Yes, it’s a new Vego. It’s only been a few months since Vego white was launched. Yet now Vego have gone off in the opposite direction – and joined the dark side. But will this new bar be as popular as the classic bar?
Vego has chosen a shade of plum for the wrapper for this bar, presumably to flag up the addition of fruit to Vego Dark. Unlike Vego white the wrapper isn’t recyclable. Or if it this isn’t indicated anywhere on the packet. This feels like a step back. It’s chocolate – it can be wrapped in paper and foil.
Vego Dark is much chunkier than Vego White. However, it’s a far cry from their original bar which rivalled the Yorkie Bar! It’s divided into 15 squares and does look pretty appetising. It breaks into pieces easily enough making it good for sharing. It weighs in at 85g which 20g more than a Vego Mini.
What about the taste? The initial bite wasn’t great. The cocoa taste was very heavy and rather bitter. But it does improve after the first square. As you adjust to the taste there is a good note of cocoa followed by a pleasing sharp fruity taste.
I struggled to work out which fruits and nuts were in the bar and looked at the pictures on the packet for help. However, even with this visual assistance picking out the individual flavours was tricky. Possibly this is a result of the nut and fruit pieces being rather small. Hence the almond and hazelnut flavours mixed in with the fruit.
On the subject of the fruit, the bar contains cranberries, raspberry pieces and blueberry drops. The drops are made from blueberry puree, apples and sugar. Hence a general sweet note with a tang rather than clear individual flavours.
Tuna was pretty much the last thing I gave up when I became vegetarian aged 13. I rarely ate it alone but would mix it with cold pasta, mayonnaise, gherkins and spring onions to make a pasta salad. I regularly took a bowl to an event if it was uncertain that there would be food that didn’t contain meat. And this subjected me to all kinds of conflicting views about whether or not fish was vegetarian.
Anyway, I gave up fish and learned to love pasta salad with other ingredients. So the arrival of Tuno on the UK market was a cause for excitement. How would it measure up?
Tuno comes in a blue tin. I got 2 generous servings out mixed with other ingredients. A number of varieties of Tuno are available but let’s keep things simple to start with!
Opening the tin to reveal a meaty looking product felt vaguely wrong. Like opening a can of cat food for dinner. It didn’t look very appealing but let’s face it neither does Tuno! It didn’t smell of much.
Tipped into a bowl it didn’t look any more attractive but did smell more appealing. A gentle fishy aroma. I’ll admit I tasted a morsel at this point. It was slightly chewy and tasty enough.
I then added mayonnaise. On reflection, it would have been better to use a thicker mayonnaise but the squirty stuff was what was lurking in the cupboard.
And once the sweetcorn and onion were added it looked fine. It tasted good. Nice texture and a good mix of flavours. I’d be more than happy to pull a tin of this out of the cupboard for a sandwich, salad or jacket potato topping. And I definitely want to investigate the other flavours.
This is the second review of the Shaka range from Vantastic Foods. A previous post has considered the creamy Shakalotta. A review of the strawberry Shakaberry will be forthcoming. Today we’re trying the exotic-sounding Shakaloha with its raspberry and calamansi flavouring!
Shakaloha comes in a cardboard box with 8 fingers of chocolate individually wrapped in silver paper. Take a moment to admire jaunty illustrations of the main flavours dancing in grass skirts. No, the green one isn’t a pear. It’s a calamansi!
Testers simply said ‘Revels‘ when asked for their impressions. But they were unable to articulate anything regarding the flavour in any detail. The Revels like flavour and texture has been noted in regard to other bars in the Shaka range. Maybe Vantastic Foods will take note and introduce a coffee/orange/coconut filling.
The taste while hard to pin down is rather lovely. It’s sweet but not too sweet. There is an initial taste of raspberry before the tart calamansi taste kicks in. And what is calamansi I hear you ask? It’s a citrus fruit largely grown in the Philippines. So a sharper taste to counter the sweetness of the raspberry which works splendidly.
Good to know
Shakaloha is palm oil and soy-free.
You can buy Shakaloha from the Vool online shop for £3.
An unusual flavour but it makes a delightful addition to the Shaka range.
Mahalo with coconut filling is the vegan bar of choice for those who miss bounty bars. It’s apart of the range from Go Max Go which are similar to certain popular non-vegan chocolate bars. For example, the Jokerz bar as an alternative to Snickers.
The turquoise wrapper with pink flowers references the tropical nature of the bar. It doesn’t appear to be recyclable; so another one for the eco bottle.
Mahalo is chocolate coated and has a somewhat bumpy appearance. It smells of coconut and very much the way I remember a bounty bar to be.
The chocolate has a creamy taste but it’s the texture that makes this work. The filling looks closer packed than a bounty but it isn’t really noticeable once you’re chomping away. And there’s something else that’s not very noticeable…
An interesting addition is the almonds that run along the length. While in the UK we think of this as a Bounty it’s actually based on the American Almond Joy. I’ve never eaten an Almond Joy so I can’t make a direct comparison. Maybe it enhances the flavour in some way? However, you could quite easily – and I have – eat this bar without even noticing the almonds.
Good to know
The bar is gluten-free.
Mahalo bars can be found in the Vool online shop priced at £3.50.
An excellent alternative to a Bounty with a great texture – and see if you can taste those almonds!
The Colchester Gazette asked it’s readers for the best places for vegan food in the north Essex. Vool were delighted to be mentioned for our range of vegan snacks. And thrilled to be listed among so many other businesses we enjoy visiting (yum!).
Super Fudgio is made in Poland by Me Gusto – what a great name! Their fudge is available in a variety of flavours including strawberry, toffee and banana. All 3 flavours have been popular with Vool customers but let’s see take a closer look at strawberry Super Fudgio.
First, let’s acknowledge the cute sloth characters that appear on all the packaging. Do sloths like vegan fudge? Who knows? Anyway, each packet contains 150g of individually wrapped sweets. None of it appears to be recyclable and the wrappers are mixed materials.
It’s dark in colour and smells sweet. A bit like demerara sugar. Which is interesting as it doesn’t contain any. The individual pieces feel quite solid when squeezed; a bit more like toffee than fudge. However, it’s suitably soft to bite into with a hint of crumble in the texture. On the subject of texture, it sits somewhere very pleasant between fudge and soft toffee.
The strawberry flavour isn’t overwhelming. There’s a hint of coconut but not too much. It’s very much like strawberry toffos -for anyone who is young enough to remember those. A definite dark sugar taste along with the strawberry.
Good to Know
The product doesn’t contain cane sugar. It’s sweetened with coconut sugar and rice syrup.
The pow design (as if the chocolate was hoping for a role in a superhero movie) is fun. Sadly the packaging is plastic and doesn’t look to be recyclable. So it’ll this one will be taking its place in the eco brick.
At 40g it weighs in at less than a Vego Mini bar but that might be a blessing for your waistline!
The Vegan Hero with hazelnuts looks good. It’s an appetising colour and has a good chunky appearance. It’s divided into 4 nicely sized squares. Of course, it looks even better when you turn it over and can see the hazelnuts!
Of course, the real test is the taste. And the taste is great. It has the same melt in the mouth quality that Vego has (and might even taste better). The hazelnuts work well against the sweetness of the chocolate. The chunkiness is pleasing to sink your teeth into.
Good to know
The Vegan Hero with Hazelnuts is gluten free as is the whole range.
Just what is schakalotta? It’s one of the varieties of the schaka chocolate bar. The others are schakaberry and schakaloha. Each product consists of 8 individually wrapped fingers of chocolate.
Schakalotta comes in a blue cardboard packet. There’s a graphic of a cocoa bean and a milk churn. Initially, it looks a bit alarming; somewhat akin to the cow that appears on Kohbonbon caramels. However, a closer inspection reveals that the cocoa bean – with fetching pigtails – appears to be kicking the milk churn!
The fingers of chocolate inside in individually wrapped in paper. So good work on recyclable packing here. Additionally, the 8 fingers seem pretty handy if you are consuming with pleasurable caution and limiting yourself to one a day.
There’s a slight smell of creamy chocolate when the packet is opened. However, there’s nothing overwhelming to start the taste buds salivating. Each finger is scored into 3 pieces (breakfast, lunch and dinner?).
Tastewise I initially struggled to find a way to describe the taste that wasn’t simply ‘creamy’. The flavour was tricky to pin down. It wasn’t vanilla or caramel but it was lingeringly familiar. Then, after considerable consumption, a pre-vegan memory surfaced. Yes, it tasted somewhat similar to Kinder chocolate.
The texture is similar to Kinder as well. It’s firm but not hard. Placing in the fridge for an hour or so further enhances a very pleasing texture experience.
Vegan marshmallows have come a long way. It wasn’t so long ago that consumption was limited to the homemade variety purchased for an eye-wateringly high price a vegan fair. The prices haven’t changed much but what’s available has.
When Sainsburys stocks mini vegan marshmallows – and there are rumours that Poundstretcher has them- you know that it’s time to go the next level.
The next level, in this case, being Belgium chocolate coated.
The Vool squad gave Mallow Puffs a try in both vanilla bean and salted caramel flavour.
Opening the packet
The first bite
The bag are re-sealable (consume responsibly people) but sadly not recyclable. However, you might be distracted by the fantastic smell of chocolate as the pack is cut open.
The sensation of chocolate breaking to give way to soft mallow is pretty cool. The chocolate is rich and creamy living up to its high-class Belgium claims. The manufacturers, Baru, are from Belgium so maybe it’s no surprise.
The marshmallows are soft and not too gooey. Apparently the texture is something that Baru has worked feeling that none of the currently available products was quite right.
The contrast in textures between mallow and chocolate works well. So well it’s tempting to just keep popping them in one’s mouth…
If you try both flavours go for the vanilla bean first. If you taste them the other way round the vanilla is underwhelming. This doesn’t mean the vanilla is bad just that the salted caramel is very good. The taste and texture are akin to bite-sized pieces of Milky Way. Those with a more delicate palate might favour the vanilla.
Selling at £3.50 for a 100g bag these aren’t cheap. However, stuffing an entire bag of sweets down your throat in one sitting isn’t really very good for you. It’s all about consuming with pleasurable caution. We thought a couple of these made a nice after-dinner treat (akin to a finger of fudge being just enough).
These are definitely nice enough to take your time over. Salted caramel got our vote but don’t let that put you off the less strongly flavoured vanilla bean.
Wow, June was a busy month with plenty of fairs and our regular Colchester market stall on a Friday. Vool took part in Chelmsford Vegan Fair, Coggeshall’s monthly Feel Good Fair, popped up at Waffle On in Clacton and did a tofu making demonstration at Planet Essex at Cressing Temple Barns. If you missed the demo but you would like to know more have a look at the video version in our YouTube channel.
July is all about Colchester Market before we pop off on our holidays at the end of the month. Sadly we’ll be missing the Vegan Fair in Colchester on 27 July but that doesn’t mean you can’t go. To find out more visit the event page on Facebook.
Of course, the online shop will still be open for your browsing and purchasing a pleasure. Don’t forget we can post your goodies out to you from just £3.50. Meanwhile shelves virtual and actual will be well stocked in preparation for Southend Vegan Fair at the start of August.