Review: Barrow Boys Potato Crisps

Vegan Cheese & Onion and 5 other flavours. We finally got our hands on Barrow Boys vegan crisps at WMVF after having chased them since August. Barrow Boys promised to ship us some for review but they never arrived (never mind guys, we forgive easily with a pack of vegan cheese and onion in hand). Ethical Treats were able to supply us with all the flavours except Bombay Spice...that's Simply Salted, Salt & Vinegar, Sweet & Sour, Hickory BBQ and of course...Cheese & Onion:

Review: Shambhu's Cheesecakes

Another one from our #WMVF haul...vegan cheesecake from Shambhu's. We've been waiting a while to get our hands on these so we were glad to see them on the One Earth Shop's stall. There are three flavours available - mixed berry, choc orange and mint-choc chip. We picked up the mixed berry initially...intending to go back for the others:

Review: Daisys Marshmallows (coconut malibu)

Daisys Vegan Marshmallows

Part of our WMVF hoard was a tub of Daisys vegan marshmallows in Coconut & Malibu flavour. That flavour description was all we needed to hand over our cash and squirrel these away for review. Daisys is an artisan producer of gelatine-free marshmallows run by Lynda Marshall who sells the marshmallows to raise funds for animal rescue:

Liveblog: West Midlands Vegan Festival

WMVF West Midlands Vegan Festival 2012 - Wolves Civic

The sun always shines on vegan festivals this year and #WMVF is no exception. The atmosphere here in Wolverhampton is great, and that's just the queue to get in! We're outside the beautiful Wolves Civic building which is glistening in the autumn sunshine.

New Vegan Biscuits: Maryland Snapjacks Review

Burtons Maryland Snapjacks Biscuits are vegan

Vegans can't eat Maryland Cookies, but we can indulge in their new stablemates... Maryland Snapjacks. It's a sad fact that the choc chips in Burton's Maryland Cookies are actually dairy-free, but the biscuits themselves contain whey powder. Not so with these new Snapjacks, which are crunchy dunking style biscuits, perfect to accompany a lovely brew (that's a cup of tea...for US readers...):

Vegan Version: Yuba Mayo (Tuna Mayo)

Yuba Mayo (Vegan Tuna Mayo)

The Veganizer in action: fish-free but flaky, oily, meaty and delicious. If you've ever bought one of those cans of tinned yuba (soybean skins) and looked at the recipe on the back, you might have tried this before. If not, you'll also need some nori (seaweed), some lemon juice, sea salt and some egg-free mayo:

After Party: West Midlands Vegan Festival

This Saturday: #WMVF and After Party
Not content with running one of the biggest vegan festivals in the UK this year, the WMVF organisers are holding a 7 hour, 10 live band after-party that kicks off the minute the festival closes. The party will offer a vegan food menu for those who haven't completely stuffed their faces throughout the rest of the day:

Review: Lazy Day Vegan Tray-Bakes

Lazy Days Free-From Tray-Bakes vegan cakes

Gluten-free, dairy-free tray-bake cakes from Scottish producer Lazy Days. We only recently discovered the chocolate ginger version of these tray-bakes and thought it was a good opportunity to review the range together. The headline grabber has to be the caramel shortbread a.k.a millionaire's shortbread with that still rare sight...vegan caramel. 

Budget Vegan: Aldi Soya Milk Review

Aldi Soya Delight Soya Milk

Can 59p Soya Milk be any good? Times are hard, money's tight, but you may have been put off cheap soya milk from a bad experience. There was a time when budget soya milk was a definite mistake - gritty, beany, watery concoctions. These days the 'value range' soya milks taste pretty good, and we were surprised how good "Soya Delight" was from Aldi:

Review: Aldi Choceur Mint Chocolate Thins

Aldi Choceur Mint Chocolate Thins are vegan

Vegan after-dinner mint chocolate thins. Alternatives to Nestlé's After Eights are plentiful and many are dairy-free too, but few are actually thin. We were surprised to find these budget mint thins from Aldi are one of the best options around....being both thin, and great tasting too:

5 products that give vegan food a bad name

The worst vegan food product EVER was Plamil Veeze - a late 1980s vegan cheese spread that came in a glass jar and consisted of margarine, soya flour and vinegar...or something like that. It was revolting in a way that's hard to describe, with the taste of smelly feet and the texture of wood filler. The worst thing about it was that it gave vegan food a bad name. We were reminded of Veeze when we bought another Plamil product this week:

Review: Aldi 'Dairyfine' Chocolate Bars

Aldi Dairyfine Vegan Chocolate

Dairy-free chocolate from budget supermarket Aldi. It's quite odd to name your entire chocolate range 'Dairyfine' as if somehow chocolate and dairy products are inseparable, but that's Aldi for you. We vegans like our chocolate without the cow juice, so it's just as well that Aldi make a large range of dark chocolate without so much as a drop of milk fat in it. These two bars of plain dark and mint creme chocolate offer great value for money too:

Gluten-Free Vegan Kids: Orgran Itsy Bitsy Bears

Orgran itsy bitsy bears vegan biscuits

Aussie gluten-free specialists Orgran make a dozen or so products aimed at kids, from pasta to cookies to breakfast cereal. Their itsy bitsy bear biscuits have been on the market for a few years now, but they're not widely stocked in shops so unless you order online you may not have seen them. Like all Orgran products they are vegan and yeast-free, and like much of their range these are nut-free too. They do have lots of lovely stuff in there though, including 14% chocolate chips:

Review: Sainsbury's Vegan Cake Sprinkles

Review: Sainsbury's Vegan Cake Sprinkles

A couple of vegan options for sprinkling your vegan cakes with. Most cake decorations contain animal products in one form or another, from gelatin to cochineal, shellac to beeswax. These ones from Sainsbury's are free from all of that stuff. The vegan sprinkles at Sainsbury's are the Sugar Stars and the Eric & Erica Sprinkles (elephant shapes):

VEGANWURST: Wheaty Toro Sausages Review (Weenies)

Topas Wheaty ToRo vegan sausages

Four fat sausages sizzling in a pan... Fantastic vegan sausages from German firm Topas, sold under their Wheaty label. These Toro sausages are a mix of tofu and wheat protein and that makes them rather special because the texture is just right. The German word 'knackig' best describes these little beauties. Knackig translates as 'crispy/crunchy' but also 'luscious' and that's the perfect description for these sausages:

Vegan Beer Review: Nottingham Beer Festival

Vegan Beers at the Nottingham Beer Festival

We got half way through the 14 vegan beers on offer at the Nottingham beer festival before running out of drinking time. 14 vegan beers is almost a vegan beer festival in itself and it's great to see so many of them actually labelled as vegan on the barrels. If you're at the Nottingham Beer Festival tonight or tomorrow night, the vegan options are: 025, 053, 054, 055, 316, 347, 485, 527, 531, 808, 812, 1008, 1009, 1029. Here's what we thought of the 7 beers we tried:

Review: Celtic Choices Chocolate Orange Bar

Celtic Choices Choc 'n' Orange Bar is vegan

Fantastic vegan faux-milk choc 'n' orange bar. We've reviewed Celtic chocolate previously and we're big fans of their faux milk chocolate which is really smooth and creamy. Celtic have now extended their Choices free-from range to include chocolate bars and chocolate buttons. This chocolate orange bar is the closest vegan alternative to that classic Terry's Chocolate Orange taste (that sadly isn't vegan even though they make a dark chocolate version). 

Suffering Scoreboard: Vegetarians -vs- Vegans

Vegetarians vs Vegans Animal Suffering Scoreboard
Vegetarians have more in common with meat eaters than vegans, so why are they so often grouped together? On the scale of animal suffering, vegetarians do badly. Animals are not saved from slaughter by being vegetarian... cows and chickens are still killed when they stop being productive, it's just that vegetarians don't eat their flesh.

Review: The Raw Chocolate Co choccy bars

The Raw Chocolate Company Vegan Chocolate Bars

More from the Raw Chocolate Company after our review of their chocolate covered berries. A selection of dairy-free mini bars in an unusual range of flavours. Rich cocoa packed Pitch Dark at one end of the spectrum through to sweet caramel Vanoffe at the other. All of it raw and some of the bars sugar-free too:

Next Year: Vegfest 2013 Dates Announced

Bristol Vegfest 2012

Brighton and Bristol Vegfest dates have been revealed for next year. The UK's biggest vegan festivals will be held in Brighton in March, and Bristol in May.

The dates for the VegfestUK shows in 2013 are as follows:

Brighton - March 16th 17th - website now live

Bristol - May 24th 25th 26th - website now live

Review: The Raw Chocolate Co chocolate berries

Organic vegan dried fruits covered in raw chocolate.

Appearances can be deceptive. Some vegan foods can look quite 'worthy', and that was our first thought on opening up these packs of dried fruits. These various berries are covered in chocolate and then dusted in cocoa, but they do look like a bit like animal droppings. Luckily for us, they actually taste fantastic:

This Month: West Midlands Vegan Festival

West Midlands Vegan Festival
It's October already and that means it's only a few short weeks until this year's bigger and better West Midlands Vegan Festival takes place in Wolverhampton. The festival has expanded again and will now take place in two large halls, with 6 smaller rooms for talks and demos. Upwards of 2000 people are expected to attend and we'll be there to bring you news and photos from the event.