Ingredients: Water, Dry fructose syrup, Sugar, Cocoa mass (4%), Cocoa extract (2.5%), Vegetable fibre, Stabiliser (Xanthan gum), Chocolate flavour, Acidity regulator (Sodium bisulphate).
It is rare to find chocolate products without dairy in. It is even rarer to find chocolate products without dairy in that are branded with a favourite character. Plus, the description sounded delicious: Chocolate flavoured smoothie tubes. Check, check, check. Guaranteed yum! Except…
This photo sums up what happened to every tube. We tried them chilled and we tried them frozen. Nothing could disguise that they tasted of sweetened chemistry set. Certifiably yuck!
The only good thing is that the name is quite honest as you will find muddy puddles of melting, discarded ice pole around the place as the children abandon the smoothie tubes after their first lick.
Ingredients: Wholegrain sorghum (96%), Golden syrup, Salt, Vitamins (Niacin, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Antioxidant: Alpha Tocopherols.
Where was this product when the Allergy Brothers were little? Not sure, why it is being marketed as a gluten-free Weetabix substitute, when it seems ideal as a baby and toddler food. The Nutribix can be mushed up with a dairy or non-dairy milk to make a reasonable toddler breakfast. It’s probably not smooth enough for weaning though, although I suppose you are not going to know that your child has a problem with gluten until after you have started weaning them. My only concern would be the levels of sugar and salt, although, according to the NHS Choices site, the levels of salt are not too high. Actually, I wonder why there are not more Free From baby products?! Surely, there must be a market.
Ingredients: Apple juice from concentrate (60%), Water, Apple puree (8%), Blackcurrant juice from concentrate (2%), Thickener: Gellan Gum, Natural flavouring, Acidity regulator: Malic acid, Antioxidants: Vitamins A, C & E.
As you can see from the photograph, Naturelly Jelly Juice was a big hit with the Allergy Brothers’ small relative. Allergy Little also really enjoyed it too. Actually, this was a bit surprising because the jelly juice has no added sugar or sweeteners, but these two little ones really enjoyed the tart, naturally fruity flavour. This also made these pouches parent -guilt free snacking.
I liked the fact that they are a cross between jelly and juice. The pouches are like a refreshing drink, but less prone to squirting everywhere. Plus, they are a bit more filling than just a drink so perfect for the car journey on the way home from school.
Thanks to Naturelly for providing us with free samples, when all I had emailed them for was a complete ingredients list so I could check for allergens. We also really enjoyed the free stickers and had a fun game of sticker fight (a bit like paintballing with stickers). I lost!
It’s quite hard to describe The Waiting Room so I think I will just post a photo of the large statement in the main hall. You can also get an idea of the industrial interior design.
One feature of The Waiting Room is that it has an open kitchen. On the day that I was there, the food side was being hosted by The Good Souls Bakery. The drinks side is run by a different concern so you order and pay for your drinks separately; this is a very minor inconvenience and allows two enterprises to run in the same space. Seating is at long shared tables, but it is such a friendly place that this was a bonus. The far table was taken up by a group of people spinning and weaving.
I had a large bowl of celeriac soup with toasted pumpkin seeds, and a karma cola. The soup was an excellent hearty choice for a wintery, cold day. The Good Souls Bakery had several options for gluten free and vegan cake. All of which looked like they would be both tasty and filling. The plum cake was getting some very enthusiastic reviews at the next table to me. Unfortunately, I was full so I didn’t try any dessert, but now I have an excuse to go back. I think I am just glad, that in a slick, corporate world, there are still some less polished but more loveable options.
The Waiting Room
The Old Bus Station
Off Queen Street
Check the website or facebook page for the latest events and opening hours.
Ingredients – 50% Dried apple slices (Apples, Citric acid), 50% Dark chocolate (Cocoa mass, Sugar, Cocoa butter, Sunflower lecithin, Natural vanilla flavouring). May contain traces of cereals containing gluten, nuts, sesame and soya.
These are not the most attractive of chocolates. The apple slices are irregular and wrinkly so the result is a packet of weirdly shaped, chocolate blobs. I also found that the flavour combination of apple and chocolate just didn’t work for me. These were, for me, more of a miss than a hit.
Ingredients – Cocoa mass, Raw cane sugar, Hazelnuts, Cocoa butter, Vanilla. (At least 71% cocoa and less than 0.1% lactose).
If, like me, you like a bit of Dairy Milk Fruit and Nut or Dairy Milk Whole Nut, but it doesn’t like you, then this might be a good replacement. The hazelnuts are chopped up so the small pieces are spread throughout the bar. They give a nice, smooth, and, dare I say, milky flavour to the chocolate.
The Nourish Co
36 St John’s Street, Colchester, CO2 7AD
The Nourish Co is hidden in the corner of a larger music shop. It would be easy, but disappointing, to miss. Inside, it has a rustic-Scandi décor, and a surprisingly generous range of products packed into such a small footprint.
I was stopping by for mid-morning snack. I had a choice of four sweet treats that were gluten free and vegan. I chose a Banoffee Pie. My inner greedy person thought that the portion looked a bit small, but, as it was made from cashews, it was packed with protein and very filling. Most importantly, it was sweet, but not cloying, and delicious. I decided to drink an old favourite, a Rebel Kitchen Chocolate mylk, but I could have chosen from an impressive range of teas and coffees.
I really liked that there were vegan books under the window table that customers could peruse, and that the owner seemed so committed and interested in talking about food in general. It’s clear that vegan and healthy food is not a gimmick, but a real commitment for this new company. I will be very happy to support them in the future.