Ben and Jerry’s Berry Revolutionary

England has just had a mini heatwave (34 degrees Celsius which is pretty uncommon for us!) and the heat of England is the heaviest, most humid heat that I have experienced. Even when the wind blows it is like having someone blow a hairdryer into your face, so it does absolutely nothing to cool you down. It was therefore the perfect opportunity to drink a LOT of iced water, avoid any type of cooking and have ice cream for lunch.

Now Ben and Jerry’s is always top tier in the ice cream game. No matter what flavour you pick you are onto a winner. I am still praying to every vegan entity out there that one day soon a vegan version of their Phish Phood will be released because nothing has come close to it even now.

Now I also don’t buy Ben and Jerry’s that often because they are easily the most expensive option out there. They are also one brand that really suffer with the Vegan Tax: A standard tub of their dairy ice cream is around £3 usually, but the vegan options are around £5.50. They do sometimes go on sale for £3, but then the dairy ice cream will be on sale for £1 and…feels kind of half hearted. I therefore only buy Ben and Jerry’s when I want something a little bit extra instead of just basic chocolate or vanilla. This doesn’t happen this often, and one tub could last me at least a month or two as I really don’t eat that much ice cream.

This Berry Revolutionary though was something real special. It is labelled on the lid as a sundae and it lived up to that. The top was a whipped ice cream with caramel swirls and chocolate chunks, while the rest of the ice cream was raspberry flavoured with chocolate chunks and crumbled Oreo type biscuits mixed into it. I have not had whipped ice cream in years – at least I am assuming it’s the same type of ice cream as a Mr Whippy ice cream – but this was a lovely little topping. It was very fluffy and airy and worked so well with the chunky chocolate and caramel swirls. Obviously it is ice cream so is quite sweet but it was the perfect thing to have on a boiling hot summers day.

Little Lola enjoying her own meal in the background…

The raspberry ice cream though – oh lordy! It has been YEARS since I have had fruit ice cream. Most options available are fruit sorbets which are very different to ice creams in my opinion. I forgot how much I LOVE raspberry ice cream. It has such a sharp taste to it that it immediately wakes you up and is just so refreshing when you feel like you are melting. The little chocolate chunks and cookie bits mixed into it also gave you a lovely little mix of chocolate raspberry flavouring and some really satisfying crunches amongst the soft ice cream. Now I truly could have eaten this entire part of the sundae in one sitting, but luckily brain freeze hit first.

I would honestly say that this option is the best Ben and Jerry’s flavour out there, especially from the vegan offerings. I might even go so far as to say that it is better than I remember Phish Phood being! It was honestly all that saved me from the heatwave and no doubt will get me through a lot of this coming summer, which is (as it is every single year) set to be the hottest on record (or alternatively, thanks to global warming, this year will be the coolest year in history) and I will need all the help I can get to cool down. Yes, the ice cream is one of the most expensive options out there, but if you want a true treat that will last you through summer, I would highly recommend splashing out on this. The fruity flavour also means it would work wonderfully as a post dinner party dessert, mixed with a bowl of fruit and left to enjoy in the sunshine.

Overall: 20/10. Best vegan flavour at there in my opinion.

T xxx

PSA: Hotel Chocolat Easter sale!

Hotel Chocolat definitely do some of the best chocolate around, which is most likely why it is also the most expensive out there. But I do stand by their chocolate being the best out there. If I ever want a decadent or posh chocolate fix, Hotel Chocolat is my go to.

They also go all out for Easter and have some of the biggest and prettiest Easter eggs I have ever seen. PLUS they do vegan versions of almost all their ranges of Easter eggs which is always good to see. Their vegan ostrich egg, for example, was literally the size of an ostrich egg (hence the name) but for £85 it wasn’t really something I would ever be looking to buy.

Which is why their post Easter sale is so exciting! The majority of their products are 50% off, if not more, so that £85 egg for £42.50 is a little bit more reasonable and affordable. I could not resist a little trip in to see what was on offer.

They had a lot on offer – with little packets of their bunny shaped chocolate pieces for £2. I however decided to get real bang for my buck and picked up the vegan Sleekster packet. It’s been so long since I have had anything from Hotel Chocolat that I wanted to be able to try a wide range of their selection, and the sleekster was stupid good value for money.

£7!! This huge box was only £7. And that was 70% off and there is so much chocolate in it! You also get a good selection of the different treats, so you can find out which ones are your favourites. I have borrowed what they say on their website and the pack contains the following:

  • Peanut Buche – blends deep roasted peanuts with salted Nutmilk and a sprinkle of crispy cornflakes.
  • Salted Caramel – sumptuous caramel with a mellow Nutmilk base.
  • Dark Raspberry – a rich 70% Nutmilk bursting with tart pressed raspberries.
  • Pecan Praline – naturally sweetened pecan and a touch of sea salt are a dream combination.
  • Gianduja – finely blended praline wrapped in deep 70% dark Nutmilk chocolate.
  • Hazelnut Batons – gloriously nutty, perfect for evening nibbling.
  • Orange Batons –  pairs creamy cocoa with zesty Valencian oil.

Personally, the dark raspberry balls are to die for. These are next level chocolates in my opinion. The chocolate is soft and creamy, but the raspberry coulis inside is so tart and refreshing. It is just the perfect chocolate for me. The chocolate batons are just…slim bars of chocolate. Still very nice but nothing too spectacular. The gianduja balls are also one of my favourites, as they are a lot richer than the nutmilk options and are like little truffle balls.

If you have never had Hotel Chocolat pieces before I would highly recommend trying this sleekster pack because you get to try all of their options for a really good price. Even full price this packet is £23.50 (according to their online store at least) which still seems like very good value for money seeing as you get so much chocolate in it. As I say I picked this up for £7 in the sale at my local store, although they did also have smaller versions and bigger versions depending on your budget also on offer as part of the sale. I would therefore suggest taking a look at your local when you next go past, just in case there are any other good bargains!

Overall: 10/10. I think i’ll be eating this collection of chocolate for months with how much is in it!

T xxx

Doughnut Time: Lil’ Dough Peep

It was Easter weekend here in England which means a 4 day weekend! The weather has also been surprisingly wonderful (20 degrees?! In April?!) so was the perfect time to take a trip into London. Which means we had to take a trip to Doughnut Time.

Now when I go into London I do walk everywhere: Started at Baker Street, and from there we walked down Regents Street to Leicester Square, wandered around that area for a while and then around Soho, back up to Oxford street and then back to Baker Street to head home. Overall I walked around 27,500 steps so needless to say I was in need of a little sugar kick by the time we got to Soho.

This was actually the store in China Town which has a really good selection of the doughnuts. They are also have the fan favourites, such as Liam Hemsworthy (red velvet based)and the David Biscoff (lotus biscoff spread based) as well as their seasonal specials. Now these doughnuts, as I have said before, are HUGE and we finally decided to share a doughnut rather than have one each.

I chose the Lil’ Dough Peep because it looked the least sickly. It looked like a nice, basic doughnut that would give me just the right amount of sugar and Easter spirit without sending me into sugar shock. It was also the only seasonal vegan option on sale so I thought it best to try a new one.

This was actually very nice indeed. It tasted like parma violets! For those who do not live in England and have therefore never experienced a parma violet, they are little sugar disc candies that taste like…well…violet. It sounds odd when I type it, but trust me they are just refreshing and sweet without being super sugary or over the top. It was also nice to have a doughnut time that didn’t make me feel sick after a few bites. I think I could have actually eaten this whole doughnut myself, as it wasn’t overpowering and was just a lovely little springtime treat. Compared to some of the others on sale it also appeared to be the lightest and most understated, which is just what I wanted.

Price wise they are very expensive. Each doughnut is around £5, with the most extravagant ones nearing £6 and the plainer ones being around £4.50. I do however stand by the fact that these are definitely worth it as a once in a while treat. The doughnuts are always something special and for me are worth the high price tag for the very limited treat. Even though I live about a 30 minute train from London, I still only manage to go into the city maybe two or three times a year for leisure. I would always recommend visiting a Doughnut Time if you are ever in London.

Overall: 9/10. Definitely one of the best one I have had so far. Shame it is for such a limited time!

T xxx

Buttermilk salted caramel cups

So these were actually a bonus item that came with my Buttermilk Easter Egg. As I have said in that review, Easter Egg chocolate is supreme to all other chocolate, so I won’t directly compare these cups to the chocolate used in the Easter egg. Because it is not a fair comparison at all and I would at least like to give these little guys a chance.

I have only ever seen these sold as big sharing pouches (around 100g or so from memory, and from what I have found online) so I have no idea if these little packets actually exist on the market or if these were exclusively made to go with the Easter egg. I could not find any small packets for sale after a quick internet search, so I would assume that these must be a special packet just for the Easter egg. I also note that these cups look very different to the cups that are shown on the front of the sharing packets, so now I’m wondering if they are entirely different products completely. Anyone else know?

I am usually not a big fan of salted caramel – it’s either too sweet or too salty and it’s so commonly done that it’s really boring now. Have some creativity brands! But that being said I actually enjoyed these more than I thought I would. As with the Easter egg the chocolate is a much darker kind than the usual milk chocolate, so tasted bitter rather than sweet. Now I really enjoy dark chocolate so I don’t mind the slight bitterness. But the salted caramel actually balanced that bitterness quite nicely and made the different flavours stand out while somehow still complimenting one another. Because they are slightly bitter though, it means two or three are normally enough to satisfy any sweet cravings you had. So I guess this little packet would do you for at least 2 little snacks.

The little cups are also perfectly tempered (I believe that is the right word) so that when you bite down on the cup you have this ultra satisfying crunch. They are pretty small so it made that crunch – and the subsequent caramel explosion – really satisfying indeed.

As mentioned above I do not know how much one of these little packets costs, as I am not sure they exist outside of the Easter egg packet. However the sharing pouches I have seen don’t seem overly expensive – £2.50 seems to be the going rate for these – which isn’t too bad considering you get 100g. Obviously you have the vegan tax to consider, especially because Buttermilk as a brand appear to be fully vegan. But as always I hope that as demand for vegan food rises and the demand moves products quickly off of shelves, that the price for vegan treats will eventually settle down to match all of the non-vegan options out there.

Overall: 7/10. Very surprised by these. Shame you can’t buy them separately but then again who would ever say no to an Easter egg?!

T xxx

Oatly whippable vanilla custard

To start with, I have never actually liked custard. I never liked the taste or he texture and no matter what custard always had that gross skin across the top of it, so I made sure to avoid custard like nothing else. HOWEVER, my partner and I had his parents round for dinner the other weekend and as they are a family of custard lovers we decided to try this new stuff.

I also haven’t tried Oatly too much, mainly because their milks are double the price of most other brands and taste no different. But I have heard very good things about them – I think their barista range of milks are one of the few vegan milks that doesn’t split when mixed with boiling hot coffee. Plus their marketing team always come out with genius campaigns that are always a delight to see. My personal favourite being the ‘it’s like milk, but for humans’ which was used to promote their milks.

I only realised this when I got home but our electric whisk has been swallowed by our kitchen and for the life of me I have not been able to find it anywhere. So I did attempt to try and whip it by hand. I have done this before with cream so I thought it would be mostly the same, but let me tell you after about 45 minutes I lost all interest. And feeling in my hand. So if you are going to try this, please let me know how the ‘whippable’ part goes for you because I am intrigued.

Now I remember custard always being a lot more like yogurt – very thick and sweet. But this stuff was a lot thinner in texture and wasn’t overly sweet either. It had the very slight vanilla flavour to it but nothing strong or overpowering. I had this with apple and strawberry crumble, and the custard actually helped to dilute a bit of the sweetness from the apple and the strawberries, without really changing the overall flavour. It was therefore a nice addition to the dessert, but not nice enough for me to want to each it with every single dessert moving forward.

Price wise, it is pretty expensive. Again the vegan tax hits Oatly hard: This packet of 250ml cost £2.50. Which is just….insanely expensive. Now you can buy a ready to mix packet of dairy custard for about 70p in most stores, so the vegan tax is very powerful. That being said, it costs the same as the Elmlea vegan cream and the Food Heaven whipped cream so perhaps it is fairly priced for the product. From looking at my local shelves, this is one of the few vegan custards out there and vegan creams in general seem to be very few and far between. So maybe this price is purely a starting figure, and once demand for the product picks up then the price will slowly be lowered. That may be wishful thinking, but I live in hope!

Overall: 6/10. It is a good option, but for me I cannot justify that price for any weekly dessert. Special occasions only I think for now!

T xxx

Milkybar chocolate

I was very excited when the main chocolate brands said that they would be making vegan versions of their favourites: Milkyway, Bounty Bars (don’t hate me, I loved bounty bars back in the non-vegan days!), Galaxy. But they truly lied to us with this, because all they really did was bring out chocolate bars with a slight flavour to it.

Case and point…the MilkyWay bar. Now I know a MilkyWay bar as being the nougat filling covered in chocolate. Now these were never my favourites as I am not the biggest fan of nougat, but every now and again they were a nice change. Which I was excited to see how a vegan version would work because nougat should be pretty easy to replicate: It is mostly nuts and sugar with egg whites, but you could remove the egg whites pretty easily I would have thought. But no…we got a chocolate bar.

Now I know that this is meant to be based more on their MilkyWay stars, which are like chocolate chips but shaped like stars. But they added a little extra to the chocolate with the popping candy element. I defy anyone to not love popping candy, because it really is so much fun, so adding it to anything makes the base product ten times more enjoyable. But that being said this chocolate felt so lazy. The chocolate itself tastes no different to every other vegan chocolate out there. It definitely doesn’t melt very well in your mouth, so it made the popping candy element a bit short lived because you couldn’t sit there and let the chocolate melt as the popping candy started to pop off. The chocolate tasted slightly powdery, which some lower quality vegan chocolate can tend to do.

Also this is supposedly the recommended serving size….

Now if this bar was the same price as the lower quality options then I wouldn’t mind so much, but this bar was £2.50. £2.50!!?? For 85g of product. Now you can get a Galaxy bar (granted it contains dairy) for £1 and get 110g of chocolate. So not only is the MilkyWay bar horrifically overpriced, it is absolutely tiny and is also very thin – there is barely anything in this bar and yet the vegan tax is added. It would be cheaper to just buy a big bar of the Nomo chocolate and a packet of popping candy and combine the two manually as you’re eating. At least then you’d get some really good chocolate to justify the horrific vegan tax.

Overall: 2/10. The popping candy makes it, but the chocolate is laughable. Worth a try just for the popping candy, otherwise feel free to skip this.

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

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

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

Doughnut Time Candyman

A trip into London is not complete until you have been to Doughnut Time. They have shops in Covent Garden, Soho and Borough, so are pretty easy to find if you are in the main central parts of London. I will always recommend visiting them too because their range of doughnuts change throughout the year and every one I have tried has been to die for! So with a free day and lovely sunny weather (for October in England anyway) I took a day trip into London, mostly for a change of scenery and to make a start on my Christmas shopping. It was therefore only right to grab a little treat on the way back…

I decided to try their Candyman doughnut, which as you can see is shaped like a little ghost. Mine did get a little bit squished on the journey home, but hopefully the picture shows you the size and detail of it. I have tried their Hemsworthy doughnut before and in all honesty I could not have eaten one of their huge doughnuts again! Don’t get me wrong, this Candyman was still pretty big compared to most doughnuts out there, but my Doughnut Time standards he is absolutely tiny.

I really enjoyed this. The doughnut dough was light and soft, and the icing was sugary but not overwhelmingly so. I wasn’t feeling sugar sickness after the first two bites like I normally do, and it was just the right amount of sugar. That being said, I definitely could not eat these on a regular basis because my arteries truly could not cope with this, but as a once/twice a year treat? It definitely carbs all sugar cravings you may have for at least 6 months.

Now it does say that there it is filled with Lotus Biscoff in the middle, but I barely had any. As you can see from the picture I had maybe one tiny little drop of it, to the point that I couldn’t even taste it compared to the sugar. I am sure you know how flavourful Biscoff is, so to not even realise it was in the doughnut while I was eating it says a lot for just how little there was in it. I think I had maybe one bite that had even a slight Biscoff taste, but the rest was just your standard sugar doughnut.

Obviously this is a Halloween exclusive doughnut so it probably won’t be around for ages, and I do wonder if it will ever come back again. I actually preferred this to some of the bigger, more extravagant doughnuts that they have on sale. Don’t get me wrong, they are all brilliant and you’d be happy with whatever doughnut you pick, but I preferred Candyman because it was quite a simple design that tasted lovely. Sometimes that is all you need. It’s also probably the first doughnut I have tried from them that didn’t leave me lying on my couch in a sugar coma.

Price wise, these things are expensive. £4.95 per doughnut! But at the same time, the doughnuts are huge, and they do all look every impressive. They also taste amazing, so the price is pretty justified. Doughnut Time also only seem to have shops in London and Reading, so unless you live in those areas this is not a store that you can visit on a regular basis. Hence why I only ever get one when I am on a day trip into London, because after a day of walking around 20K steps through the streets of London, I feel a posh Doughnut has definitely been earned!

Overall: 9/10. The Biscoff addition is pointless, but this is definitely a wonderful seasonal addition that I hope they bring back next Halloween!

T xxx