Review of Valsoia Ice Cream Lollies

I have to confess to being a tad excited about the sudden availability of new vegan ice creams that are becoming readily available. My personal mission is of course to try as many as possible. So when I saw on Ocado that Valsoia did a chocolate coated vegan ice cream lollies I just had to try them.

I liked the pale blue colour of the packaging with the inviting picture of a partially eaten ice cream lolly to the right. As the ice cream lollies are from Italy an English label is placed over the original. They are labelled as being non dairy ice cream with cover. They are clearly labelled as being dairy free, gluten free, and 100% plant based. Onto the ingredients list soya is in bold as an allergen. There is no may contain warning.


On opening the box I was greeted by 3 large sized lollies in the same style packet as the packaging. On removing this I discovered a thick chocolate covered lolly. The initial aroma was a nice chocolately one. This aroma intensified slightly on my famous close up sniff test. On biting into the lolly I got a nice crisp crunch from from a nice thick chocolate coating. This was followed by the what I can only describe as a smooth ice cream centre. Onto the taste the chocolate layer was spot on it was strong but not too rich and overpowering. I certainly got my chocolate hit. This was followed by a neutral flavour from the ice cream. I was expecting a little vanilla element or something similar to this. This may be a tad unfair on reflection as vanilla is not listed on the ingredients list. That said I enjoyed this as it makes for a nice change from artificially flavoured ice creams.

So would I recommend these ice cream lollies? Yes I would. The thickness of the chocolate outside is spot. This combined with the smooth ice cream makes for a nice treat. So thank you Valsoia for producing a delicious ice cream lolly that I can enjoy.

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Review of Tesco’s Free From Garlic Baguette

Now I am bit partial to garlic bread and frequently make my own. It is often impossible to find ready made garlic bread which is dairy free. So when I heard that Tesco’s had just launched a free from garlic baguette as part their new free from range I had to investigate further. To be honest I didn’t hold up much hope as free from generally means gluten free with other food allergens included if you are lucky. To my surprise it was indeed suitable for me.

I liked the packaging as it is the same style as the rest of the products in their new updated free from range. I liked the pictures of the inviting pieces of garlic baguette on the front. I hoped that mine would look like this when cooked. The front of the packaging it is clearly labelled as being egg, gluten, milk and wheat free. On the back it is labelled as being suitable for vegans. Onto the ingredients list, there are no allergens highlighted and there is no may contain warning.

On opening the packet I was immediately hit by a pleasant aroma of garlic with a hint of mixed herbs. This did not change on my famous close up sniff test. I placed the baguette in the oven and cooked the baguette as instructed. Once cooked the aroma of the garlic intensified and seemed to mask the smell of the mixed herbs. I tore the baguette into a couple of sections and undertook my close up sniff test. At this point I was able to smell a faint undertone of the mixed herbs intermingled with the garlic. I couldn’t wait to dive into this baguette. It looked liked a regular garlic baguette nice and crunchy to the outside and light and fluffy inside. On biting into the baguette it was indeed crunchy on the outside and had a lighter fluffy texture inside followed by the slight moistness from the margarine. The texture was perfect, it was just like eating a regular garlic baguette. So a massive thumbs up to Tesco’s because I certainly wouldn’t have been able to tell that it was gluten free. Onto the flavour this the garlic element was definitely the prominent flavour without being too strong. This intermingled with a hint of mixed herbs made for a delicious garlic baguette.

So would I recommend this free from baguette? Yes I certainly would. I was especially surprised by the baguettes texture it was just like a regular garlic baguette. As for the flavour this was also spot on. I will no doubt be having many more of these baguettes in the future. So if you follow a dairy free, gluten free, and or a vegan diet give this garlic baguette a try. I’m sure that you will be pleasantly surprised. So thank you Tesco’s for producing a delicious garlic baguette that I can enjoy.

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Review of Morrisons Free From Celebration Tray Bake

When I heard via social media that Morrisons had added tray bakes to their free from range I admit to being a little excited. They were not only gluten free but milk free and perfect for dairy free me. So I sent my dad out hunting to grab me one with the plan being that I could share it with my mum and nephew who are both gluten free. My dad popped into Morrisons and they were sold out so were obviously popular. My dad finally managed to get me the chocolate celebration tray bake to try. I couldn’t wait to give it a try and had it all to myself as my mum and nephew had managed to find several gluten free cakes on holiday to enjoy.


Onto the packaging. Well it’s in the same style of all of the other free from ranges in Morrisons with the green style packaging. What I liked about this packaging was that it had a clear film to the top which meant that you could see the tempting treat inside. Onto the ingredients it is clearly labelled as being both gluten free and milk free to the front of the packaging. On the ingredients list egg and soya are clearly in bold as allergens. There is a no may contain warning.

On opening the pack I was greeted by a nice sweet but artificial chocolatey aroma which was pleasant and stronger than I had anticipated. This did not change on my famous close up sniff test. The tray bake consisted of 2 clear layers the chocolate sponge underneath and a top chocolate butter icing style with hundreds and thousands sprinkled on the top. On biting into the cake the it had three textures which complimented each other nicely. On my initial bite I got the smoothness from the chocolate butter style icing intermingled with an intermittent crunch from the hundreds and thousands. This was proceeded by the chocolate flavoured sponge which was light and airy and slightly bouncy in texture. A pleasant surprise if I’m honest. However, the sponge was slightly crumbly which did result in some of the sponge separating from the rest of the cake when the it was cut. The combinations of textures worked really well and the hundreds and thousands added that little extra to the cakes texture. Onto the cakes flavour well the main chocolatey element came from the top layer. The actual sponge was a little bland in flavour if eaten in isolation but worked perfectly with the topping. I personally think that if the sponge had been more chocaoltely the cake would have been too rich. I loved the hundreds and thousands on the top. They were sweet but added a little extra to this tray bake.

So would I recommend this  free from chocolate tray bake? Yes I would I’m not surprised that they are popular. I enjoyed everything about this cake from its aroma through to its flavour and texture. I will definitely be buying this again. So if you follow a dairy free, and or gluten free diet why not give this tray bake a try.

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Our First Family Free From Buffet


Having food allergies can suck sometimes. Growing up I remember having take all of my own food and drinks to parties. I secretly wished that I could try the food everyone else was eating but knew that it would make me poorly. My sister knew exactly how I felt and so when my nephew was recently diagnosed as being coeliac she didn’t want him to feel the same. So at our first family get together since his diagnosis my sister decided to have a totally free from buffet. This meant that everything was gluten free and that my nephew could eat everything. She also made a special effort for me making sure that there was several milk free options for me. To be fair I’m not sure who was more excited me or my nephew. Secretly I think it was me. If you’ve seen the very clever Morrison’s free from advert that was me just like me but as a grown up. My sister did a fantastic job visiting several supermarkets and food halls to get a great range of food that we could all enjoy. In fact there may have been a bit too much food. This was fine as it meant that we spent a lovely lazy afternoon at the dinner table trying a fantastic variety of foods and enjoying each others company. So a big thank you to my sister for a fantastic afternoon. It was a true delight to be able to watch the excitement and see my nephews face light up at the possibly of being able to try everything on the table. Oh and for spoiling me too.

Review of Good Full Stop Bars

Now I’m a girl who likes her mid morning snack. I have tried a few alternatives to my old favourite Nature Valley bars but I still seem to have these by default. So when I was contacted by The Good Full Stop Company and asked if I would like to try some of their snack bars I of course said yes. The snack bars which I received  are suitable for a dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian and or vegan diet.

CHERRY SWEET & CHERRY GOOD

Onto the packaging, I liked the simplicity of the packaging with its silver colours scheme and a picture of tempting cherries and an autumn leaf to the left hand corner. It is labelled as being gluten free, and suitable for a vegetarian and vegan diet. Onto the ingredients list, cashew is clearly highlighted as an allergen. There is no may contain warning.

On opening the packet there was the sweet aroma from the dates noted but intermingled with this was a hint of cherry which intensified on my close up sniff test. On biting into the bar I got the softness and slightly smooth texture intermingled with a slight crunchiness from the cashew. If I’m honest I missed the texture from the cherries. Onto the flavour well the dates and cashews were the prominent flavours, but the subtleness of the slight tartness from the cherry made for a nice balance of flavours. I personally liked this as I can find cherries a little to sharp sometimes. overall I enjoyed the aroma, texture and favour of this bar. This surprised me as I’m not the biggest fan of cherries.

VERY NUTTY AND NUTTY GOOD

Onto the packaging, I liked the simplicity of the packaging with its silver colours scheme and a picture of hazelnut and almonds to the left hand corner. It is labelled as being gluten free, and suitable for a vegetarian and vegan diet. Onto the ingredients list, mixed nuts and cashews, hazelnuts and almonds is clearly highlighted as allergens. There is no may contain warning.

On opening the packet their was a slight sweet aroma from the dates but this was overtaken by the generalised nuttiness from the variety of nuts within the bar. This did not change on my close up sniff test. On biting into the bar I loved the combination of textures from the softness from the dates intermingled from the nice crunch from the nuts. Onto the flavour I got the sweetness from the dates intermingled with the nuts the prominent flavour being the almonds. This was my favourite bar it was really nutty and slightly less sweet compared to other flavours. A big win with both flavours and textures.

I’M BERRY, BERRY GOOD

Onto the packaging, I liked the simplicity of the packaging with its silver colours scheme and a picture of tempting raspberries to the left hand corner. It is labelled as being gluten free, and suitable for a vegetarian and vegan diet. Onto the ingredients list, cashew is clearly highlighted as an allergen. There is no may contain warning.

On opening the packet there was the sweet aroma from the dates a hint of raspberries which intensified on my close up sniff test. On biting into the bar I got the softness and slightly smooth texture from the dates and raspberries intermingled with a slight crunchiness from the cashew. Onto the flavour well the flavour from the dates and raspberries complimented each other nicely. I personally love raspberries and liked how this flavour complemented the sweetness from the dates. I enjoyed the aroma, texture and flavour of this bar it unusual to have raspberry flavour. I will no doubt be getting this again in the future.


FULL OF BEANS AND SO GOOOD

Onto the packaging, I liked the simplicity of the packaging with its gold colours scheme and a picture of coffee beans and chocolate to the left hand corner. It is labelled as being gluten free, and suitable for a vegetarian and vegan diet. Onto the ingredients list, cashew is clearly highlighted as an allergen. There is a may contain warning for soy in the chocolate.

On opening the packet there was the sweet aroma from the dates and chocolate intermingled with the slight bitter aroma from the coffee and chocolate. This did not change on my close up sniff test. On biting into the bar I got the softness and slightly smooth texture from the dates intermingled with a slight crunchiness from the cashew. If I’m honest I missed the texture from the chocolate. Onto the flavour well the flavour from the dates complimented the bitterness from the coffee nicely. I personally do not like coffee and so would not purchase this in the future, but I think coffees lovers would enjoy this bar.

DEVILISHLY HOT AND GOOD

Onto the packaging, I liked the simplicity of the packaging with its striking black colour scheme and a picture of chills in flames to the left hand corner. It is labelled as being gluten free, and suitable for a vegetarian and vegan diet. Onto the ingredients list, cashew is clearly highlighted as an allergen. There is a may contain warning for soy in the chocolate.

On opening the packet there was the sweet aroma from the dates and chocolate intermingled with the slight fiery aroma from the chilli. This did not change on my close up sniff test. On biting into the bar I got the softness and slightly smooth texture from the dates intermingled with a slight crunchiness from the cashew. If I’m honest I missed the texture from the chocolate. Onto the flavour well the sweet flavour from the dates and chocolate complimented the slight fiery kick from the chilli. The chilli flavouring was pot on as it was clearly present but wasn’t too hot and didn’t spoil the sweetness from the dates and chocolate. I have tried a chilli and chocolate before and loved it sop the fact that you can get it in a snack bar is a bonus.

So would I recommend these snack bars? Yes I would. I enjoyed the aroma, flavour and textures to these bars. I will no doubt be stocking up on these bars in the near future. So if you follow a dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian and or vegan diet why not give these snack bars a try. So thank you Good Full Stop for producing some nice snack bars that I can enjoy.

Disclaimer I received a free sample of these bars all of opinions in this post are honest and my own.

Review of Free From Festival London

The Free From Festival London is the UK’s first gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free food festival. It is a successful food festival which incorporates free from food and live music and makes for an enjoyable day out. The latest Free From Festival was based at Old Spitalfields Market London. It had a large array of dairy free, gluten free, paleo and vegan foods to try, with the odd tea company thrown in for luck. I have been very lucky to attend the previous festivals in my official capacity as a food and tea blogger. So when I was asked if I would like to have press tickets I of course graciously accepted. It was an amazing day out and I had the opportunity to try a range of fantastic foods and tea. So here is a snap shot of my day at the food festival.

What immediately struck me as I arrived was the size of the festival and how it had grown. I had to wait in a queue to get in. In fact the festival had proved to be that successful that it was old out and people were being turned away. I showed my press pass got my goody bag and tried to plan my day. At this stage I to confess to still being a state of surprise as too much it had expanded. So I took it all in did a bit of people watching and listened to the fab entertainment that was on offer. Here’s a snapshot of what I saw during the day.

My first stop was Eat Safe app to see Matt and his girlfriend. She is soya intolerant and has found this to be highly restrictive when eating out. So Matt helped devise the Eat Safe app as part of his masters degree. It is in its beta testing stages and will hopefully be available for all to try later this year. I’m sure that this app will prove to be very successful. Here’s a link to their website http://www.eatsafeapp.co.uk/ Continue reading

Review of Rice Dream Rice Milk

Well my mission to try some new dairy free milks has not been that successful. So I have been trying to make a real effort lately and try some new varieties of dairy free milk. So I headed onto Ocado and searched for dairy free milk. One milk that seemed to grab my attention was Rice Dream rice milk. Now I’ve never tried rice milk before so I decided to give it a try. I liked the blue and green colour to the packaging with a picture of milk cascading to the bottom.

The ingredients list is on the side of the carton with water, rice (14%), calcium, phosphate, stabilizer: gellan gum, sea salt vitamins D and B12 listed. There is no may contain warning. The milk is labelled as being dairy free, gluten free and suitable for vegans.

On opening the carton I was surprised that there was only a faint and subtle rice aroma to the milk. In fact it smelt pretty neutral and did not change on my famous close up sniff test. This was a little disappointing if I am honest as I expected this to be much stronger. It poured easily into a glass and was a light white colour. It was slightly thin and very watery in consistency. On sipping the milk it had a very similar texture to that of water. There was definitely a ricie element which was subtle but not to overpowering. The best way I can describe this is if you don’t quiet drain your rice properly and have a bit of the water on your plate it’s very similar to this with a little sweetness added. I also warmed the milk for 90 seconds in the microwave ready for my famous Weetabix test. It microwaved well and did not separate or form a skin to the top of the milk. Its aroma remained the same I had hoped that the aroma may intensify slightly, but this may be a tad unfair. The milk was absorbed easily by the Weetabix. In fact I needed a higher volume compared to other milks to try to get the Weetabix the way I like them. Sadly, this didn’t happen it was just like I had added water, which I have done previously when I have forgotten to take my milk to work. On tasting the Weetabix it didn’t impact on its flavour. I viewed this as a positive this may sound a little strange but a couple of milks that I have previously tried have made my Weetabix have an artificially slightly sweet flavour. I personally don’t like this and like to my Weetabix to be as plain as possible.

So would I recommend this rice milk? No I wouldn’t its thin consistency and the lack of flavour made it an unappealing milk. So if you follow a dairy free, gluten free or vegan diet perhaps give this milk a miss. Sorry Rice Dream but this really wasn’t to my liking.