Review of Kinnerton Dark & Smooth Chocolate Mints

Now I’m a lady who loves her chocolate as a guilty sweet treat. It can however be quiet difficult to get a chocolate fix when you follow a dairy free diet. So many chocolates contain milk. So I always have to a secret supply of chocolate for such occasions. One chocolate that I heard about via social media was Kinnerton dark & smooth chocolate mints. I love mint chocolate so just had to give them a try. They were quiet difficult to find so I was mightily pleased when my other half got me a box as a surprise treat.
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Onto the packaging I liked the simplicity of the design of the box. It’s brown colour with a simple green ribbon to the centre with a circle describing the chocolates inside. I also like the subtle addition of a mint leaf within the circle.
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They are clearly labelled as being dairy free, egg free, gluten free and nut free. They are also suitable for a vegan diet. Onto the ingredients list the only allergen highlighted is soya. To the back of the box the labelling also states that they are suitable for individuals who have a peanut allergy.
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On opening the box I have to admit to being a tad surprised. I was greeted by three separate layers of 9 chocolate discs. Onto the aroma I was greeted by a subtle cocoa that I associate with dark chocolate. This didn’t change of my famous close up sniff test. If I’m honest I was a tad disappointed as I hoped for a combination of cocoa and mint. Maybe this is a little unfair. On biting into the chocolate disc a nice hard crunch was noted followed by a smooth consistency. Onto the flavour my taste buds got hit by the slight bitterness from the chocolate this was preceded by a slight sweetness from mint. The mint wasn’t too strong and overpowering and complimented the cocoa perfectly. They would make a perfect after dinner mint.
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So would I recommend these chocolates? Yes I would. I loved everything about these chocolates from the simplicity of the packaging through to their subtle aroma, textures and flavours. It was well worth the wait. So if you follow a dairy free, gluten free, nut free, or vegan diet why not give these chocolates a try. So thank you Kinnerton for producing some mint chocolates that I can enjoy.

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Review of Marks & Spencer Made Without Dairy Dark Chocolate Mint & Sugar Crunch Bar

Ok, so I like a little chocolate as a treat. Grabbing a quick bar to enjoy is never easy when you are dairy free as even many dark chocolates contain milk. So when I saw on Twitter that Marks & Spencer had produced some new dairy free chocolate bars I had to hunt them down to give them a try. I popped into one of their local food halls and discovered all three flavours. Ok, so I got them all in the name of research of course. I choose to try the mint flavour first as its my favourite.
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I liked the simplicity of the packaging with its varying shades of green and its interlocked pattern. I liked the boldness of the dark chocolate logo. Sadly, I thought the made without dairy should be to the same design. Yes it was clear but it didn’t catch your attention as much and this is its USP, but that’s just my opinion. Onto the ingredients list soya is highlighted as an allergen with a warning that it is not suitable for those with a nut allergy due to the manufacturing process. Oh it is also labelled as being suitable for both a vegetarian and vegan diet.
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On opening the package I was immediately greeted by a fairly strong aroma of peppermint. This was stronger than I expected, slightly artificial but nether the less very pleasant. The actual chocolate bar was made up of squares with a nice M&S logo on each. I was personally impressed by this. On breaking of the first square I couldn’t wait to dive in and give it a try. The chocolate was fairly hard to bite into. My taste buds were first hit by the cocoa flavour which was just the right strength. This was proceeded by the sweetness from the sugar crystals. I then got a pow from the strength of the peppermint. I have to say all three flavours worked perfectly together. What I would say is that the peppermint is fairly strong I loved this but some may find it a little strong. Oh my goodness I’ve not mentioned the textures. The chocolate melted nicely in the mouth and was slightly smooth in texture, but those little pieces of sugar gave it a little mix up of crunchiness. This was eveningly distributed throughout the bar just perfectly.
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So would I recommend this chocolate mint bar, oh my goodness yes. It is a great value everyday chocolate bar with the right balance of flavours and textures. So if you like chocolate and mint follow a dairy free, vegetarian or vegan diet give this bar a try. I can’t wait to try the other chocolate bars in this range. So thank you Marks & Spencer for producing a chocolate bar that I can enjoy.

Review of Celtic Fine Dark Chocolate Mint Crisps

Ok so I’m known as a girl who likes her chocolate. I am very lucky that both friends and family seek out new varieties for me to try for my blog. Recently my friend Lucy found some Celtic fine dark mint chocolate crisps. She noted that they were free from dairy so decided to treat me. I was a tad excited by her gift as I love a After Eight style chocolates and I couldn’t wait to give them a try.
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I liked the packaging of these chocolates due to its simplicity. The picture of 3 chocolates with mint leaves clearly tells you what to expect. I also loved the crafty quote at the bottom love life…. Love chocolate. The chocolates are also gluten free and suitable for vegans. The only allergen listed is soya.
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On opening the packet I couldn’t note any aroma. This was a tad disappointing because even when the chocolate inside is sealed it is not uncommon to get a hint of cocoa. The chocolates themselves are chocolate discs wrapped in gold foil. On opening the foil there was a hint of cocoa noted although I hoped for a stronger aroma. That said this didn’t put me of and I dived right in. There was a good crunch noted on biting into the chocolate. I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy the texture of the chocolate as it melted in my mouth it just wasn’t smooth. I noted a subtle hint of cocoa but this was a lot weaker than I had hoped. I was expected this to be intermingled with mint but I struggled to taste this. I had a couple more following my 3 chocolate rule and the mint element became a little stronger.
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Would I recommend these to anyone who follows a dairy free, gluten free or vegan diet no I’m afraid not. I simply didn’t enjoy the texture, the chocolate itself wasn’t that palatable and I found it difficult to taste the mint element. I’m sorry Celtic but I much preferred Sainsbury’s free from chocolate mint crisps.

Review of Beyond Dark Chocolate Drops

Now I confess to being a girl who loves her chocolate. I don’t let being dairy free get in the way if this. Luckily there a variety of chocolates for me to try. A work colleague got me this packet of Beyond Dark chocolate drops to cheer me up. I hadn’t tried them before so was a little excited by what I would find. They come in a small black and gold packet and contain chocolate drops. As well as being suitable for dairy free me they are also gluten free and suitable for a vegan diet. The only ingredient component highlighted in the ingredients list is soya.
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On opening the packet my senses were immediately hit am by a strong aroma of cocoa. I couldn’t wait to dive in and give them a try. I guessed by the aroma that these little chocolate drops were going to be rich and indulgent. On placing a chocolate drop on my tongue the aroma intensified. I certainly got an immediate chocolate fix. The drop was indeed strong and rich in flavour. It tasted like it had a high cocoa content. It melted nicely on my tongue and it’s flavour lingered. I had a few more drops. I didn’t need many due to their richness. I would definitely describe these as a grown up treat. Although the packaging is only small the chocolate easily lasts a few days.
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I will definitely be buying these for myself in the future. They have been one of the nicest chocolates that I have tried recently. I would recommend anyone who follows a dairy free, gluten free or vegan diet gives these little gems a try. So a big thank you to Beyond Dark for producing these chocolates.

Review of Sainsbury’s free from chocolate mint crisps

Now I’m more of savoury person and prefer to have a starter and main as opposed to a dessert. One thing that sways my palate is chocolate. I’m afraid it is one of my weaknesses. Following a dairy and lactose free diet often means that I can’t enjoy most chocolates and like any food or drink I consume I always have to check the ingredients list. I personally prefer dark chocolate and if it has a bit of mint thrown in for luck even better. I recently to received a packet as a gift so of course I just had to review them.
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The chocolates come in a small box style packaging. This is the same green colour and style as Sainsbury’s other free from products. For me personally I find this a little dull and bland. The only semi exciting element is that there is a small clear sealed window to the front allowing you to see the chocolate inside. The ingredients list on the back of the packaging highlights the only allergen as being soya. They are also suitable for vegans.
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On opening the box you are greeted by chocolate discs covered in green foil. There was a pleasant aroma of rich chocolate with a subtle hint of mint. I just wanted to unwrap one of the discs and dive in.
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On removing the foil you find a dark chocolate disc. The aroma of both the chocolate and mint are slightly stronger but not overpowering. On biting into the chocolate a nice crunch was noted. The chocolate was fairly rich and slightly melted in the mouth. This alone would have mad me happy but this combined with the slight crunch from the mint and the pleasant refreshing flavour was a real treat. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how nice these chocolates were. They were certainly a nice grown up treat. I have had them both by themselves and as a treat after a meal. In fact at a recent meal I took one with me so that when the tea, coffee and mints arrived I didn’t feel left out.
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So if you follow a dairy, and or gluten free diet or a vegan why not give these chocolate mint crisps a try. I’m sure you won’t regret it. So thank you Sainsbury’s for producing a really nice sweet treat that I can enjoy.

The Free From Show London – My First Official Blog Review

I had a sudden change of plans for the bank holiday Monday. I received a message via twitter from Free From Events that as a blogger I had now got tickets to the Free From Festival in London. I was a tad excited to say the least, it was the first event that I had attended as an official blogger. So I made a quick call to my mum to ask if she could join me and of course the answer was yes and we made our arrangements to meet up the following morning. I have to confess to getting little sleep that night in the anticipation of the next morning. I packed my bag with my usual dairy free essentials just in case, its always better to be prepared. With my rain coat, umbrella and boots on I was ready to get on the train. I looked up some details about the festival during my journey to plan our day out. There appeared to be lot’s of stalls with food that were either dairy and lactose free for me or gluten free for my mum. The festival was held in a hall not to far from Aldegate East tube station, so it was a quick walk in the rain and we were there. I handed the ticket information to the men on the door, this was essential as the festival had sold out.
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On entering the hall we were greeted by a packed hall full of wet people and brilliant live music. I wasn’t sure where to start and what to do, so my mum and I had a general wander around deciding on a plan of action for the day. We were greeted with was a variety of stalls selling both sweet and savoury treats, with a tea and beauty company along the way. What did hit me was the wonderful aromas coming from the variety of food vendors. It all looked very healthy and tempting and I was spoilt for choice and for once there was more dairy and lactose free options than gluten free. Now, that never happens. So here’s a snapshot of our day.
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Our first stall that we visited was Emily Fruit Crisps, they were named after the director’s girlfriend. He was highly passionate about his brand and explained that they were made as a way of encouraging individual’s to eat fruit. They are basically a bag of dried fruit with only oil added. They are suitable for a dairy free, gluten free and a vegan diet, whilst being kosher and halal certified. We tried both the banana and apple chips. They tasted just like the fruit and had a nice soft texture with a subtle crunch noted. My mum and I both enjoyed the samples that we tried and would definitely buy these in the future. They make a great alternative snack to crisps and are a great way to get children to try fruit. They can be found at:
http://www.emilyfruitcrisps.co.uk/
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Another stop, influenced by me as I had a sweet tooth on the day was to Buttercream Dreams. It is a small company that was set up by Lauren out of her passion to have enjoyable sweet treats as part of her vegan lifestyle. She worked as a mental health nurse but gave this up to set up her new business. Lauren can be found at: Buttercream Dreams on Facebook. At the festival it was a real family affair with her mum helping out. The stall had a variety of both pretty delicate and larger cakes to purchase. All of which were vegan, and can be gluten free, soya free and sugar free. I opted for the salted caramel cake, Lauren kindly gave me a large complimentary slice to try. As I had tried various samples of food, I was pretty full so wrapped it up to take home. All I can say is that it was well worth the wait. The cake was perfect, the sponge was soft, light and moist with a neutral taste. This worked well with the rich indulgent topping of a caramel cream which was interlaced with chunks of salted caramel. It was one of the nicest cakes I have had in a long time, so thank you.
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My mum stopped by Les Deux Amies who specialise in French sweet and savoury pancakes. They had two hot plates one for gluten free and one for dairy free pancakes. My mum opted for a classic of Nutella and banana. It was massive, and she struggled to finish it. My mum loved the fact that she could have a gluten free pancake. She found the batter light and airy. She loved it’s simplicity and the variety of options to have in their pancakes. The stall was that popular that many of their ingredients had sold out. I received a sample of their caramel sauce to try at home as part of my bloggers free goodie bag. Sadly, it wasn’t dairy free. So mum took it home to share with my nephew who loves his pancakes. Les Deux Amies can be found at:
http://lesdeuxamies.co.uk/
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Due to my sweet tooth I stopped by Sticks and Cones they are a new business set up by Mark and his girlfriend. They follow a paleo diet and on a recent trip to Eastbourne were unable to find an ice cream to enjoy. So they started researching at home and experimenting with ice cream. The ice cream is based upon on the paleo lifestyle is dairy free, gluten free and suitable for vegans. It is made from coconut milk. Both my mum and I tried the caramel flavour. Now ice cream is never an issue for my mum being gluten free, but I often struggle with my dairy free diet. The ice cream was slightly rich and indulgent, it was lovely and creamy in both flavour and texture. I could definitely taste the ingredients and the combination of texture was spot on. I have to say it was one of the nicest ice creams that I have tried. So well done Sticks and Cones. Sorry, there’s no link available yet for this one.
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Next we discovered a vegan stall called Vegan Sweet Tooth London. It was run by Giancarlo which sold both sweet and savoury treats. He explained that as a chef he used to work in a vegan restaurant which closed. As a result he then set up his own business and has a stall at a variety of events. What struck me was the sheer variety of goods on offer. Having a sweet tooth I was spoilt for choice. In the end I opted for the gluten free chamomile zucchini and the peach and hibiscus cakes. You had a choice of a small or large portion, trust me the small was very substantial. I took them in a bag to take home, the zucchini could last up to 5 days. I really enjoyed both of these cakes. The zucchini had a moist sponge which interlaced with pieces of zucchini. There was a nice subtle but not overpowering flavour of chamomile. I have to say my favourite part of this cake was the cashew icing cream on the top. It was light, delicate and creamy and combined all the flavours of the cake perfectly. As for the peach and hibiscus, well the sponge was soft and moist and gooey in texture. This was topped by pieces of peach coated in a syrup. I could definitely taste the key ingredients in this cake. I personally found it a little heavy going so had in two sittings. If I saw this stall again would I buy cakes, yes definitely. What I must not forget to do is buy some savoury ones as well. Here’s the link:
http://www.giancarloroncato.co.uk/
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Our final stop of the day was to Raw Halo. This is a handmade organic artisan raw chocolate company. It was set up by Meg in May this year. Meg gave up refined sugar as a lifestyle choice but didn’t want to miss out on her life’s little luxuries including chocolate. The dark chocolate is free from refined sugar, gluten, wheat, egg and lactose. Meg explained that all of the chocolate bars are dairy free except the caramel due to its flavouring. With the exception of this bar all are accredited by the vegan society. We tried a sample of the plain chocolate. On biting into the chocolate I noted two textures, it was initially slightly dry this was followed by a nice creamier texture. Oh my goodness it was certainly rich in flavour and very indulgent definitely a chocolate for the grown ups. You could certainly taste the cacao element and would only need a little to get your chocolate fix. I would definitely buy some of Meg’s chocolate to try the other flavours as a treat to myself. Raw Halo can be found at: http://rawhalo.com/
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I recently wrote a blog post about the rapid expansion of the free from market and asked for opinions and personal experiences on this. I questioned whether people’s lifestyle choices is impacting on this market. All of those that responded to this post either had a food allergy or an intolerance or a medical condition and therefore do not purchase the products for lifestyle reasons. What I learned from this festival was that many of the individuals had set up their business because a lifestyle choice. They were all highly passionate about their personal experiences and why they had set up their business. For me personally this was a new experience because many of the brands I have tried have been developed as a result of a food allergy / intolerance or a medical condition. For me these individual lifestyles choices have benefited me and will no doubt may others. I was able to try a variety of treats that several years ago I would never have dreamed off. So for me personally, it made me rethink the lifestyle aspect of the free from market. I have tried some amazing foods from the festival, and if more safe foods are available to eat surely this can only be a positive thing.

Review of Kinnerton 4 solid chocolate lollies

Now, like most people I like chocolate. I am always on the look out for new chocolate to try that is dairy and lactose free. I discovered these lollies a little while ago but haven’t got round to posting a review. They come in a pack of 4 and have no information with regards to their calorie, fat, sugar or salt content. But hey they’re a treat and you don’t need to know the calorie content of everything you eat. More importantly they are dairy, gluten, wheat, egg and nut fee. They are clearly labelled as 4 solid dark chocolate lollies for allergy sufferers.
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To me they are the perfect size for a sneekie sweet treat to hit that chocolate craving. They are also a perfect treat size for children. I love the 3 colours of foil wrapping that you get. It’s great fun and makes them even more appealing. I personally like the orange foil. Now onto the chocolate itself. The foil is easy to open and reveals a good size circle of dark chocolate on a white lolly stick. The chocolate itself looks rich and indulgent yet simplistic.
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When I first saw these I couldn’t wait to dive in, but wasn’t sure how to eat them. So I simply bit a little of at a time and even tried sucking the chocolate as if it was a real lolly. I’m still not sure what is the best way to eat them, but who cares. I found the chocolate to be a little rich with a good coco taste, but without bring to strong or overpowering. It melted nicely in my mouth with a nice smooth non grainy texture. I really enjoyed it. The portion size was also spot on for me. What more can I say that I think it’s a great fun safe way for many with dietary restrictions can enjoy a piece of chocolate. It’s a fun design that both children and adults can enjoy. So thanks to Kinnerton for producing a chocolate lolly that can be enjoyed by many.