Haul from Japan Centre

My Husband and I decided we were going to Japan on our honeymoon long before we decided we were getting married! We had a great time there in April 2015 and fell in love with the culture and of course the food!

One of my fave sweets is mochi, pounded rice cake filled with a sweet red bean paste. In search of my fave snack we went to Japan Centre in London on the way home from my in-laws. My Husband was also on the look out for katsu curry ingredients. Of course we saw lots of other things we fancied. I’ve only included the vegan items below.

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The panko breadcrumbs and the curry sauces are for my Husband’s curry. The mild one for me and the hot one for him! The wasabi was also for him, something else I can’t handle!

Above the curry sauces on the left is yuzu sorbet. Yuzu is an Asian citrus fruit. This had almost completely melted by the time we got home but still tasted delicious. I didn’t realise there was a mini spoon in the lid else I would have eaten it on the train!

My Husband got a grape soda, I had a little try and it tasted like any other grape soda I’ve had (and none of them taste anything like grapes!) I got a lychee chi hi which is a cocktail drink with 4% alcohol, I was debating between getting the lychee or the peach but I was glad I went for this one. They don’t taste alcoholic at all so it’s good this is only a 250ml can as I could knock this stuff back!

I got some noodles to have with the frozen natto I bought. Natto is fermented soya beans, they have a strong cheesy smell which is somewhat off putting and have a very sticky texture. I would say the taste was similar to tempeh but a bit more intense. The freezer at the store had a sign saying the natto was vegetarian but the sauce pouch inside contained fish sauce which was very helpful. I stirred in a bit of soy sauce and rice vinegar with mine and had them on top of noodles.

Lastly we have the mochi. I was disappointed there wasn’t any coconut mochi available which I had seen on the website and the matcha one I was excited about contained milk! The large mochi had an odd texture and wasn’t stretchy at all. The smaller ones were really nice but I am much more impressed with the ones I get from my local Asian supermarket.

My Husband also got some non-vegan goodies including chocolate covered almonds and some almond Pocky.

Have you been to Japan Centre? What we’re your favourite items?

Plumes x

Haul from Japan Centre

Round up of the week’s food 160529

Hey everyone! I’ve felt really tired this week which I’m not quite sure why. Perhaps I just need some earlier nights.

On Monday my Husband was going to an event in Greenwich so I met him at the O2 beforehand to get to some food. We went to Las Iguanas as I know they’re pretty good for veggie/vegan options and have a separate menu. It was pretty quiet as there wasn’t an event going on at the O2 and we had the whole massive restaurant to ourselves with one other couple! I had the quinoa ensalada which is described as below –

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It was ok. I couldn’t see any sweet potato in it and I didn’t think the corn tasted charred. The avocado was described as crushed but it looked like a really think guacamole. I really liked the sweet roquito pepper drops but the cranberry chilli salsa completely overpowered it and it all tasted very sweet.

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I was disappointed that a few of the sides (cassava chips, plantain, fries, sweet potato fries) weren’t marked as vegan. When I enquired with the server she said it was because they were fried in the same fryer/oil as some of the cheese dishes. A real shame!

I was excited to see a couple of vegan desserts and wanted to try the tembleque, unfortunately we were restricted by time but I’ll definitely give it a go next time.

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On Tuesday I went to Shoryu a Japanese ramen restaurant for lunch with a colleague. The restaurant looks really traditional and most of the staff were Japanese.

I went for –

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It was really tasty and filling but quite simple.

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I also had a lychee jasmine tea which was delicious!

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As I wasn’t home much this week we didn’t do food shopping so the one evening I was in I was scraping around to get a dish together. I cooked up some amaranth which is an ancient grain similar to quinoa (high in protein) with a ropey pepper I had left in the fridge, dried mushrooms, frozen peas and onions. I served it with a Linda McCartney mushroom and spinach burger. I really enjoyed the amaranth mix, it takes quite a long time to cook, 35 mins boiling then 15 mins standing so I might make a big batch next time to use for a few days in a row. The burger was a bit bland and I don’t think I’d get them again.

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On Wednesday I went out with my friend Jo for our monthly dinner. We went to Busaba for some thai food. I went for the pad thai jay.  It was a nice portion size, the veg was really crunchy and I felt very satisfied with it.

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On Thursday I went swimming with Mum. We had a tofu stir fry with ginger and hoisin sauce and glass noodles. I love glass noodles which are made from mung beans and taste really light.

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On Friday we went out for dinner around London Bridge as we heading down to my in-laws. We had a look round Borough Market and I saw loads of options I wouldn’t mind trying out but my Husband wasn’t too keen. We ended up going to Tas a Turkish restaurant on Borough High Street. They had loads of veggie dishes and it took me a while deciding what I was going to have! I went for an aubergine dish with tomato, chickpea and onions to start and had artichoke with broad beans and potatoes for main. It tasted really fresh and flavourful. There are a few restaurants in this chain so I’ll definitely keep my eye out for them when I need some food!

When we got to my in-laws I headed to the freezer as I had some ice cream stocked in there! I had chocolate and ginger and it was so nice to have this treat a the end of the week.

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My in-laws have been really busy so my Husband offered to cook dinner. He made a lovely roast dinner with a nut burger for me.

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There are some cows who live in the field opposite my in-laws so when they came up to the fence while my Husband was cooking dinner I had to pop over to say hello!

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Today we travelled home and picked up some treats at Japan Centre which I’m going to write a separate post about.

I’ve got a more chilled week next week so think I’m going to try and run down my freezer as I have lots of bits and pieces in there that need using up.

Plumes x

 

Round up of the week’s food 160529

Sunni’s Kicking Ass on the Road

Let me tell you about my friend Sunni.

We met at a meetup in London a few years ago while she was travelling around the UK and we clicked instantaneously. I saw her a few times during her time here before she continued on her travels. We have kept in contact via social media, mainly Facebook but also via our blogs.

Sunni has been travelling for the past 5 years and has written a guide for solo female travellers using her knowledge, wisdom and experiences from her travels.

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I have no interest in travelling for extended periods of time alone or with others so you might not think this book is for me! However the book contains loads of great tips for short trips or holidays, for everyone not just women.

Having known Sunni for a while and read her writings on her blog I wanted to buy this book as I love her style of writing. It is very honest and funny and she writes exactly how she speaks (which is no nonsense, telling like it is, in a way only Australians can do!) I also love the cover picture (part of the reason I bought the print version) I took part in some polls for Sunni to decide on the cover image and I’m so glad she went with one of herself!

I received the book when I got home yesterday and read it in the bath and am about 40% of the way through. It is very clearly laid out with helpful chapter headings so you can quickly flick to the part you need.

I also skipped to the back and saw Sunni is releasing another book in July with personal stories from her travels which I am so looking forward to as I know she can tell a juicy tale!

Sunni truly lives up to her name and is one of the most positive people I have ever met. I find her very inspiring and loving hearing and seeing what she is up to on her travels.

Her book is available through Amazon in print and Kindle versions via getbook.at/kickingass the Kindle version is $2.99/£2.08 until 10th June.

You can read Sunni’s blog at www.sunnidawson.com and see her video about the book here, you can also join her “Live Brave” community on Facebook via this link.

I hope you enjoy it!

Plumes x

 

Sunni’s Kicking Ass on the Road

Vegan Perfumes

Along with cruelty free beauty products, perfumes are another area where vegans need to tread carefully.

You can look up your fave perfume to see whether they comment about being cruelty free or containing animal ingredients although some are particularly quiet on the matter. Also if the perfume is from a fashion house you may want to consider whether they use animal products in their fashion lines (fur, crocodile/snakeskin, leather, silk, wool).

Luckily there are a few brands which are completely cruelty free. Lush have a range of great smelling perfumes and they mark which are vegetarian and vegan.

My fave perfume brand however are Eden Perfumes. They are based in Brighton and are completely vegan and cruelty free, they analyse popular brands and make vegan versions for a great price! I couldn’t put it better myself so I have taken the following from their website to show you.

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I received the similar to Lady Million by Paco Rabanne for my birthday and I have just bought the similar to Classique by Jean Paul Gautier. They have a nice big spray so you need a couple of spritz to be smelling delightful! My only criticism would be that they only do one size, I think a larger bottle would be good especially if you are buying it as a present for someone else.

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Do you wear vegan/cruelty free scents? What are your favourites?

Plumes x

Vegan Perfumes

Round up of the week’s food 160522

I’ve had a busy week so had lots of simple suppers to get me through!

I order my shopping from Sainsburys and often get a sweet potato. This week they sent me this monster so I baked it to use in the week.

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On Monday I paired it with some sausages and spinach and peas. Quick, tasty, wholesome!

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On Tuesday I had a tempeh curry from Ekachai. It was nice and sweet and not like any other curry I’ve had before.

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I had curry again for dinner on Tuesday this time a tofu Caribbean one using Spiced! paste. I made the sauce with the paste and coconut milk and served it with traditional rice and peas.

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On Wednesday I went swimming with Mum and she served up chestnuts with sprouts and onions and more sweet potato. Stir-frying is my fave way of serving sprouts, lovely when they’ve got a bit of colour on them.

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On Thursday I had the second half of my sausages and sweet potato this time with some sweetcorn.

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On Friday I went out with my Mum and a couple of her friends for dinner. We  have become friendly with the owner of a local bistro and she is great at adapting dishes for my vegan requirements. I had this gorgeous homemade burger with roasted vegetables and chips (of course!)

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On Saturday I took part in my first vegan demonstration with Awakening Compassion at Trafalgar Square. I went with my Sister-in-law and met a couple of friends up there and made some new ones too! We held placards and some gave out leaflets and I was really encouraged by how positive the public response was to us. It’s also a great opportunity  to people watch, which is one of my favourite past times! I made some cupcakes to be given out to the public and they went down rather well!

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After all that activism we were rather hungry so headed over to Vantra for some food. They have a buffet where you weigh your plate at the end to get your price. Having learnt my lesson from buying pick a mix in my youth I was looking for the lightest foods! Everything was really tasty and it was good to have a range of hot and cold items.The only disappointing thing I found was that they didn’t accept cards. I could understand this in a small cafe in a rural location but this is an established busy restaurant in the busiest shopping street in London!

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We were tempted by the desserts at Vantra but as my Sister-in-law hadn’t tried the delights of Yorica! so we decided to head over there as it was only a short walk. I had beetroot and chocolate, blackcurrant and moringa which is an Asian superfood similar in taste to green tea, I had mine topped with chocolate cornflakes and sprinkles (I also nabbed the swing chair!) My Sister-in-law went for cookies and cream, chocolate and Wow butter which is a nut free alternative to peanut butter, topped with popcorn and brownie bites. It was amazing and the portions were very generous again, I’ve got to learn that!

Today I met my Sister-in-law for an open air mass at our church which was really enjoyable and luckily the weather held up! I then went swimming for the second time this week so I have been chilling the rest of the day. I did take a little snooze in the middle of Captain America 2 so my Husband had to pause it until I woke up! We had an easy dinner of burger, chips and onions rings which wasn’t very photogenic (!) so I’ll leave that one up to your imagination!

I’ve got another busy week next week with a few meals arranged with friends so I look forward to showing you what I’ve been up to and eaten!

Plumes x

 

Round up of the week’s food 160522

Round up of the week’s food 160515

Hey folks, as you may have seen I’ve had a busy week of blogging this week. Some weeks you just have a lot going on and a lot to talk about! I’ve felt really positive this week and I think that coincides with my 4th veganniversary which I wrote about here. I’ve been in a rather reflective mood, so let’s reflect on the week’s food!

on Monday I was scavenging in the fridge and had lots of bits and pieces so I decided to make roasted vegetables with potato and chickpeas, I tossed the veg and chickpeas in oil and herbs, I cooked the potato in the microwave for a bit before tossing it in as well and baked in the oven for 30 mins. Really easy and really tasty. I love roasted chickpeas, I roasted the other half a tin and had them in a salad for lunch later in the week.

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Tuesday I grabbed some pea and mint soup from Pret (you can read my review of Pret’s new vegan options here). It tasted really fresh and was so filling I also liked that there were quite a few whole peas to give it a bit of texture.

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On Tuesday evening my Husband made me a lovely mushroom and leek risotto. I covered it in Violife’s parmesan style cheese so it’s not really recognisable in this picture!

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On Wednesday two of my friends invited me for lunch at K Place, a Korean restaurant. I looked up reviews and there were some really good ones from Korean people living in London  so I thought it must be good! We had miso soup with pickles and kimchi to start and then I had bibimbap, which is assorted vegetables with rice and some tofu on the side. I have only had Korean food recently and I’ve been really enjoying it.

As I had the aquafaba from the chickpeas on Monday I wanted to use up I decided to use it in this omlette recipe from A Virtual Vegan. The texture was different to other vegan omlettes I’ve made before as this was the first one using aquafaba, I would say it was more pancake-like. I added a few herbs and spices to jazz it up a little and had a salad with it.

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On Thursday I went swimming with Mum and she wasn’t in the mood to cook so we went to a Turkish restaurant near the swimming pool. I love Turkish food (if you weren’t already aware from previous posts!) and especially in summer it seems so much lighter than other cuisines. We shared some haricot beans in a tomato sauce and a stuffed artichoke to start. I’ve had the Pilaki beans before but the artichoke really stood out the veg inside were marinated in olive oil and dill, it was just such a nice dish. For main we both had imam bilyaldi – stuffed aubergine with rice and salad. This was a really nice example of this dish and it went down well with both of us! Turkish bread is also one of my favourites and I ate almost the entirety of our bowl (I did let Mum have a couple of pieces!)

On Friday I went to lunch with a friend to Simple Health Kitchen, I had roasted veg and a Cesear salad (with vegan dressing!) with my huge sweet potato falafel and avocado & lime dressing. I liked the look of the raw chocolate, peanut butter cake but was really full so I decided to skip it.

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On Friday we came down to my in-laws’ in Kent, I had this simple supper of sausages, spud and beans made by my Father-in-law.

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There is an independent health food shop in the town which I have visited once before. Your Good Health sells a variety of foods and toiletries and will order in items on request. I bought these Salt & Pamper Epsom salts so I could leave them at my in-laws’ for when I visit. I really like this Amy’s split pea soup which is really filling. I got some More Than Meat burgers to have in the freezer at my in-laws’ (you can see my review on the full range here). I hadn’t tried the Booja Booja ginger ice cream so I decided to pick some up. I’ve had a spoonful out of the tub and it doesn’t disappoint! Lastly I bought teapigs matcha drink which is apple juice with concentrated green tea to give you a boost.

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On Saturday I had a nut burger with chips and salad before I settled down to watch Eurovision!

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My Husband has been craving Japanese this week so we decided to stop at Yo! Sushi at Victoria station when we were travelling through. Be sure to ask for the vegan menu for a long list of suitable goodies! I had the inari tofu sushi, seaweed salad, aubergine, vegetable dumplings and sweet potato in panko breadcrumbs.

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I went for the apple dumplings with miso caramel sauce. These were gorgeous and I think I’m going to try and recreate the sauce at home!

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As is the custom at my office we have to bring in food for every and any reason (!) so I’m taking in scones tomorrow with coconut cream and raspberry jam for my veganniversary.

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They usually go down pretty well!

Have a lovely week!

Plumes x

 

Round up of the week’s food 160515

4 Years Vegan!

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Tomorrow I celebrate 4 years since turning vegan, and it is truly a celebration!

If you want to read about how came to veganism see my post My Journey to Veganism.

I can’t believe it’s been four whole years, I feel so much better for making that choice and aligning my actions to my principles. Recently I have been speaking to more vegan-curious folk and I’m happy that by sharing my experiences and knowledge I’ve gained and I can help them on their own personal journeys.

A common answer to the question “Do you regret anything about becoming vegan?” is “I only regret I didn’t do it sooner!” in my four years of veganism I have seen the options and general attitudes towards veganism come on leaps and bounds and it is only getting easier to make the switch to cruelty free living.

To recognise the impact my four years of veganism has had I went to Vegan Calculator and these are my results –

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It truly puts into perspective what a vegan lifestyle can achieve.

I couldn’t do this alone and I’m thankful for the support and positively I’ve received from my family, friends and work colleagues. I also am eternally grateful to my virtual vegan family on Twitter and instagram sharing great food, answers to queries and spreading the vegan love!

I’m always happy to answer questions about vegan living and if I don’t know I’ll try to direct to somewhere that will have the answer! So either contact me on here or Twitter/instagram @plumesworld

Plumes x

4 Years Vegan!

The Vegan Kind Beauty Box 7

I subscribe to a quarterly beauty box from The Vegan Kind which showcases vegan and cruelty free cosmetics and toiletries. It costs £15 + P&P but what you get is worth so much more! This month I make it a whopping £42.94!

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First off we have this Woodland Rose Epsom Salk Bath Soak from Twa Birds (RRP £2.00). My Sister-in-law got me into Epsom salts so I was looking forward to trying this out. These salts smell delicious and it was so relaxing getting into my bath after my run. These have really pretty rose petals which are lovely to see floating around your bath water but a bit annoying when you have to pick them out of the plug hole!

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Next up we have Anti-Aging Eye Gel from PHB Ethical Beauty (RRP £16.95). I have never used an anti-aging eye gel or cream so I can’t compare this to any other products. I can say that it smelt really nice and felt lovely and cool when I applied it to my eyes. Let’s see if it works!

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I didn’t think this Lemon Drizzle Lip Scrub from Fairypants (RRP £3.99) smelt particularly lemony, but once I applied it to my lips it definitely tasted of lemons! The thing I like about this scrub is that it has a balm infused with it so once you’ve licked off the scrub you have a lovely balm left. With other scrubs I have used you have to apply a separate balm after. The only thing I would say is that I think this product would have been better placed in a winter box as that is the time I really need to use lip scrub/balm.

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I thought this Green Equinox Sparkling Harmony Mineral Powder from Alva Natural Cosmetics (RRP £7.50) looked really interested. When I tried it out on my hand it was a great shimmery colour and perfect for summer! It is also has multiple uses, it can be used as an eyeshadow, highlighter, eyeliner, on top of lip gloss or on your nails if you mix it with clear nail varnish!

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Lastly  we have this Coconut and Lime Hair Mask from Grounded (£12.50) this was another great smelling product – it had me imaging I was in the Tropics! My hair is in pretty good condition so I don’t regularly use hair masks but I think this will be great when I want to pamper myself.

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If this Beauty Box wasn’t value enough the companies featured often provide voucher codes, this month ranging from 15% to 30% if you want to reorder any products or check out others in their ranges.

As always 20p from the price of every box is donated to Dr Hadwen Trust the UK’s leading non-animal medical research charity who fund and promote the development of techniques and procedures to replace the use of animals in biomedical research.

Have you tried any of these products out? What did you think?

Plumes x

 

The Vegan Kind Beauty Box 7

Review – Mr Crypt’s Curiosities

I’ve followed Rob from Mr Crypt’s Curiosities on Twitter for a while now and thought I’d try out some of his wares.

Rob designs, makes and sells various goods from mugs and coasters to phone cases, tote bags and keyrings. Some are family friendly and some are definitely not!

I decided to go for this bee tote bag. I love a good tote and I do have a tendency to leave them on trains (!) so I like to have a good supply! There was also a mandala bag I had my eye on but I loved the colours and brightness on this one.

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I also decided to get the unicorn tea towel as it was on sale and who doesn’t love a giant unicorn tea towel?!

I thought the A5 print was really cool. There are a few on the website with different phrases on. I also love the rainbow colours and the varsity font. It is now sitting proudly on my bookshelf in my hallway giving me encouragement everytime I walk past!

Everything on the website is completely vegan friendly and I was really impressed to receive my goods within 2 days of ordering.

I’d definitely recommend you check out the website and support a small vegan business!

Plumes x

Review – Mr Crypt’s Curiosities

Lots of Vegan Chocolate!

I bought my Mum a couple of presents from the Viva! Campaign Shop for her birthday. If you haven’t heard of Viva! they are a vegan campaign group who expose animal cruelty by secretly filming inside organisations and campaigning against animal exploitation. As I had paid for postage and packaging on my Mum’s gifts I thought I would make the most of it and buy some chocolate I’d been hearing about and hadn’t come across in my local haunts.

I bought the Vivani crispy cornflakes and strawberry wafer crunch bars, the IChoc (who are owned by the same company as Vivani) white nougat crisp bar and the Coco Caravan chai caramel bar.

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I also picked up another two IChoc bars, the milkless and choco cookie and a packet of Vegolino from the same people who brought you the Vego Bar when I visited the Black Cat Cafe which you can read all about here.

Starting with corn flake bar – I found this really crunchy and it reminded me of the corn flake cakes we used to make when I was little. I think the corn flake pieces could have been a little bigger though. The chocolate didn’t have a rich cocoa taste at first but this developed more as I worked my way through the bar!

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I misread the German on the strawberry bar and thought “waffel” was waffle rather than wafer. The wafer pieces again give a nice crunch but I think they could have been a little bigger. This bar is very sweet and has a strong strawberry flavour. I think this bar is quite original and I can’t think of any non-vegan offering that is similar.

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I have tried the Vivani small bar of the white nougat crisp and the larger bar doesn’t disappoint. I’m not sure why they use the different branding as I prefer the Vivani packaging and designs. This chocolate is really soft and has a lovely hazelnutty flavour, this is definitely one of my favourites and again I don’t think there is an equivalent in the non-vegan market.

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The chai caramel bar is raw dark chocolate flavoured with spices filled with a raw caramel. When I saw this bar online I assumed it was the caramel that was chai flavoured rather than the chocolate. The chocolate is dark and rich and I think the intense cocoa flavour distracts from the spices, I think this would have worked better with a milder chocolate, equally I think the caramel flavour gets a bit lost in this one. Although as the chocolate is so rich I have only been eating one square at a time of this so still have some left!

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The milkless and the choco cookie have a similar appearance the corn flake bar so I haven’t taken extra pictures. The milkless is a mild, creamy chocolate that doesn’t have the aftertaste of some other dairy-free alternatives. I prefer richer chocolate or something a bit different so I think I’d choose one of the other Vivani/IChoc bars over this one. The choco cookie has cookie pieces, similar to the biscuits/cookies of an oreo contained inside and they give this bar an added depth of flavour. I know there are cookie chocolate bars in the non-vegan market but I think most of these have come on the scene since I went vegan so it’s nice to have an animal friendly alternative!

Finally we have the Vegolino mini bars. These are from the same makers the Vego Bar which many hail as the best vegan chocolate on the planet! If you are unaware the Vego Bar is a big chunky dairy-free milk chocolate and hazelnut bar. These Vegolino’s are the Vego Bar’s more elegant cousins. They are small individually wrapped bars of praline gianduja and are best eaten straight from the fridge, especially in the weather we’ve had over the last week! I would describe these as tasting like the praline filling from a Guylian Seashell chocolate, they are beautiful and moreish and my only criticism would be I think they would benefit from a crisp layer of chocolate over the top. Anyone craving a Ferrero Rocher fix wouldn’t go wrong grabbing a bag of these!

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Have you tried any of these chocolates? What did you think? What is your favourite dairy-free chocolate? Let me know!

Plumes x

 

Lots of Vegan Chocolate!