ichoc White Vanilla Vegan chocolate (DF, LF, V)

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Purchased from: The Natural Food Company, Nottingham

Dairy/lactose free: Dairy free

Description of product: Dairy free and vegan white chocolate alternative

My review:

The range of dairy free chocolate on the market is always expanding.  It seems to be improving all the time as companies work out how to recreate favourites in a dairy free or vegan format.  However, the world of dairy free white chocolate is largely under represented.

I have tried a few attempts at white chocolate, but for some reason, this seems a difficult flavour to recreate. I came across this version in my favourite health food shop and decided to give it a go.

At the moment, I can’t say this tastes exactly like white chocolate, because it doesn’t.  But I enjoyed the flavour and was quite impressed with it, especially relative to other chocolates I have tried. I would definitely recommend giving it a try if you are a fan of white chocolate or just fancy a change from your regular types of vegan chocolate.

The flavour is quite sweet, and has a definite addition of vanilla, which adds another depth to the taste.  You can tell that it is modelled on the flavour of white chocolate, and they have come quite close to recreating this.

The texture was really impressive.  I found it quite creamy and it melted in your mouth like a cows’ milk alternative would.  In fact, when letting the chocolate melt in your mouth, it almost gave a different flavour to it, and intensified the taste.

Although the chocolate is quite sweet, which I perhaps wouldn’t normally appreciate, the flavours do work well together.  It is nice to have an alternative to dairy free ‘milk’ chocolate and dark chocolate and I look forward to seeing this area of vegan chocolate develop further.

Rating: 4/5

 

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Best Day Ever! (Vegan Ben and Jerry’s) (DF, LF, V) 

Whether you have always had to avoid dairy, or if you are newly diagnosed as lactose intolerant or switched to a vegan lifestyle, luxury ice cream can be lacking.

A few years ago, I learnt that Ben and Jerry’s were planning to release a vegan version of their delicious ice cream. I was diagnosed lactose intolerant as an adult, so fully appreciate the joy that this ice cream brand can bring!

A few years waiting for it to be released in the UK has felt like a lifetime, and I launched a major operation to hunt down and try it out at the earliest opportunity. I was so excited to discover that the wait is finally over when I visited my local Tesco.

There are three vegan flavours available, however,  unfortunately there was only one flavour left in Tesco. So this is my review of ‘Chunky Monkey non-dairy’. But I shall be checking back regularly for the other ones!

Purchased from: Tesco

Dairy/lactose free: Dairy Free

Description of product: A banana-flavoured ice cream made with almond milk, studded with dark chocolate chunks and walnut pieces.

My review:

I will start by saying that I have allowed a few select people to try out some of my precious ice cream stash – none of them dairy free in any way – and they have all said the same thing: “You wouldn’t know it is dairy free!”  I start with this because you may wish to share yours with someone special.  In addition, if you have not always been dairy free, you may remember cows’ milk based alternatives.  If this is the case, at least you know you will not be disappointed.

The ice cream has a really good texture to it.  Thick, creamy and melts just like regular ice cream.  There is no shortage of goodies in the ice cream, either.  They have added plenty of dark chocolate and walnuts to the mix, so you definitely don’t feel short-changed in this respect.  It gives the ice cream a delicious mix of smooth and crunchy textures together – something that is missing in other dairy free ice creams.

Onto the flavour.  It has a very strong banana flavour to it, so if this isn’t your favourite, it may be worth avoiding it.  The taste of the banana works really well with the dark chocolate and walnut pieces, and gives it a real luxury feel.

Personally, I feel that luxury and variety are the two things missing from dairy free brands.  This is why I am so excited to welcome Ben and Jerry’s to the market.  However, my only criticism is one that you would expect, given the price of the cows’ milk alternative, in that it is expensive.  But for a treat, it is worth the hefty price.

Rating: 5/5

 

Rule of Crumb Chocolate Eclairs (DF, LF, GF)

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Purchased from: Sainsburys

Dairy/lactose free: Dairy free

Description of product: Gluten free pastry filled with dairy free cream and covered in a layer of chocolate sauce

My review:

On my travels around the various supermarkets, health food shops and other outlets that may sell diary free treats, I have seen a few versions of gluten free cream cakes and goodies.  However, until now, I haven’t encountered a dairy free ‘cream’ cake.

I picked these up in the free from freezer section of Sainsburys, and had a glance over them, not for one minute thinking they would be dairy free.  So I was very excited to discover that they were and had to buy them for this reason alone!

The box contains six quite small eclairs, which need defrosting at room temperature for about 90 minutes before eating.

I was really impressed with the overall flavour and texture of these cakes.  The taste of the pastry, cream and chocolate worked really well together.  The texture of the cream was quite light.  Although the cream had a slightly neutral taste, it was by no means so bland that you couldn’t taste it.  I felt that the pastry itself had a good flavour, and was close to what you would imagine a ‘real’ choux pastry to taste like.  The texture of it was also good, as gluten free cakes can often be quite dry.  This was certainly not the case with these ones.  The layer of chocolate was fairly thick and added a nice sweetness to the overall taste.

I would definitely recommend these eclairs for anyone who is gluten or dairy free and needs a cream cake fix!

Rating: 5/5

Thank Crunchie it’s Friday! (DF, V, LF)

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Purchased from: The Natural Food Company, Nottingham

Dairy/Lactose free: Dairy free and suitable for vegans

Description of product: ‘Honeycomb’ covered in dark chocolate.  Like a dairy free Crunchie

My review:

As dairy free chocolate is usually so expensive, I often reserve it as a Friday treat.   And what better Friday treat than a Crunchie?  However, when you are dairy free or vegan, this isn’t always an option.  But this delicious alternative is perfect for when you need a little pick-me-up at the end of the week!

I was really impressed with this chocolate bar as a substitute.  There is a really good amount of the ‘honeycomb’ centre and the size and thickness of the bar is quite generous.  The taste and texture are very similar to a Crunchie in my opinion, except the centre is probably a little more dense.  There is a satisfying crunch as you bite into it.

It is covered in a layer of dark chocolate which complements the filling really well and balances out the sweetness of it.  My only criticism would be that the chocolate is quite a thin layer, and as a bit of a self-confessed chocolate fiend, I would like to see the covering a little thicker.

All in all, though, the perfect treat for a Friday snack!

Rating: 5/5

Tesco Chocolate Melting Middle Puddings (DF, LF, GF)

 

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If you have become dairy free recently and miss Gu, this one is for you!

Purchased from: Tesco

Dairy/lactose free: Dairy free, but not suitable for vegans

Description of product: A gluten free chocolate cake dessert, with a melt-in-the-middle chocolate sauce.

My review:

Luxury desserts are hard to come by when you are dairy free.  Additionally hard if you want to avoid gluten as well.  Sometimes this is just what you want when you are entertaining, or if you just want a really special treat.

I was initially disappointed when I opened the puddings as they seemed quite small in size.  However, these melting middle puddings are very rich and chocolatey in taste, and the size is probably about right.

They are very easy to cook, as they just need to be popped into the microwave for a few seconds.  I originally wondered if this would be long enough, but it really was the perfect amount of time to keep the middle nice and gooey.

The flavour of these puddings is amazing.  You wouldn’t know they are dairy and gluten free, and you could serve them up to anyone without them guessing.  They have a lovely light texture, and the melting chocolate in the middle really is a delicious treat and nice contrast to the light cake.  They have a strong chocolate flavour to them, and are very rich.  I think they would taste delicious with cream, too!

As I initially said, if you miss Gu, these are for you!  My friends and I absolutely love Gu at a get together, and I really hate missing out on this treat.  These melting middle puddings are 100% the closest dairy and gluten free things I have found to my beloved Gu.

Rating: 5/5

Valsoia soya ice cream (DF, LF, GF)

With the weather warming up, I have found a delicious new ice cream to enjoy.

Purchased from: Ocado

Dairy/lactose free: Dairy free

Description of product: A tub of dairy free vanilla and chocolate ice cream

My review:

The texture of this ice cream is fantastic.  It is light, airy and easy to scoop from the tub.  It isn’t hard at all.  The chocolate ice cream has little pieces of chocolate studded into it.

I like the fact that you get two different flavours of ice cream in the tub.  This means you don’t have to choose between buying one flavour over another.  You also get to combine the flavours if you wish to create a dessert, or just have two flavours of ice cream in a cone!  When dairy free can equal expensive, its nice to be able to get two flavours for the price of one.

I usually don’t enjoy chocolate dairy free ice cream, as I don’t find the flavour that nice.  I was pleasantly surprised to try this one.  It has a very rich chocolate taste and I particularly enjoyed the little pieces of chocolate embedded in it.  There was a nice creamy flavour to it, and tastes very similar to a dairy chocolate ice cream.  The vanilla ice cream tends to be my favourite dairy free flavour.  This one is also delicious.  It has a nice creamy taste to it and quite a subtle vanilla flavour.  The two go really well together and complement one another nicely.

Rating: 5/5