Thursday, 27 July 2017

Coconuts Naturally Rum & Raisin Dairy Free Ice Cream

Coconuts Naturally Rum & Raisin Dairy Free Ice Cream

It's mighty difficult to find a good quality dairy free ice cream, I've tried so many, but one that caught my eye recently in a local health food store was the brand Coconuts Naturally, aka The Cornish Coconut Company. They produce organic, dairy free vegan ice cream in 6 different flavours: rich Raw Chocolate, indulgent Coconut Caramel, Mint Choc Chip- peppermint oil and spirulina for an amazing green colour, sumptuous Strawberry, Creamy Coconut and their new addition, boozy Rum and Raisin.

The Salted Caramel one was out of stock so I made do with Rum & Raisin, which cost £7. Yes, it's not cheap! But considering how hard it is to find good coconut ice cream I thought it would be worth the price.

Coconuts Naturally Rum & Raisin Dairy Free Ice Cream

The ingredients consist of unrefined organic coconut sugar, coconut cream, raisins and rum flavouring.

Coconuts Naturally Rum & Raisin Dairy Free Ice Cream

I was concerned the rum might be too much in ice cream, as it can often taste artificial but there was no fear of that here - it tasted like the real deal, and was rather boozy indeed! The texture of the ice cream was somewhat sorbet like, but much thicker and creamier than most coconut ice creams. The raisins added a nice chew, making for an unmistakable rum and raisin experience. To be honest, as nice as this was I did find it a little bit too much! It's very rich and you don't need a lot to satisfy a dessert craving.

Overall, this is a fantastic coconut ice cream, but I'm not sure I would buy this variety again. I really want to try the Salted Caramel to see how it compares - fingers crossed they have it in next time I visit. If you're vegan or dairy free and seeking out an indulgent dessert, definitely keep an eye out for Coconuts Naturally!

8.5 out of 10. 

Monday, 24 July 2017

Lakanto Monkfruit Golden Sweetener Review

Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener (Low Carb)

Today's review is something a bit different, not a snack as such but a sweetener that is fast becoming popular amongst the low carb, keto diet crowd. I've experimented on and off with low carb and sugar free diets and tried a variety of different sweeteners, such as stevia and eryhtritol, but I chose this one as it supposedly bakes like brown sugar. It's even been awarded "superior tasting natural sweetener" by America's top chefs.

It's based on an ancient sacred fruit, but rather than explain I'll copy what is on the wrapper:

"Over a thousand years ago, in remote mountain highlands of Asia, a group of Buddhist monks called the Luohan achieved enlightenment through meditation, prayer and pure living. On the slopes of a primeval forest, the monks discovered and cultivated a rare fruit prized for its sweetness. This sacred fruit was named Monk Fruit, or Luohan Guo, after its devoted caretakers and was used in elixirs to increase chi, or life energy. Monk Fruit was used for centuries in eastern traditional herbalism to increase chi and well-being, earning it the nickname “The Immortals’ Fruit.” We still grow and harvest Monk Fruit for LAKANTO® in the same pristine area and according to traditional and environmental methods".

Sounds impressive doesn't it?! Increase your chi, become spiritual, find enlightenment...all through a sweetener. But how does it compare to The Almighty white stuff? I'll get to that later...

Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener (Low Carb)

As well as being sacred, this sweetener is autism approved by the Autism Hope Alliance, non GMO, vegan, gluten free, contains zero calories and has zero glycemic index. It contains erythritol as well as monkfruit extract.

It looks similar to brown sugar in texture, and I initially used it in cups of tea. Although it is fairly sweet, I did find I had to use an extra spoonful to get the right level of sweetness. I suspected it would be better in baking so I tried using it in cookies, and they turned out rather well indeed, although the taste and texture is different from sugar. It's hard to describe really, but its definitely sweet and tastes more natural than any other low carb sweetener out there. I liked it; it's perfectly palatable and makes good cookies!

Overall, do I recommend this product? If you're on a low carb or sugar free diet, then yes, definitely! Its a lot healthier than real sugar and you can bake with it, which is the main point. However it may cause cravings for real sugar, so do exercise caution. I think it's great for occasional low carb baking, but maybe not for daily use. If you're not low carb but just want to reduce your sugar intake, then this is also a good product for you - it can be combined with real sugar to lessen the calorie load.

For more info on Lakanto:

8 out of 10.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Montezuma's Spice It Up Dark Chocolate with Dragon Ginger

Montezuma's Spice It Up Dark Chocolate with Dragon Ginger

Since Montezuma's bars started appearing in my local Sainsbury's I've been gradually making my way through the range, they do everything from the intense Absolute Black 100% Bar, to the fruity Black Forest Gateau Pudding Bar, both of which are great so I thought I'd try another in their range: Spice It Up with Dragon Ginger. This bar is vegan, dairy free, gluten free and non GMO. The chocolate contains 70% cocoa solids and ginger is listed as 7% in the ingredients.

Montezuma's Spice It Up Dark Chocolate with Dragon Ginger

I do like 70% cocoa bars, and even more so when they have some added ingredients so this bar was an absolute delight. The chocolate is rich and good quality, with a slight fruity edge. The crystallized ginger brings a warming burst of sweetness with every bite, it's gentle and fiery and definitely fits with the name "dragon" ginger. It's a tasty and moreish combination, I imagine this bar would be great in the Winter months with a cuppa!

Montezuma's Spice It Up Dark Chocolate with Dragon Ginger

Overall, this a tasty and great quality bar - Montezuma's have done it again! I'm struggling to find a favourite from their bars that I've tried recently, they're all so good, but I would say the Black Forest was pretty special.

Nutrition (per 25g): 10g Fat, 8g Carbohydrates, 8g Sugars, 2g Protein, 2g Fibre. 

8.5 out of 10.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Crabbie's Alcoholic Ginger Beer Original & Scottish Raspberry

A big thankyou to Crabbie's for providing me with these bottles of alcoholic gluten free ginger beer for todays review, they were very much appreciated! What with the hot, changeable weather recently it's always nice to have something refreshing on hand to cool down with, especially when it's alcoholic.

Crabbie's have been going since the 1800's when Scottish pioneer John Crabbie started creating drinks from steeped ginger and exotic spices from the far east. For more info on their history, do check out Crabbie's website:

The Original variety is made to Crabbie's "unique steeped ginger recipe" and contains 4% alcohol. I chilled it in the freezer, before pouring into a glass to drink ice cold. It was lovely; super refreshing, spicy and fiery with a lovely ginger warmth. The low amount of alcohol was just right, enough to make you feel a slight merriness but not keel over. Great for a summers day! 8.5 out of 10.

The Scottish Raspberry variety had a lovely pink hue to it, with that unmistakable aroma of sweet raspberry. I was worried this wouldn't mix well with ginger beer but to my surprise it was lovely, it gave a nice tart refreshing edge to the more fiery sweet ginger. It somehow works really well! I would definitely try this again. 8.5 out of 10.

Hats off to Crabbie's, these are two lovely drinks for the summer months. I would highly recommend them if you're in need of a light, gluten free alcoholic refreshment - they're perfect for picnics and barbecues. I'll be seeking out their other flavours now!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Goupie Lemon Meringue and Date & Walnut Review

A big thankyou to Goupie for sending me some of their lovely chocolates to review recently. They are "A devilishly moreish chewy chocolate confection with a hint of crunch", hand produced by a small team in Kent. They come in triangular pieces and are freshly made to order every week. There's 17 individual flavours, 13 of which are vegan friendly, whilst 7 are gluten-free. For more info do check out Goupie's website:

I got the Lemon Meringue and Date & Walnut as these are both gluten free, but they also make varieties such as Hazelnut, White Chocolate & Lavender and the intriguing "A Taste of Christmas" based on the humble mince pie (only available from October to December).

Lemon Meringue (Gluten Free):

Described as "A citrus cocktail of zesty candied lemon and rich marshmallows " these had a delightful lemon aroma when I cut into them. The centre is light and chewy, very sweet and oh so moreish. The Belgian dark chocolate is the perfect coating, with the marshmallow being a nice finish. These had me hooked! Before I knew it they were gone...oops. 8.5 out of 10.

Date & Walnut (Gluten Free, Vegan):

Described as "A priceless pairing of succulent dates and creamy walnuts", these are dairy free and vegan as well as gluten free.

The centres in these were very sticky, no doubt thanks to the dates, and oh so moreish. They also have a rich chocolate flavour going on.

They're the perfect ooey, gooey munchy snack that will keep you reaching for more. Super rich and full of flavour, with the walnuts adding a slightly savoury edge, these would make a perfect end to a meal. 8 out of 10.

Out of the two boxes Goupie sent me, it's hard to pick a favourite because both were so moreish and addictive, but as you can see the Lemon Meringue scored higher, purely because I prefer zesty fruity flavours. Both are great though, and boy do I wish I wasn't gluten sensitive so I could try the other varieties!

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Ombar 90% Organic Cacao Review

Ombar 90% Organic Cacao

Following on from my review of Ombar Centres Coconut & Vanilla, today's review is another bar they sent me recently; Ombar 90% Cacao, made with organic Ecuadorian raw cacao. This is gluten free, dairy free, suitable for vegans and made with coconut sugar rather than refined white sugar.

Ombar 90% Organic Cacao

The chocolate packs quite the cocoa punch, it's somewhat fruity and sour and a lot richer than regular chocolate. It was nice and I appreciated the different flavours compared to regular cacao, but it's not something I would neccesarily eat as a snack. It's something to be appreciated with a glass of wine or strong coffee.

Overall, a nice but very intense chocolate, this is one for the chocolate connoisseurs rather than an everyday indulgence. For that I would stick to the Ombar Centres.

Nutrition Information (per bar): 201 Calories, 18g Fat, 9.1g Carbohydrates, 3.6g Sugars, 3.5g Protein.

Organic Ingredients: raw cacao, coconut sugar, cocoa butter. 

8 out of 10.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Ombar Centres Coconut & Vanilla Review

ombar centres coconut and vanilla

I was recently sent a few chocolate bars from Ombar to review, which made me very happy indeed - I am currently avoiding dairy and trying to cut back on sugar a bit (let's see how long that lasts!), so these really made my day when I got them in the post. They're completely vegan, dairy free and gluten free and made with organic raw cacao. This particular bar contains a truffle filling of creamy coconut flavoured with vanilla.

ombar centres coconut and vanilla

The filling looks somewhat like the centre of a Lindt Creamy bar, and it tastes de-licious! It's extremely rich, and melts in the mouth perfectly giving an indulgent taste experience. The chocolate is rich and earthy tasting - you can definitely tell it's made with raw cacao, and it contrasts nicely with the creamy centre.

If you're dairy free or vegan, these are bars you will want to stock up on and eat all to yourself. They're so rich and satisfying that a little goes a long way, I do wish they came in larger bars though. I couldn't help but want more after eating this - old habits die hard I guess!

Ingredients: Creamed coconut, coconut sugar, raw cacao, coconut oil, cocoa butter, vanilla extract. 

Nutrition per bar: 202 Calories, 15g Fat, 16g Carbohydrates, 11g Sugars, 2.9g Protein. 

9 out of 10. 

Monday, 10 July 2017

Monty Bojangles Choccy Scoffy

Monty Bojangles Choccy Scoffy

Today's review is for some lovely truffles I was kindly sent by Monty Bojangles recently. I've already reviewed their Scofflets Truffles which were delicious, so how does this Choccy Scoffy boxed variety compare?

Monty Bojangles Choccy Scoffy

The box is delightful and very well presented, and even gives you an indulgent recipe to try at home that includes butter. Naughty!

Monty Bojangles Choccy Scoffy

The truffles may look plain, but they taste delightful. They melt in the mouth like butter, with a creamy and smooth melt. They're very rich so you only need a few for a chocolatey hit, but they're oh so satisfying.

Overall, these truffles from Monty Bojangles taste great and would make the perfect birthday or Christmas gift, or more likely a cheeky treat all to yourself (I certainly didn't share them!)

8.5 out of 10. 

Friday, 7 July 2017

Haagen Dazs Mango & Raspberry Ice Cream

Haagen Dazs Mango & Raspberry Ice Cream

It's British Summertime, and in in true fashion we're having heatwaves followed by what better way to cool off than with ice cream, right?

Today's review is one I've had in the archives a while, I bought a box of Haagen Dazs Fruit Collection way back when mainly to try the Blueberry and Cream variety, but it also contained this tub that I've never tried before, Mango & Raspberry. I was disappointed with the white chocolate Mango & Raspberry sticks so how does this variety compare?

Haagen Dazs Mango & Raspberry Ice Cream

Thankfully it's s lot, lot nicer! Like the other pots from The Fruit Collection this comes with it's own individual spoon - so handy for picnics!

Haagen Dazs Mango & Raspberry Ice Cream

The pot consists of mango ice cream with swirls of raspberry sauce mixed in, and is the perfect creamy and fruity combination. The flavours complement each other well, with the sauce bringing nice bursts of tart raspberry to the sweeter mango ice cream.

Overall, this is a great flavour from Haagen Dazs and now I want to try the large tub version! I would highly recommend The Fruit Collection too though; there's such a nice range of different flavours in it and the small pots are so handy for picnics.

9 out of 10.

Nutrition Information (per 87g pot): 211 Calories, 11.6g Fat, 23.7g Carbohydrates, 23.6g Sugars, 2.9g Protein.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Fruit Salad Sour Softies

It's been a while now since I reviewed regular Fruit Salad Softies, and I really enjoyed them so I was super excited when Tangerine Confectionery offered to send me some of the new Sour variety to review. They're described as "Sour, fruity and soft" and come in both Blackcurrant & Lime and Raspberry & Pineapple flavours. They're available from the likes of Tesco and stores like Home Bargains.

The sweets have similar colours to the regular variety, but when you bite into them the difference hits you. They have a vague sour flavour in the background, that isn't overpowering, but is definitely there. These were nice and it was certainly easy to eat a lot of them at once, however when compared to the regular variety I didn't enjoy them half as much.

Overall, these are an ok variation and nice if you like tangier sweets, but personally I will stick to the originals. Kids will love them!

Nutrition (per 100g): 328 Calories, 0.3g Fat, 78.3g Carbohydrates, 50.1g Sugar, 3.1g Protein. 

8 out of 10.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Fox's Glacier Ice Cream Favourites Limited Edition

Fox's Glacier Ice Cream Favourites

I haven't eaten Fox's sweets in a while, although I did used to love both the Mints and Fruits as a kid. Recently, they've been doing some limited editions such as Pop Bottles, and this year there's a new variety for Summer in the shape of these Ice Cream Favourites. The flavours consist of Raspberry Ripple, Strawberry Cream, Rum and Raisin, and Banana. Some bold flavours for sweets I'm sure you'll agree!

I was very excited when I saw these in shops, so I was over the moon a few days later when Fox's sent me a few packs to review. Cheers Fox's!

Fox's Glacier Ice Cream Favourites

The sweets are all individually wrapped and to be honest it was a little difficult distinguishing which flavour was which judging by colour alone. The bright yellow ones were clearly Banana, the paler ones were Rum and Raisin and so on.

Going by taste though it was pretty obvious. And despite my reservations about Rum and Raisin flavoured sweets...they were actually REALLY nice! Yes they tasted a tad artificial, but unless they were going to put real rum in kiddies sweets (imagine the outrage!) then this was inevitable. They were very addictive, I couldn't stop munching, or rather crunching on them.

The Banana flavour were also pretty good, with that fruity sweet flavour we all know and love.

The Raspberry Ripple were very pleasant and comforting, with that vanilla and raspberry combo that works so well in ice cream - they pretty much nailed this flavour.

The Strawberry Cream I didn't really notice as much, it was there and it was nice but not very distinctive when mixed in with the other flavours.

Overall, this is an excellent selection of fun and quirky sweets, with flavours that make them stand out. I would buy these if only for the Rum and Raisin and Banana varieties!

Available from Home Bargains. 

Nutrition (per 100g): 393 Calories, 0.5g Fat, 97.1g Carbohydrates, 69.2g Sugars, 0.1g Protein. 

8.5 out of 10.