Burger King vegan whopper

Confession time…I have never had a Burger King burger before. This January is actually the first time I think I have ever had a Burger King ever in my life. So I am really branching out now and having what is most likely the first fast-food burger I have had in at least 12 years. I have had McDonald’s burgers before…but again I think the last time I had one was when I was about 12/13? Because I then went vegetarian shortly afterwards.

I have always heard that out of the fast-food places, Burger King was the elite: The fries were the best, the burgers were the size of a baby’s head and the price was a really good value for money. They also tasted ‘not like fast-food’. So we finally decided to test whether that was still true and to see if the burgers lived up to the same level as they had done before going vegetarian.

I decided to go with the vegan whopper, as I think that is the most staple of the Burger King meal. I decided to go for the Whooper over the Royale as the Royale genuinely looked HUGE in comparison and I didn’t trust that I would actually be able to finish it all. I was a little bit nervous of the Whopper as it was indeed….whopper.

The vegan burger patty is a soya based patty, and there had been some controversy around it when first released in 2020 as it was still cooked on the same grill as the meat products were. From reading Burger King’s FAQs and the information available on their website though, they say that they now have separate grill for each type of product, so there is very little risk of cross-contamination. Make of that what you will. I decided to chance it and trust that they were doing all that can to keep vegan products separate from meat products, because let’s be fair – it’s not really that hard. Especially for a multi-billion dollar company that could easily afford the equipment/space/resources.

But I digress…

So right off the bat, this is the perfect meal to justify ‘vegan for the animals’. The burger alone was around 320 calories. Which I suppose on it’s own isn’t the worst meal you would choose but if you include the chips – which are around 385 calories!! – it’s a pretty big meal. Which isn’t bad because 700 calories for a meal is probably considered quite small. BUT – and this was the big issue I had – even after 700 calories of food, I was still STARVING. I could have eaten at least three of these burgers and even then I don’t think I would have felt satisfied.If you were to eat 700 calories of any other food, you’d notice it. But these felt like eating air because I was hungry maybe 5 minutes after finishing.

It also didn’t taste that great. I mean it tasted like a fast food burger. It was exactly how I remembered it tasting: slightly fake while still being quite sweet. Aside from the fact that it looked quite sad and squashed when I took it out of he wrapper, it tasted the exact same. I would like to say that you could really notice the vegan patty, but honestly I didn’t. If you have ever had a fast-food burger, then you have tasted what this whopper tasted like. Pretty basic and nothing special, but exactly what you were expecting.

Price wise it is on the more expensive end for a fast-food meal. Especially when you factor in how it tastes (i.e exactly like every other fast food product). That aside though it is still pretty cheap, at £7.50 for a whole whopper meal, with fries and drink. That is also the price if you pick the large size of everything, otherwise it is slightly less the smaller the meal. But even with the price, you could make a way better burger yourself at home for maybe £5: Meatless farm burgers (for example) are around £3, a 4 pack of vegan brioche rolls from Aldi is £1 and the toppings and sauces maybe work out to be about another £1. This also gives you more than one meal so most likely works out even cheaper in the whole. SO while the whopper scratched a curiosity itch to see what fast-food was like, but I really don’t see what the benefit is to having this over a home made burger? Aside from the time it takes to cook it.

Overall: 4/10. Fine if you’re really stuck but definitely not worth it when you can make far better options at home for a fraction of the price.

T xxx

Krispee Kreme apple custard pie doughnut

As promised, I have now tried all three of the new Krispee Kreme Veganuary offerings. Don’t say I don’t ever do anything for you guys…

I have to say I think this one is the winner. It really did taste like an apple pie! The doughnut itself was the light and fluffy sponge that we know Kirspee Kreme for, and the topping was a nice crunchy crumble that gave a nice extra texture of the doughnut as a whole.

The inside filing was also really nice. There was the perfect combination of apple and custard, and both complimented each other very well. It wasn’t overly sweet either so didn’t leave me feeling sick or bloated. It also didn’t seem too ‘stuffed’ in that when I bit into the middle I didn’t have filing trying to escape from both sides of the doughnut as can happen with these big doughnuts.

Price wise it is the same as the other two: £2.65. Which in comparison to some offers out there is a bit expensive, but as a special edition, ‘luxury’ flavour it is pretty cheap. It was also very refreshing to see a vegan dessert option on sale from a big company that actually felt quite creative: it wasn’t just simply chocolate or salted caramel as so many options out there are, and it was really nice being able to taste an ‘apple crumble pie’ that I hadn’t had to cook myself.

Now for the real big question though: How do these compare to Doughnut Time? Personally, I still think Doughnut Time is way ahead of the other doughnut companies purely for the creativity of the flavours on offer. However, I would expect their doughnuts to cost double the price when they are a) double the size and b) so niche in their flavourings. I don’t think Doughnut Time will ever be a place you go to for ‘just a doughnut’. It’s somewhere you go to for a decadent and over the top experience. But I am very impressed with Krispee Kreme, it must be said. All of their doughnuts have been pretty high level (we won’t include the caramel review in this), and it is good to see that such a large, worldwide company such as Krispee Kreme is finally stepping up their game to keep up with the vegan demand. Hopefully in the years to come they will also branch out even more and start offering flavours of doughnuts that will be able to give Doughnut Time a real run for their money.

Either way I am excited to see where the next step in vegan doughnuts will take us.

Overall: 9/10. A very good start to the year, and I am excited for what is to come in the next few years.

T xxx

Burger King vegan nuggets

A Veganuary Newbie! BurgerKing have actually had a vegan burger for the last year or so, however there was a lot of controversy around it as it when it came to light that the vegan burger was cooked on the same grill as the meat burgers. I – along with a vast majority of other vegans – were therefore not keen on that offer, and so to this day I have still not tried the vegan burger from BurgerKing. But when they announced their new nuggets, I had to try these.

*While writing this I actually had the panic of whether or not the vegan nuggets were cooked in the same oil/fryer/grill as the meat ones. After some internet sleuthing, it appears that Burgerking have now changed their system so that they have allocated fryers/grills etc for each product. This appears to be more for allergy reasons (still very good though!) but it appears as though all of the vegan products have their own separate fryer. If anyone can find information that is different though, please let me know!

So these nuggets were really good. I would say they were very similar (if not identical to) the Birds Eye chicken nuggets that you can buy in the shops. So if you like the Birds Eye version then you will enjoy these Burgerking versions. They were crispy and fluffy and just exactly what you want a nugget to be.

Price wise, you can get packs of 3, 6 and 20 – quite the jump. They start from £3.99, £4.99 to £6.99. £7 for 20 nuggets!! That to me is Bargain of the Year. Although not sure if I could really eat 20 of these by myself…

Overall: 7/10. A really good addition to fast food, but no different to what you could already buy in a supermarket.

T xxx

Veganuary additions at Starbucks

I am not a coffee drinker, so I don’t tend to frequent coffee shops unless they a) have really big cups of tea or b) they have new vegan options on sale that I have to try. Starbucks would be one of those places. They tend to have quite a good vegan range, and also recently announced that they would no longer charge extra for vegan milk alternatives (about time!!). They also tend to do quite a lot of seasonal treats so I do find myself stopping in every season or so if something takes me fancy.

Until now, I had only ever had soya milk in my coffees because that was usually the only milk alternative that places do not charge extra for (and I include Starbucks, Costa and Cafe Nero in this, although there may be others) so when I saw that Starbucks were doing a whole new oat latte line for their festive new year drinks, I was quite excited! I have heard that oat milk is best in coffees, as it thickens up and froths up the nicest out of all of the non-milk milks.

On offer they have chocolate and orange oat latte and strawberry and vanilla oat lattes. They are also offering a honey and hazelnut oat latte but since I do not consider honey to be vegan friendly (more on this topic to come later!) I don’t include this in their vegan menu. I therefore went with the chocolate and orange latte, as it sounded the nicest option. Plus who doesn’t love chocolate orange??

It was actually quite disappointing. It had the tiniest hint of chocolate, but tasted more like a standard mocha than it did chocolate orange. I will admit the oat milk did seem a lot frothier and fluffy than my usual soya latte, but it didn’t add any flavour to it. Maybe coconut milk would add a little bit of sweetness? I tend to find coffee a bit too bitter to have in large amounts, so anything to sweeten it up is all good in my books. I got zero orange flavouring from this latte, so overall it was just a nice mocha. It wasn’t awful, but it also wasn’t anything to get too excited about.

I also tried the vegan carrot cake that looked way better than it tasted. Carrot cake is probably my favourite type of cake (true vegan choice right there!) and I have still not yet mastered the perfect home baked carrot cake. So I therefore have to make do with what is on offer when out shopping. Surprisingly (to me anyway) carrot cake is not a very popular flavour (???) so I think I have only had carrot cake maybe twice in the 6 years I have been vegan. They also had on offer for Veganuary a chocolate and caramel muffin (groundbreaking), a cherry crown pasty (this did look pretty nice to be fair to them), a pecan and caramel brownie and a caramel and date cookie. So out of those offering, only the cherry crown pastry is even remotely exciting. Unless again you like caramel everything.

This carrot cake was so dry and it was THICK. It was almost like a bread it was so thick. It is actually quite small by snack standards but I was more or less full by about half way through it. You definitely needed a drink with this though as the cake itself managed to find every bit of moisture in my mouth and suck it away, meaning I had to really work to chew and swallow each bite. Combined with the coffee, it wasn’t the worst, but it definitely was not the soft and light spongy cake that I had been expecting.

Now I know that Starbucks are not the best business – they have routinely been outed for paying little to no taxes in the UK and they are also one of the big companies that took a covid bail out payment, despite being a multi-million dollar company. In my high street alone there are 3 Starbucks stores – and all 3 are pretty big with quite a number of staff – so it is not like they are struggling for money as much as they claim to be. That side of the ethics aside, they are one of the more expensive coffee shops out there: I had only a tall latte (the smallest size) and the cake and that alone was around £6. Which personally I could get a way better snack and a way better drink at literally any other store for less money than that. I do feel glad that I am not a fan of coffee because the idea of drinking Starbucks every day would genuinely bankrupt me – £4 every day for a tiny coffee?? What do people have to earn to be able to afford such spending!?

Now I am quite a forgiving person though so I may still go back and try some of their other options. I am also a big believer in supply and demand, so if it takes me trying multiple vegan options in their stores to convince them to create more exciting and readily available vegan coffee and cake options, then so be it. Again though, I will not expect anything special….but hopefully something at least passable.

Overall: 4/10. It’s fine. Definitely not the best option out there but good in a pinch.

T xxx

Krispee Kreme caramel doughnut

I feel it is my duty to try all of the Krispee Doughnuts so here we are! This time I went for the Salted Caramel doughnut. I still believe that salted caramel is a really lazy option for vegan treats, as there are so many other combinations that would be far tastier and far more exciting. I think every single brand out there has salted caramel as their vegan option and honestly it gets old quick. Especially if you’re like me and don’t like caramel all that much anyway. But I had been very impressed by the other new vegan options that were release so I thought it only right to give this one a go too.

Now this was not good. I missed the part of description that told me it had a salted caramel filling, so I went into this just expecting a simple caramel topped doughnut. I like caramel in small doses, so was quite looking forward to this. It was the lovely soft and fluffy dough that you’d expect and the chocolate and caramel on top was a nice combinations of flavours without feeling too sickly.

But then I bit into the middle and got at least 90% of the caramel filling in one bite. I nearly gagged. I have never had my mouth welded shut before but this was very similar – there was so much caramel that I truly struggled to even open my mouth. It was so sickly too that my immediate reaction was to just spit it out, but it was so gummy and sticky that I couldn’t open my mouth to do so. After about ten seconds of my inwardly panicking that this was how my life ended, I finally managed to spit it out and now I think I have a fear of these doughnuts.

I’ve said before that I am not the biggest fan of caramel as I find it so overpoweringly sweet, and I always find that salted caramel tastes burnt to me. But I thought that if this had just been a standard doughnut, with the caramel top and nothing in the middle, that it may actually be alright – there would be no overpowering flavours and I wouldn’t feel like I was going into sugar shock afterwards. This is therefore your warning to read food descriptions FULLY and CAREFULLY, so you don’t have the experience I had.

Again, this is a speciality doughnut so it was £2.65. So for a near death experience, pretty cheap. But I would say that unless you absolutely LOVE caramel (as in, would happily bathe in the syrup if it was allowed) then do not try this. You have read above how I found it, but then my partner tried it and (being a big caramel lover) gave it a full 10/10. ‘Best doughnut ever’ he said as I hid away from him for fear the doughnut may try to finish me off for good.

Overall: 0/10. Only good for those who live for the caramel. Which if you do, then this will probably be your Holy Grail of vegan food.

T xxx

Veganuary 2022

It is the best time of the year…Veganuary!

Honestly the period between Christmas and New Years is normally so exciting because it is the time when brands and restaurants announce what new items they will be releasing for Veganuary. Obviously some are more exciting than others but the main thing is just how many brands announce new things – too many to really keep up with! But I thought it might help to list a few of the announcements that I am most excited for, and naturally as more are announced throughout the month I shall keep things coming!

For starters though, if you want to learn more about Veganuary, the month challenge, or for inspiration and starting points on how to begin your own vegan journey, please do check out the official Veganuary website for all the information you need. You can then go through my blog and see which vegan items currently on sale are worth a try, and which you need to avoid.

Krispee Kreme

First off, I think Krispee Kreme are super late to this party – as one of the LEADING doughnut companies in the world it is laughable that they have only JUST come out with more than one vegan option. Shameful really. That being said, I am so excited to try these new flavours that I don’t even care how long it took them to get them out! They have released Fudge Brownie Bliss, Caramel Choc Delight, and Apple Crumble doughnuts. Judging by the other non-vegan options they have, I am fully expecting to go into diabetic shock after one bite of each…but some things need to be done. Once I find a store near me that actually stocks them I will definitely let you know my thoughts!

Lidl

The supermarket has gone ALL OUT with their vast vegan range. They have released about 10 (although this could be way more, I haven’t counted since their first announcement) new items, including gnocchi, burgers, pizza and broccoli nuggets. No doubt there will be more as the year goes on, as Lidl are probably the best supermarket for the affordable vegan options. I intend to slowly make my way through the entire Vermondo range and let you all know the winners.

Meatless Farm chicken breasts

I am a BIG Meatless Farm fan. Their burgers are my go-to favourites and their entire range is consistently high quality, tasty and affordable. It wasn’t until the announcement though that I realised that they don’t appear to have done a chicken style meat yet – I have only ever seen red meat alternatives – so it will be very interesting to see how a chicken style meat replacement option compares to the red meat options. If they are as good as the rest of the range has been, then these could potentially be a meal staple for my household and a true game changer for our meals.

Babybel

Yep. You read that right. Babybel – a true staple of Britain and cheese – is releasing a vegan version. Now I have not had a Babybel for….well…years. At least 6 years at this point anyway. But even now I hear people talk about how Babybel cheese is on a different level to other dairy cheeses, so my expectations are high for a plant-based vegan version. I also believe this is one of the few cheese brands that has made a vegan option available – most vegan cheeses are either from specialist vegan brands, or are a supermarkets own version for their own plant-based range. My hope is that if Babybel can come up with a vegan option, then maybe other big brands like Philadelphia and Cathedral will also bring out their own vegan options. We shall see….

Watch this space everyone, and if you have seen any other announcements that you are super excited about please let me know in the comments and I shall make sure to check them out!

T xxx

Garden Gourmet burgers

I think I may have found the best burger…

I had not seen these on sale before, but had heard good things about the range as a whole. So I gave them a try, wanting something different to my usual Meatless Farm burger. Oh boy were these a treat and a half!

I found these to be the perfect medium between the Meatless Farm burger and the Beyond Meat burger. Personally, I found the Beyond Meat burger TOO meat-like. It was very juicy and the texture was almost too close to actual meat for my liking. So while I can attest that the Beyond Meat are indeed very good burgers, as someone who doesn’t like the texture or look of actual meat they were a bit too realistic for my liking. The Meatless Farm burgers are also very yummy, but do run the risk sometimes of being a little too dry – they definitely need cheese or a sauce in order to make them an elite burger.

But the Garden Gourmet were amazing! They were just the right amount of juicy, so you didn’t end up making a massive mess down yourself when taking a bite, but not so juicy that they almost ‘bled’ when they cooked the way the Beyond Meat burgers do. The texture was also perfect – slightly chewier than the Meatless Farm Burgers but not so chewy that you actually question if it is real meat you are eating. As I say, for my own personal preference, this is exactly what I want in a burger, so I would highly recommend you try these if you enjoy the Beyond Meat but don’t want to pay the Beyond Meat price tag for hem.

I bought this pack for £3 so it is on the slightly pricier side of meat-free burgers out there, but when compared to the £5 price tag of the Beyond Meat option this actually seems like a true bargain! You also get two burgers in a pack, so if it is just you you’re cooking for, that’s two very tasty meals sorted. I also feel that this would be the right type of protein that you could have just on it’s own – similar to how you may have eaten steak I guess? – with just some veg and chips or something like that. It really doesn’t need much added to it for it to be tasty so anything you do add just amplifies it up another level. I had it with some This Isn’t bacon strips and some Violife mozzarella squares and – OH MY – words cannot express how good these are.

Overall: 10/10 so far as I am concerned, but 9/10 for those who like their meat-alternatives to be as close as possible to the original meat version.

T xxx

Cadbury’s smooth chocolate plant bar

This is proof that veganism is truly taking off. Cadbury’s – possibly the biggest chocolate maker in the world has released not one but TWO vegan chocolate bars. It is made with almond milk instead of dairy, and I believe the flavours are smooth chocolate and salted caramel. I naturally went with the plain chocolate first to see how the chocolate actually tastes as just a base product.

I could not tell the difference. It tasted EXACTLY how I remember Cadbury bars tasting. It is creamy and smooth and really does just melt away in your mouth. I find that with some vegan chocolate bars they can have that slightly powdery texture to them, but this stuff is super smooth. There really isn’t that much to say about them because they are almost an identical replication of your regular dairy Cadbury bar.

The one downside is that it is a bit thin…I always though Cadbury bars were the thicker of the bars and that’s what made them so good. But this is a lot thinner. Not sure if that is to improve the taste or if it’s just the route they’ve gone with these, but for me I think it would work really well as a proper chunky chocolate.

Here is also hoping that they bring out their full range: popping candy, nuts and…my absolute favourite…fruit and nut! I feel like the chocolate game is about to get serious.

Overall: 9/10. Thicken them up and this is a clear winner!

T xxx

Kings smokey bacon jerky

Now this is a real weird one and not something I would normally ever try. But it is new, it had pretty good reviews online and I fancied being a bit more adventurous. I also hoped that it would stop me cravings sweets in the middle of the day so it was worth a try!

First thing first, the taste: really really good. It does actually taste like bacon – I find vegan bacon can be such a difficult thing to get right and so far brands have not gotten too close to the original. But this stuff tastes really, really good with that rich smokey flavour. So on that front, 10/10. Probably the best ‘bacon’ flavouring I’ve ever come across. I also gave a few pieces to some non-vegan colleagues that they all agreed that you would not be able to tell the difference between this stuff and the non-vegan variety. So definitely a win!

but that texture….oof. So I have never had jerky, so I guess I don’t really have much of a frame of reference for this. I do however know that jerky is basically really, REALLY dehydrated meat that cowboys chew on long horse rides as it lasts ages and yet still tastes like meat. This stuff however, was like chewing an eraser (or for us Brits, a rubber). It was SO chewy, to the point that I actually panicked that I had eaten some of the plastic packaging because even after 20 seconds of chewing, it had not changed it’s shape or consistency at all.

After the first bite though, after I knew what I was expecting, this was actually quite enjoyable. Be warned though after about 3 pieces you do have to take a break because the jaw ache is intense. The pack comes in little chunks of jerky – instead of the long, flat shapes I think jerky usually comes in – but a handful was more than enough to satisfy me for about an hour or two before it was time for lunch.

Price wise it is about £2.50 a packet and the packets are not that big. However you do get a lot of chunks in a packet, so it could easily do you for a good week or so of little snacks. Now on the packet it does say that once opened you need to eat within 24 hours and 1) I don’t know what sort of power jaw you must have to make it through a whole pack in one day without needing medical help and 2) I don’t know if it more to protect the texture of the jerky rather than because it will actually go off. But basically if you plan on buying a packet make sure you can share it with others – unless of course you do have the jaw of a crocodile to cope with that amount of chewing.

Overall: 6/10. Very tasty, but the texture still throws me a little bit.

T xxx

Butterwicks vegan macaroons

One of my absolute favourite foods in the entire world, are macaroons. In my pre-vegan days I could happily eat nothing but macaroons and feel like my life was finally complete. However, the main ingredient in a macaroon is egg white: the egg white is whipped into a soft meringue and then cooked into the little macaroon disks. So, obviously, not suitable for a vegan lifestyle.

To tell you that I have dreamt of this moment would not even be an understatement. There are very few things I have missed since going vegan nearly 6 years ago, but macaroons have always been one of them. While I have found many a lovely afternoon tea, none of them have ever offered a vegan macaroon. So I have sat and stared longingly at the sweet little treats on other people’s plates and prayed to every vegan god out there that one day, a vegan macaroon will come my way.

The wait was worth it. I discovered Butterwicks at a local vegan market and I think I nearly speared the poor owner when I came running over practically in tears I was so excited. They had six flavours on sale that day, however I was informed that they do a total of 16 different flavours online. So yes….you can order yourself some macaroons to come straight to your door. Which is both super exciting and yet (for me anyway) very very dangerous.

I decided to splurge and got myself a pack of 12, with two of each flavour. The flavours I have are:

  • chocolate and orange
  • salted caramel
  • pistachio
  • lemon
  • raspberry
  • double chocolate

These things are just as lovely as I remember. Now if I was to be super nit-picky about it, the shells do not have that standard macaroon texture: The hard outer shell with the soft inner shell (that is almost cakey?), with the ganache in the middle of sandwich two shells together. I found that these vegan ones did not have the chewy middle part of the shell, but honestly that doesn’t bother me in the slightest. The shells have that wonderful crunch when you first bite in, the ganaches are rich and creamy and together the whole thing melts in your mouth. I also believe that these are quite a bit larger than your egg macaroon, which is just an added plus!

Now they are quite expensive – I got £12 for £23. But I would say that macaroons have ALWAYS been expensive because they are such a specialist and decadent little dessert. I have tried to make my own many a time with aquafaba and let’s just say it was a massacre. I have nothing but sheer admiration for pastry chefs who have mastered the macaroon. Personally, I would have paid whatever price they said for vegan macaroons, as they are something I have searched and hoped for since the very start of my vegan journey. I would recommend everyone try these at least once because no matter what, you will feel like true royalty eating such a decadent little treat.

Overall: All time favourite. Hands down winner. Nothing will ever beat this. This is just proof that veganism is a force all of its own. I doubt I will eat anything else but these for the rest of my life now.

T xxx