of a scone! And scones are my favourite part of afternoon tea! So I was wondering how this one would turn out.

I was pleasantly surprised by my experience and would recommend Dobbies for a lactose free afternoon tea!

There was a good selection of cakes, including a meringue with some kind of dairy free cream (may have been buttercream) and berries, which had obviously been put together especially for me. As you might be able to see, there was also a dairy free millionaires shortbread and a chocolate cake – both delicious. Most importantly, I was provided with scones and jam which were perfect, and not a random hot cross bun in sight! Staff came to ask which sandwiches would be appropriate for me and I had a lovely selection from the fillings I told them I could eat. Soya milk available for my tea as well, which was great as I had forgotten to bring my supply with me on this occasion.

Although I did not ask for a gluten free afternoon tea, I would be confident in asking for this if I needed it due to the care and attention paid to my requirements for dairy free. Often, dairy free/gluten free meals out can feel second rate, but I can say with confidence that it’s not the case here.

So, enjoy a lovely lactose free afternoon tea at Dobbies, complete with delicious scones!

Rating: 5/5

Happy healthy tummies!

20180608_1854021932521224535180651.jpg

20180608_1854186579966659891245216.jpg The dairy free of the Yakault world!

Having had IBS for most of my life, one of the things that often gets recommended is probiotics. I am no expert in this at all, but safe to say that the dairy versions of yoghurt drinks containing probiotics are not suitable for me. I’ve tried probiotic capsules, but I find I never keep up with them.

In Sainsburys, I came across Biomel, which is a dairy free probiotic drink, so I thought I would give it a go.

Originally, you could only get plain and dark chocolate, but recently I have tried a salted caramel one, too. Personally, I like the chocolate one best. I wasn’t keen on the plain one and the salted caramel one is a bit sweet for my taste. But at least with a few different flavours in the range you can try them and see which you like best!

I haven’t been using these long enough to know if they are having an effect yet. I bought some recently as I am having some tummy troubles, despite my low fodmap diet and exercise. I would also caution the cost – they are quite expensive and can only be bought individually. However, it is nice to see that us lactose free (and vegan) lovelies are being thought of with our gut health at last! Let’s hope this catches on and more affordable options become available.

Swedish Glace caramel toffee cones. (DF, V, LF, GF)

What can I say?  I can’t resist an ice cream.  I have always been a lover of ice cream in the summer and I remember enjoying ice cream as a child from the ice cream van, or at the seaside.  As I got older and became diagnosed with lactose intolerance, finding ice cream I could eat became a rare treat, especially when I was first diagnosed, and the market for vegan treats was not as strong as it is today.  It seems that every year, new ice creams for us lactase challenged people are hitting the market, and I, for one, am always at the front of the queue to try them out!!

I came across these decadent cones in Tesco, and thought they would be worth a try, especially as I rate Swedish Glace ice cream in general for its creamy taste.  Although I was initially put off by the price, when I thought about it, I realised that they were not badly priced at all when compared with their cows’ milk counterparts, especially considering dairy free usually equals hilariously expensive!

The quality of the ice creams are totally worth it, anyway.  As can be seen from the picture, they are a chocolate-filled waffle cone (gluten free as well, bonus points), filled with toffee-flavoured ice cream and a caramel sauce centre.  The top of the ice cream is covered in a nice layer of dark chocolate.  The flavours go so well together, and the toffee ice cream has a lovely taste to it.  The sauce inside is quite generous, and adds another texture and flavour, as well as a bit more sweetness to it.  Even thought the cone is gluten free, it still tastes good, and for those who are not gluten free, you would not notice that this is a substitute.  I was quite pleased with the size of the ice cream, too, as often dairy free ones can be a bit on the small size, but there is enough here to satisfy a sweet tooth.

These also come in a strawberry flavour, with vanilla ice cream and a strawberry sauce.  This flavour it also nice, but personally, I prefer the toffee ones.

A perfect summer treat, and hopefully one that is here to stay!

Rating: 5/5

Hotel Chocolat – Classic hot chocolat (LF, DF)

I thought I would continue on the theme of hot chocolate for my first post of the year.  I was lucky enough to receive some for Christmas.

Purchased from: Hotel Chocolat

Dairy/lactose free: Dairy free.  I cannot see any gluten or dairy containing ingredients on the list, however, it does not say vegan or gluten free on the packaging, so please use caution if these things apply to you.

Description of product: Flakes of 70% dark cocoa hotel chocolat chocolate, which you can stir into hot milk to create a hot chocolate.

My review:

I was excited about trying this hot chocolate, especially as I love pretty much all things hotel chocolat, including a hot chocolate which I had when I visited Liverpool – here is the link if you want to check out my review of that:

Hotel Chocolat (DF, LF, V, GF)

The hot chocolate mix that I received was probably quite similar to this.  I loved that the mix was little flakes of chocolate, as it gave it a really luxurious and special feel to it, and makes it stand out from the usual powders that you buy.

I mixed mine with soya milk, which is my go-to milk alternative.  However, at their café, Hotel Chocolat use coconut milk, so I am sure it would work just as well with that.  In addition, because it is one you add to milk you could just as easily add it to cows’ milk for a friend who does consume dairy, or lactofree milk if you are lactose intolerant but prefer the taste of cows’ milk.

Once mixed, it does make for a delicious hot chocolate.  It has that rich chocolate taste which you associate with Hotel Chocolat and a great texture where it melts into the milk. As this is a dark hot chocolate, it does have a slightly less sweet taste than you might be used to.  If, like me, you are a bit of a dark chocolate addict, I don’t think you will find it problematic!  But if you have more of a sweet tooth, add some regular or vegan marshmallows, depending on your preference, and you will enjoy it just as much. (Tried and tested!!)

As regulars to my blog will know, I like to keep it positive and only add products that I have tried and enjoyed.  Whilst I cannot fault this hot chocolate in taste or texture, there were just a few logistical downsides which I feel I must mention.

As you can see from the picture, the hot chocolate comes in a cylindrical container.  Inside, the flakes ae kept in a small plastic packet.  Getting the flakes out of this packet can be a little bit tricky and a bit messy!  In addition, the instructions are quite precise about how to make it up.  This does make it a little more time consuming than I would like.

So, as long as you have plenty of time, I would highly recommend this hot chocolate.  I have enjoyed having it as my bed time drink.

Rating: 5/5