Welsh handmade vegan chocolate from Cardiff. The range of chocolates available from producer Hipo Hyfryd is not your run of the mill stuff, but rather the unusual and unique. Rose and pistachio are normally found together in turkish delight, but here they're paired as a sort of praline filling.
Along with our sister site plantfoods.org we're reviewing chia seeds...Chia Bia seeds even. We've so far made chia gel, chia milk and chia tofu, but chia yoghurt was a no go...it just wouldn't culture.
The 'chifu' we made is very unusual...more gluten-like than tofu-like...but if anything we thought it was most like silly putty. We can't think of what to do with it as yet, but we suspect it might be useful in gluten-free baking as it's very elastic.
If you want to make it yourself, the instructions will soon be up on plantfoods.org, but in short you do this:
Vegan chocolate cereal bars from the people at Dorset Cereals, the premium breakfast muesli makers. These cereal bars are billed as 'decadently chocolatey' and are just under 10% chocolate. Rather than being a chocolate-coated cereal bar, these have the chocolate mixed with the cereals throughout the bar. The presentation of Dorset Cereals products is great...lots of shelf appeal...but do these bars justify their premium billing?
Our favourite tofu producer Taifun also makes sausages, cutlets, filets and steaks, all from the finest German tofu (made from German-grown organic soya beans). The latest line to hit chiller shelves in the UK is their Tofritto brand of tofu steaks. The product comes in two flavours, Cashew & Olives and Capers & Peppers. The steaks can be eaten cold but are best pan-fried until crispy. We fried up the Cashew & Olive steak for our review:
Vegan chocolate 'pringles' anyone? Aldi's Choceur brand of chocolate occasionally turns up some unexpected vegan treats. These minty chocolate waves take the form of Pringles, in a stack tube to match. They are simply very thin dark chocolate, flavoured with mint and peppered with crispy rice.
Fat Gay Vegan has launched a campaign to get more vegan options stocked in UK supermarket chain Sainsbury's, and we're right behind him. The focus is on getting Frys vegan range offered in the freezer section instead of just Quorn, which contains animal products. Sainsbury's has fallen behind Tesco in catering to the growing Free From market, especially in their range of vegan food, but neither retailer stocks Frys great vegan selection.
The Frys range includes burgers, sausages, mince, schnitzels, and chicken style products, all of which are really great tasting. We'd love to see them stocked at our local Sainsbury's
You can back the campaign by signing the online petition over at FGV.
We only recently ran our ice cream cone taste test but have now found another UK source of vegan cones for ice creams. Carousel were included in our original test with their sugar-free cones, but they also make these premium waffle cones which are vegan too. Unlike the other waffle cones we found, these ones are not gluten-free, but then they don't attract that 'Free From' premium price either. We grabbed some dairy-free ice cream and took these cones out for a taste test.
|Top: wheaty version - Bottom: tofu version|
Spacebar, the vegan meaty snack bar is now available gluten-free. The Spacebar range was previously based purely on wheat protein, but the makers have now brought out a tofu version. Topas are obviously keen to broaden the market appeal of the snack bar by addressing the large gluten-free market. We compared the tofu version with the wheaty version.
Levi Roots' vegan-labelled Reggae Reggae jerk sauce has made its way to the snack shelf. These bags of jerk flavoured peanuts and cashews also carry a vegan label. It's just as well for a bag of nuts with 47 ingredients...you wouldn't want to read the back of this pack in a hurry. The nuts appear to be dipped in the jerk sauce and then rolled in extra jerk seasoning. Do this many ingredients deliver on the flavour front?
More vegan white chocolate...we can't move for the stuff. Luna bars are the nutritional cereal bars aimed at women, from the Clif Bar company. Smaller and with fewer calories than Clif bars, these are still pretty hefty cereal bars. The white chocolate is no small part of this bar either...besides the decoration on the front there is a lovely thick dipped white choc coating on the bottom.
In a break from our white chocolate theme, we're going dark...beyond dark. We spotted these dairy-free chocolate drops in Holland & Barrett. They're not raw chocolate, which seems to be everywhere at the moment, but they are made in a special 'slow and gentle' roasting process which claims to preserve more antioxidants. They're certainly very dark to look at, but are they the drops of 'pure pleasure' promised on the packet?
Continuing with our dairy-free white chocolate theme for this week, today's review is Vantastic white chocolate spread. You'd use this in the same way as nutella-style spreads....on bread or toast. The German spread is available online and has a long shelf life thanks to a good proportion of fat and sugar. What's immediately odd about this stuff is....it has no chocolate ingredients whatsoever...
A choice of three dairy-free white chocolate bars is another sign of how vegan options have improved lately. Not too long back, non-dairy white chocolate was a novelty, but now Sweet William, Plamil and Organica are battling it out for your custom. As we like to do here at Veganoo, we unwrapped the three bars and put them to the Taste Test.
Long established organic brand Provamel has only recently made its way into the chiller cabinet in the UK. Their Intenz range of desserts are similar to their UHT range, but are sold as fresh and found in the fridge. The two pack desserts are available in chocolate and vanilla. Does the move from shelf to chiller improve the already great taste of Provamel's desserts?
It's camping season...the mosquitos are feeding, and hungry vegans are too. If you're travelling light, but you want to take more than some dried TVP in your backpack, then Wayfarer's pouches might be the answer. The boil-in-the bag ready meals come in lots of varieties, of which the vegetable curry and the spicy vegetable rigatoni are animal-free. The advantage over tinned food is not so much the weight, as the convenience of the tough but malleable pouch shape...and no washing up....
The next time you see a recipe calling for smoked tofu, ask yourself...which sort? The British style of smoked tofu...rubbery, coarse, bitter? Or the German style, ranging from the dry and tough to the moist and ham-like. You see, there are as many types of smoked tofu as there are producers. There is no accepted norm for what you'll get when you buy some. As to the question of quality, frankly some are better than others.
Recently arrived from the US, these vegan jerky strips come in a whole range of flavours. Some are based on soy and with others made from shiitake mushrooms. The shiitake ones contain wheat gluten, but the soy ones are labelled as gluten-free. Although there are vegan pepperoni-style snacks available in the UK, these are the first widely available vegan jerky strips we know of. We picked up the Hickory Smoked, Texas BBQ and Hot & Spicy strips for our review.
Gluten-Free recently 'beat the wheat' in our recent vegan ice cream cone taste test, so for this review we're doing it again...putting these gluten-free 'jammy wheels' up against wheat-based jammie dodgers. Both packs of biscuits (cookies for US readers) are vegan of course. The Prewetts biscuits are based on gluten-free oats and are slightly more 'wholemeal' looking than regular jammie dodgers. Can oats beat out wheat this time too?
If you're not familiar with mochi you're missing out. The japanese style glutinous rice cakes have an unusual texture and come in a whole range of flavours. The term mochi covers a wide range of glutinous rice cakes, and the sweet-filled ones such as these are 'daifuku' mochi. In the US you can find mochi ice cream balls, even vegan ones, but sadly not in the UK. What we can get here are brands such as 3 Uncle (from Taiwan) who produce several vegan types of mochi.
The German word 'grillen' is the equivalent of 'to barbecue' in British English, but 'to grill' in US English. In the US 'to barbecue' is to cook more slowly, which has no equivalent in the UK...it's something Brits don't really do. To compound this linguistic confusion, 'to grill' in the UK is the same as 'to broil' in the US. No wonder there is some doubt as to what Taifun mean with their English translation of 'Grill Sausages'.
Few new vegan products are greeted with the enthusiasm that has embraced the arrival of The Vegg - the vegan egg yolk that looks and tastes like egg yolk. Non vegans are probably imagining the product is a cocktail of artificial flavours, colours and thickeners, but the remarkable thing is...it isn't. The Vegg is a really simple mix of yeshi (nutritional yeast), sodium alginate (a seaweed extract) and black salt (a sulfur-rich salt). This simple powder makes a versatile egg substitute for vegans.
August is here already and if you're in the UK's East Midlands (or fancy a trip) you can look forward to Leicester Vegan Fair 2012 this month. The event takes place on Saturday August 11th at Avenue Primary School, just behind the University, running from 10:30am until 3:30pm.
Full details are on the fair's website leicesterveganfair.com with more on their facebook page
You can also follow them on twitter: @leicestervegans
If you want us to publicise your vegan event, follow us on twitter @veganoo and let us know
There's been a sudden influx of almond milk brands arriving in the UK. The latest is Almond Breeze from California almond growers Blue Diamond. What's interesting is that the new arrivals, including Alpro have settled on just 2% almond to water ratio. Established brand EcoMil uses a 7% ratio in their milk which is more in line with soya milk and rice milk. Does Almond Breeze suffer from it's low almond content?