Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Product review: No Whey assortment

I wanted to love these. When you've got a company whose business model involves veganizing and reducing common allergens in familiar (and beloved!) candy bar recipes, and you've got a ton of food allergies including dairy, you can't help but want those recipes to be a resounding success.

Sadly, that wasn't the case for any of the four offerings from (the delightfully cheekily-named) No Whey Chocolate that I purchased today at the local Sobeys. I tried the — again, ridiculously cleverly-monikered — Pea Not Cups first. While these aren't bad as a candy bar, they're also decidedly not like the peanut butter cups everyone is familiar with. The filling doesn't carry much of a roasted flavour at all and someone's seriously under-salting it, too. If these were marketed less like those guys' candy bars and more like its own thing, I think they'd do fine, but they're simply not what they're being sold as.

Next was the No Whey candy bar, which boasts a nougat filling topped with a thin layer of gooey caramel before being enrobed in chocolate. Sounds like another ubiquitous candy bar, right? The problem is that this was almost completely unlike that. It's still tooth-decayingly-sweet, but the chocolatey coating on this bar ends up noticeably waxy. I can only assume that the caramel was good, but its flavour was indistinguishable from the rest of the bar. And the nougat was easily the worst part of the tasting. It was stiff and somewhat tough. This bar was easily my least favourite.

Well, at this point in the tasting, I desperately wanted a win, so I went to the bar that I'd been most taken with when I made the purchase, the Milkless Polar Dream White. It's the most convincing of the lot. It's got a good creamy quality, but, unfortunately, doesn't "read" as being as rich as true white chocolate. For now, I will absolutely stick to making my own.

After this parade of near-complete disappointment, I was hoping for another semi- if not complete-success, so I tried the Milkless (milk chocolate) bar. It was so cloyingly sweet that until my palate cleared, it was vying for top spot in the list of failures. Kara seems to like it in small doses, 'though. Mind you, that means that my six-year-old finds it too sweet to finish.

So, yeah, these bars — across the board — suffer from being much too sweet and the more complex ones are afraid of using salt. Unless the formulations change, I'm unlikely to buy them again, which is a real shame, because I'd love little more than to give money to companies that cater to people with food allergies and sensitivities — especially those of the variety that I suffer from.
A lunch of epic deliciousness

I was brain-storming lunch ideas yesterday when I realized I had ground beef, limes, an avocado, fresh cilantro and vegan cheese all awaiting use in our fridge. Thus, yesterday's lunch was comprised of hand-ground-seasoning taco beef, homemade guacamole, (store bought and yummy) taqueria sauce, homemade vegan cheese and fresh-chopped cilantro.

It was insanely good.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

My favourite batch of homemade vegan cheese so far

It may not look like much, but I've got high praise for my latest batch of vegan mozzarella. It's based on Avocados and Ales' Mozzarella Aquafaba Cheese, with me subbing in sunflower seeds in place of the cashews and coconut yogurt (and 14 hours of fermentation) in place of the lactic acid. The result tastes distinctly of fresh mozzarella. The texture is a lot like my earlier experiments with vegan cheese, in that it's very gelatin-y (or agar-y, if one prefers).

I've yet to try melting this, but may just forgo such an attempt to make fried mozzarella sticks, instead.