Vegan Adventures In Veggie Land: Part 3

Trying some random vegan alternatives...

As well as ice-cream and cheese, I've been trying some other vegan things. Most of these I've just happened to see whilst shopping, and I took a chance on. For the most part, it has been a little disappointing to say the least. One choice was awful - but not as bad as one of the cheeses mentioned in the previous post!

Firstly, let's investigate these sausages. We like sausage butties (sandwiches, for those not from the north of England!) for breakfast on occasion. Our go to sausages are the Quorn Lincolnshire ones. They're excellent. However, on this occasion I'd arbitrarily decided to try something new. I wondered how far vegan sausages had come since the last time I tried any. The answer is simple - not far. Not far at all. In fact, I'd argue they've been at a complete standstill.

To make it a fair comparison, we paired these with the same products as we use with the Quorn ones - Warburton's white toast bread, and some brown sauce. There were a few problems with the Morrisons imposters. Firstly, the texture. It was vile. Very dry on the outside, and very wet, slimy and lumpy of the inside. It was a very unpleasant experience. Then the structure. The sausages started to fall apart while I was transferring them onto the bread. Some ended up looking like a grey/brown mush instead of a sausage. Lastly, the flavour. If you take the slimy texture and add a sweet sickliness to it, you have an inevitable recipe for disaster. The worst thing was that the sweetness was the only taste available. There may well have been other flavours, but they were overpowered. A bit like what happened with the Ben and Jerry's I reviewed in part 1.

Next up are some vegan chocolate bars from Moo Free. These were average at best. From the picture on the front, I had hoped the bars inside would have the shape of the character on them for that particular bar - a bit like the Cadbury Wildlife or Nestle Animal bars used to have. Nope. In fact, this is what they looked like:

How thoroughly disappointing is that? It's like they've not even tried to make their products appealing. (Which seems like a bit of an odd mistake from their marketing team...) Also, they claim that their bars "actually taste like milk chocolate". Well, they do not. One can only assume it's been a while since anyone at Moo Free has actually had any milk chocolate. Don't get me wrong, they weren't bad, but it's a bit like when you hear an evangelical Christian speaking - you know you're in for a spell of over-hyped disappointment. The biggest problem was these was the taste. None of the bars delivered the satisfying chocolatey hit we addicts sometimes (read always...) crave. It's a bit like a Tory or Labour government - promises a lot but delivers very little. They're also bloody expensive. I'll deal with each bar individually.

  • Bunnycomb - A clever name, and possible amusing if you're 5 years old. I'm not. In fact, I'm 30 years north of that number. I still smiled slightly though. This is their version of honeycomb - much as the name implies. Sadly, that's more or less where the comparison ends. The colour of the bunny comb pieces is similar to honeycomb. Unfortunately there's no flavour or crunch that you'd associate with it's non-vegan counterpart.
  • Orange - If you're expecting a Terry's Chocolate Orange like experience (at least like they used to be in the 80's...) then you'll be disappointed. There is a hint of orange there, but it is far too subtle to notice without expressly going hunting for it.
  • Mint - This was the best of the bunch - although that's not saying much. The minty pieces were satisfyingly crunchy. It did also taste a little of mint, but like the orange, not nearly enough. The other issue with this bar is that mint really works better with dark chocolate. Think about other mint and chocolate products - After Eights and Mint Choc Chip ice-cream for example. The recipes for those use dark chocolate and strong mint flavours. Another thought I had about these was that mint is a very inexpensive ingredient. We have a plant in our garden, and it grows very quickly indeed. With this in mind, they could have added much more mint flavour to this bar.
  • Original - What is it with the word 'original'? Why has it become a synonym for 'bland'? That's exactly what this bar is - bland. The problem here is that if you are going to create a bar that is just chocolate and nothing else, it has to be very good. Here we have a bar for which you can accurately use the word 'meh'.

At the same time that we saw the chocolate, we also saw these sweets. The problem with vegan gummy bears is that they are usually too soft, chewy and sticky. As such you spend more time picking them from your teeth then enjoying them. As far as textures goes, these ones are different. For those that remember how gelatine based gummy bears are - these have a similar texture from what I can remember. (I've been a vegetarian for around 12 years now, but I have a very good, if slightly selective, memory.) Unfortunately that's where the similarities end. They had almost no flavour at all. They are also not juicy. Good sweets should be flavourful and make your mouth water. These offer neither of those experiences. In fact, my sister tried some when she came to visit and remarked that "if you like these there must be something wrong with you." I explained that I did not like them!

Anneka bought one of these home for us each one evening. Now I personally find most of Sainsbury's products a little lacking in flavour and substance. I didn't have particularly high hopes about this either - after all, if they can't get regular chocolate right, what chance would they have of getting this right? Sadly, my low expectations were very quickly justified. While it was possibly to taste the orange in this, it fell short of an acceptable level of intensity. It was certainly more obvious than in the Moo Free bar, but still wasn't punchy enough. The orange flavour was the only good thing about this bar. The chocolate itself was dry and powdery, with an unpleasant crumbly sort of texture. It reminded me of 'Mockolate':

Needless to say, we won't be buying this again!

Finally we have this vegan spread from Pure. Now this brand has been around for some considerable time. In fact, I first tried the soya version of this in around 2004 when my then fiancée was trying to reduce her dairy consumption. Anneka and I had agreed we'd tried this as soon as the tub of Clover had run out. A few days ago it did, and we did. Now I must stress we've only tried this once each, so I'm reserving judgement until we've tried it a few more times. One thing I will say is that it's a significant improvement on the awful soya version I tried 13 years ago! It also acts an acceptable 'cement' for holding salt and vinegar crisps onto slices of bread. I love salt and vinegar crisp butties! Other than that, I've not yet decided if I like this. Once I've tried it a few more times, I'll report back.

Just a little note about Pure for my vegan readers out there - I know that some of you refuse to buy Flora's Dairy Free spread because it is made by a company which manufactures and sells animal products. I hate to break this to you, but Pure are owned by the Kerry Foods Group. This company produces various other things, including Cheesestrings and Wall's Sausages... Sadly, your choice to only purchase Pure is not as ethical as you think.

That's all for this instalment! I have a couple more posts to come for you, and one very nice surprise from my vegan experimentation so far!

No comments

Powered by Blogger.