Pudology Millionaire’s Pud

Ingredients
Chocolate topping – coconut milk, dark chocolate (sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, soya lecithin, natural vanilla flavouring), water, sugar, Madagascan vanilla extract.
Caramel sauce – soya milk, sugar, vegetable margarine (palm oil, rapeseed oil, water, salt, emulsifier: mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids, annatto, curcumin, natural flavouring), natural caramel flavouring.
Biscuit base – flour blend (rice, potato, tapioca, maize, buckwheat), vegetable margarine (palm oil, rapeseed oil, water, salt, mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids, annatto, curcumin, natural flavouring), sugar.

I really wanted to love this pudding. I mean it’s chocolate and caramel pudding; surely, there’s nothing not to like. But, it really depends on how much you like the flavour of coconut. I found it overpowering and unpleasant. Allergy Dad however thought this was delicious.

Delphi Meze (Felafel and houmous)

Ingredients
Houmous – chick peas, sesame seed pulp, rapeseed oil, lemon juice, olive oil, water, salt, garlic powder, preservative E202.
Felafel – chick peas, broad beans, onions, parsley, potato, dried coriander, cumin powder, garlic powder, baking powder, black pepper, salt, vegetable oil, lactic acid, preservative E202.

Allergy Little and I were spontaneously invited over to our friends’ house to play the other day. Obviously, we take our food with us as it’s just not fair to expect others to accommodate our food needs, and anyway I was feeling very smug as I had this Meze pack in the fridge. I grabbed Little’s packed lunch, a pack of Aldi rice cakes and the Meze. Unfortunately, the idea of the Meze is better than the execution. The houmous pot doesn’t have a sealed lid, although the felafel pot does, so the houmous leaked in my bag. Not good, but the houmous tasted fine. The felafel were sealed in, but unfortunately were inedibly dry. A gluten free ready to eat lunch option is definitely a good idea, but this is not the solution.

Booja-Booja Rhubarb and Vanilla Fool Truffles

Ingredients – chocolate (cocoa solids, cane sugar, vanilla), coconut oil, cane sugar, rhubarb, cocoa powder, vanilla extract

After the Vantastic hazelnut truffle disappointment, I decided it was time to try Booja-Booja truffles. Booja-Booja did everything right that Vantastic did wrong; the packaging was so beautiful that these could be a gift and the flavour was, well it left me speechless.

This is a problem if you want to write a review so I decided to recruit some Allergy friends to taste test them for me. “I don’t like truffles that much,” said one sceptically then she ate it and made foodgasm noises. We decided that these truffles have a Willy Wonka character as the flavour is revealed in three stages. Firstly, there is the bitter dark cocoa dusting then the smoothness of the truffle. Finally, there is the acidic bite of the rhubarb as a final note. The truffle sceptic was fully converted. The rest of us just wished I had bought a bigger box.

Easy Bean Chickpea Crispbread (Seeds and Black Peppers flavour)

Ingredients – chickpea flour, buttermilk, rice flour, salted butter, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, golden linseed, nigella seed, baking powder (mono calcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch), water, sea salt, black pepper.

Dear Chickpea Crispbread. It’s not you. It’s me. In the past, I would have revelled in your buttery crispness. Unfortunately, now I hardly eat any dairy foods (I’ve even got some different vegan cheeses on order at the mo), and your butteryness is frankly a bit nauseating and overly rich in an artery-clogging way. But it’s not you, it’s me. I would have enjoyed you in the past, but now the hit of dairy was so extreme that I could barely taste the other flavours, except when I got a bit of nigella seed stuck in my tooth. But it’s not you, it’s me. You need to find someone who will love you as you are, and I will wait patiently for a vegan version.

Schnouggliné Nougatpralinen by Vantastic Foods

Ingredients – Chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, maltodextrin, soya protein, salt, vanillin, soya lecithin), hazelnut (sugar, hazelnut paste, cocoa butter, cocoa powder, de-oiled salt).

I really wanted to like this product. I thought a little tray of vegan chocolates would make a thoughtful gift in all kinds of situations. Sadly, I would be embarrassed to give these as a present to anyone.

The chocolate seems to have a low cocoa percentage. Tellingly, a percentage is not given on the packaging, but it basically tastes like that nasty, cheap chocolate that comes in small shapes for children. It’s candy more than chocolate. Also, the soya protein gives it an unpleasant, savoury aftertaste. Surely, the hazelnut filling will be better? Sadly, no. I expected a nice smooth filling, but the filling was crumbly, dry and grainy. I don’t think there was anything positive about this product.

For vegan hazelnut chocolate done well, then you can’t go wrong with a Vego bar (and I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed those chunky bars of perfection yet!).

Vanilla Fudge by Vegan Sweet Treats

Ingredients – sugar, soya cream, sunflower spread, glucose syrup, vanilla bean extract.

I didn’t take a photo of these as they got squashed in the mail (I copied a photo from The Sweet Treats website). These fudge are the squishy type of fudge, not the solid butter tablet, grainy type of fudge. They are very sugary, which is pretty obvious from the ingredients list. Even I never managed to eat more than one at a time. They were useful to keep in the fridge for a late afternoon pick me up.

My main complaint is the ingredients of the sunflower spread are not listed in the ingredients list. Spreads actually vary a surprising amount and only some are suitable for the Allergy Brothers, although the soya cream would make the fudge unsuitable for them anyway. I think it is a way of showing that a company have thought about allergies when they fully disclose their ingredients. As we are only too aware, it’s possible to be allergic to more than just the ingredients that have to be disclosed legally.

Ananda Food’s Round Up (free from Wagon Wheels!)

Ingredients – Biscuit: Gluten free flour, sugar, Non hydrogenated vegetable fat, soya milk, organic cocoa, cornflour, salt, organic Madagascan Vanilla extract, bicarbonate of soda, xanthine gum.
Marshmallow: British sugar, water, glucose-fructose syrup, modified starch, rice starch, vegetable glycerine, agar, plant derived emulsifiers, organic Madagascan vanilla, locust bean gum, organic sea salt. Chocolate: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, soya lecithin, natural vanilla flavouring. Jam: strawberries, sugar, cane sugar, concentrated lemon juice, gelling agent (fruit pectin), tapioca starch.

The packaging describes these as gelatine, wheat and dairy free wagon wheels. Well, Rounds Ups are to Wagon Wheels what a Heston Blumenthal burger is to McDonald’s. These biscuits were absolutely delicious. I think they are my all time favourite gluten free/vegan treat.

The biscuit had a good texture, which is fairly miraculous for a gluten free product. The marshmallow was chewy in the right way. The quantity of jam was just right. The dark chocolate was good quality. The only minus point I can think of is that the first ingredient (gluten free flour) was a bit vague. With the Allergy Brothers’ extensive range of obscure allergies, we need to know exactly what we are getting. Although, this is slightly academic in our case as they would be allergic to several other ingredients. I, however, am not so I will be ordering more of these to hide in my secret “boys are in bed” stash.

Thanks to The Den Vegan Cafe, Colchester for stocking them in the first place.

Free From Rocky Road by Lazy Day Foods

Ingredients – Margarine (palm oil, rape seed oil, water, salt, emulsifier (mono- and diglycerides), natural vegetable flavouring), chocolate (cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, soya lecithin, natural vanilla), gluten-free flour (rice, tapioca, corn), sultanas, golden syrup, sweetened cherries (cherry, glucose-fructose syrup, sugar, strawberry juice concentrate, citric acid, potassium sorbate), sugar, marshmallows (glucose-fructose syrup, sugar, water, dextrose, carrageenan, maize starch, hydrolized soy protein, natural vanilla, natural colour (titanium dioxide, beetred), palm oil, soya lecithin.

Allergy Dad and I had enjoyed all the previous offerings from Lazy Days Foods so we were quite disappointed with these. They managed to be both bland and overly sweet simultaneously. One of them ended up languishing in the cupboard in the tupperware of shame as nobody fancied eating it. This very rarely happens at Allergy Towers so is a sure measure of bad cake.