“Make veganism radical again.” That’s what a friend of mine posted on Instagram. Followed by a photo of him sitting, smugly, in a hip vegan restaurant, eating a gourmet, plant-based hotdog with some hip vegan buddies. All good. What is making veganism radical again, however, is Ben & Jerry’s new range of non-dairy ice creams.
Netflix and chill – with a frozen tub of Ben & Jerry’s, of course – had become a thing of the past. An old indulgence I’d all but forgotten. A dream I’d just about relinquished. That was, until I spotted a tub of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie Non-Dairy Ice Cream in my local ASDA. Radical.
I know I say this a lot but I really could not believe my luck. To me, the non-dairy version of the classic Ben & Jerry’s flavour tastes even better than the real thing. There’s just something about it. The flavours are richer. The chocolate’s more decadent. And the ice cream’s even more luxurious. Somehow, it tastes more small batch. More-carefully put together. Like Ben and Jerry actually have something to prove again. It’s irresistible.
I’ve tried the vegan Peanut Butter & Cookies vanilla ice cream option as well. And it’s just as good as its non-dairy counterparts. But if you’re anything like me, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia is way more enjoyable with a tub of chocolate, fudge and brownie-based ice cream and a big spoon. Now I’m on the lookout for the latest addition to the vegan range, the gorgeous-sounding caramel number, Cookies On Cookie Dough. Remember vegan kids; don’t give up on your plant-based dreams.
The shelves of my local ASDA seem to be going through a lowkey vegan renaissance at the moment. And it’s pretty exciting. First there was Kings Veggie Jerky. Then Jealous Sweets. And now I’ve spotted NOMO vegan chocolate. Truth is, it’s getting easier and easier to be vegan every day.
Generally, vegan supermarket chocolate options include Cadbury’s Bournville and whatever’s in the Free From aisle. And if you’re looking for something creamy, forget about it. It’s dark. It’s soy-based. And it’s average. If you want something dreamy you need to go to Holland & Barrett and pick up a bar (or two) of Vego Whole Hazelnut. Well, vegan friends. No more.
NOMO, or No Missing Out, vegan chocolate is made by U.K. confectioner Kinnerton. And it’s the real thing. Creamy. High-quality. And soy-free. Except the dark chocolate option. But that’s not what we’re after, right? We want soft, velvety and luxurious. And that’s exactly what NOMO brings to the table. Or bus. Or park bench. Or pavement.
So far I’ve tried the Creamy Choc bar, which reminds me of a Beacon Inside Story Delectable Truffle – it’s that creamy. And I’ve had the Caramel and Sea Salt option, which is my favourite, and reminds me of a more artisanal-tasting, less-saccharine Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Caramel.
You hear (and see) the words “game changer” thrown around so often they’ve lost all meaning. But if you’re vegan, and you’ve got a sweet tooth, and you’re tired of the boring, bland, dark chocolate options in your local Free From aisle, look out for NOMO vegan chocolate. It’s a game changer.
One thing you definitely miss as a vegan is sweets! You’re constantly amazed how humans have squeezed animal products into almost everything, but you always kind of knew jelly babies were bad. Turns out gelatine is derived from collagen, which in turn is derived from “animal body parts.” So soft chewy sweets were out. Until now.
I have had them vegan. Once I picked up some Biona Jelly Dinos and Tutti Frutti Gums from vegan paradise, Whole Foods, Piccadilly Circus. But the texture wasn’t right. Without gelatine they didn’t chew right. The flavours were limp as well. And for a while I assumed that’s how vegan gummy sweets had to be.
Then, in what’s quickly becoming the norm, Jealous Sweets just appeared one day on the shelves of my local ASDA. Into our vegan lives. Showing us that anything’s possible. You don’t need “melted pigs” to enjoy a chewy gummy bear.
The Grizzly Bears are straight-up the best gummy bears I’ve ever had. Usually, the bags swear each colour’s a different fruity flavour. But really, they all taste exactly the same. This time. Get this. The lemon tastes like lemon, the apple tastes like apple, the orange tastes like orange and the strawberry tastes like – you guessed it – strawberry.
What a novelty. Unbelievable. I was lining them up in rows of four and taking in each fruity sensation one at a time. The Tangy Worms are great too. Exactly like the sour worms I used to buy in bulk every time I went to the movies. Like the Grizzly Bears, the texture’s perfect. The chew’s familiar. And I’m definitely on the lookout for the rest of the Jealous Sweets range.
As a vegan, it’s definitely harder to grab a bag-and-block combo of chocolate whenever I feel the craving. Or rather, it’s easier not to give in when said craving hits. Because really, the only easy supermarket option is Cadbury’s Bournville. And even though they’ve recently repackaged it in button form, it’s still just Cadbury’s Bournville.
Luckily, there’s a whole underworld of specialised vegan chocolate possibilities out there. You just have to know where to find them. Which in turn makes chocolate more of a rewarding special event than a meaningless everyday inevitability.
It’s incredible. Just like the classic wholenut chocolates I remember. Only silkier. More luxuriant. Creamier, almost. So it literally melts in your mouth. And way sooner than you’d like as well. According to Vego, the secret to their delicious organic treat is in the ingredients, which include only the “finest Italian hazelnut paste, cocoa cream and whole hazelnuts…”
Currently, as well as Holland & Barratt, the bars are available from Ocado, Amazon and various online vegan, health and ethical food supermarkets. The German company has also just launched a new Dark Chocolate Nuts & Berries version, and there’s a Fine Hazelnut Crunchy Chocolate Spread out there as well. So happy hunting.
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from my Just Love Vegan Chocolate Cake. I saw someone post about it on Instagram. That they’d found it in Asda and it was tasty. And convenient baked goods are still very much a niche market in the vegan world. So I looked for it and found it in my local and here we are.
I was just after a bit of dry supermarket cake, really, to eat with my coffee. But the Just Love Food Company totally exceeded expectations. Because unlike every other cheap supermarket cake in the universe, this one’s moist. It’s like supermarket cake. Only well made. Nothing fancy. It justs tastes like whoever created it was anxious not to disappoint.
There are no dry wedges to endure until you get to the ultimately lacklustre frosting at the end. Instead, every bite’s as delicious as the next. The chocolate sponge is fluffy and rich. The chocolate frosting is generous and decadent. And the “lustered” dark chocolate drops are a 2019 one-up on the supermarket cake sprinkles I grew up eating.