Fabulous Freefrom Factory Dairy Free Fudge

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Contains: soy

Free From: wheat, nuts, palm oil

Try say the title three times fast, I dare ya.

This product has been out in the world for a while now and I will admit I have had these a couple times, but long before Ryan and I became the JFP. I thought it’s about damn time I shared my thoughts on these bite-size, sugar-high-inducing treats.

Now I know my fudge. I’m not from Cornwall so I can’t claim to be an expert on the stuff but when I was an omni I was mad for it. I craved it. The best part of Christmas markets? The fudge stall. Long day at school? Tuck into a pack of Morrison’s own brand vanilla fudge (thanks mum xxx). Point being, I loved dairy fudge enough to be a pretty reliable source of whether or not vegan fudge stands up to the real deal.*

*for all the vegans who will scream at me “IF IT CONTAINS ANIMAL PRODUCTS THEN IT ISN’T FOOD SO IT ISN’T ‘THE REAL DEAL'” can I request you back the fuck off, have a chamomile tea, and ask yourself why you strive to cause no harm to animals and yet are such an asshole to other human beings. Thanks. 

AAAAAAANYWAY. Back to the fudge.

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Look at it. What a beauty.

They’re described on the packaging as “Crumbly, creamy, dreamy, velvety, bites”.

Let’s pick this apart, shall we?

Crumbly? Hell yeah.

Creamy? Fuck no.

Dreamy? Dream bigger, amigo.

Velvety? Oh hell yes.

Bites? Come on now, that’s obvious.

Look, let me be frank. They’re not gonna be creamy because they haven’t been made with cream. Not even non-dairy cream. That said, they do have a really fucking lovely crumbly, velvety texture so they melt in your mouth and are really bloody satisfying – especially with a cuppa.

They are very sugary. Like, a little bit sickly sweet. This is definitely a bit of an exercise in self control. One reviewer on the Sainsbury’s website may have described them as “like eating a cube of sugar” but that is some serious hyperbole; they may be sugary, but unless you have actually shoved a 1.5cm x 1.5cm brown sugar cube into your gob and let it sit and dissolve and slowly rot everything inside of you, then frankly you don’t have a leg to stand on with such grandiose statements. I should know, as I have done that.

If you’re like me (i.e. renowned for consuming an entire packet of any and all snacks at any given time) then definitely don’t shove three in your mouth at once on repeat until you want to be sick from the sugar hangover.

I subject myself to these things so you don’t have to.

Despite the more sugary taste compared to dairy fudge, they are still absolutely delicious and have that classic, subtly vanilla-ry “fudgy” taste about them. They also aren’t that expensive compared to (decent) dairy fudge, and you can find them at supermarkets as well as online so really I’d call this one a win. You could even give these to an omni no problem… unless they’re from the South-West of England and then you better give it a miss lest you insult their entire heritage.

  • My Rating – 4/5
  • Omnivore Score – 4/5
  • Overall – 4/5

Find this product at: Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, and online.

 

Freedom Vanilla Marshmallows

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Free from: wheat, soy, nuts, palm oil

Let’s not fuck around – one of the only selling points of living in a country where the air physically hurts your face is the fact that you can come indoors, put the kettle on, and make the most diabetes-inducing hot beverage and no one will question you.

You want a drink that’s chocolaty, milky, piled up with whipped cream and covered in sprinkles? You do that shit. But you would be a damn fool to exclude these marshmallows from your winter warmer.

They melt beautifully, so shove a whole fistful into your hot chocolate and you will get a gooey vanillary (?) topper that takes your drink to the next level of sugar-coma comfort.

If hot chocolate isn’t your thing and you’re one of those rogues that just pops marshmallows into your mouth like a MONSTER then these are perfect for that too (though seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you? Who raised you? Wolves??? Why did the wolves let you do that?!?!).

They have a sugary outside and are less fluffy than non-vegan marshmallows, but they literally melt in your mouth and before you know it you have eaten through a whole pack in one sitting (totally not speaking from experience here…).

These ‘mallows are perfect, with my only criticism being that they’re a bit small. So while they will definitely do the job as a hot chocolate topper they’re not quite right for shoving in a s’more (sorry, Americans).

  • My Rating – 4/5
  • Omnivore Score – 4/5
  • Overall – 4/5

Find this product at: alternative food stores, online, and some Sainsbury’s.

 

Ben & Jerry’s Peanutbutter and Cookies Ice Cream

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Contains: Soya, Palm Oil, Nuts, Wheat

Free from: literally nothing

IT’S HERE. After millennia, it’s crash landed in the UK and the name alone could give you enough diabetes to require amputation. Ben & Jerry’s (my favourite BJ) finally deliver good on their promise to bring everyone’s favourite post break-up shitfest to the vegan world. It’s also still one of the most expensive ice creams out there at £5.50 per tub.

Peanut butter? In ice cream? Yea. It’s that good. It’s got perfect mouthfeel (none of that sticky cloying shit that hides behind your gums) and it’s the creamiest damn vegan treat I’ve had since birth. There’s the smoothness of the PB, the thickness of the ice cream, and the crunch of actual cookie chunks all in a spoonful. It’s better than good. I take back anything and everything I’ve said about Alpro or Booja-Booja being good or acceptable, if it’s not this golden creamy stuff, it’s just. not. worth it. Some dairy-less ice creams have this strange “icy” texture to them that Ben & Jerry’s just doesn’t even acknowledge. This is some God tier dessert.

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To speak openly, I ate the entire pot in two sittings. It would’ve been one, but I’d need an insulin shot to continue. It’s just so super sweet but also refreshingly cool. It’s not overly rich like Booja-Booja or stodgy. There’s little pockets of saltiness with the peanut butter, but it’s also toffee like and is the perfect match for the Oreo-ish cookies crumbles in there. Even the vanilla in there does its job well and bring it all together. It’s not even a bland vanilla, it’s that black specked shit (that’s how you know it’s good).

Ice cream is pretty hard to fuck up. All dairy-free versions I’ve tried have been  practically identical to the dairy ones (with some exceptions here or there) but Ben & Jerry’s is better. 

  • My Rating – 5/5
  • Omnivore Score – 5/5
  • Overall – 5/5

Find this product at: Tescos (while stocks last) 

Provamel Chocolate Soya Dessert

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Contains: Soya, Wheat

Free from: Palm Oil, Nuts

I won’t lie, my initial reasons for choosing this were so 1- I could tease G for her love for children’s yoghurt desserts (or fun time yoghurts as she calls them) and 2- I fancied something smooth and creamy (heh) to cool myself down on a hot day like this. What better than a chocolate yoghurt, right? For £1.79 for a four-pack, it’s reasonably priced.

I didn’t feel that there was going to be much wrong with this product. How hard can it be to screw up a yoghurt? For Provamel’s sake, I’m hoping the answer to that is really fecking easy. Opening the pot greets you with some lumpy, sticky… mass? Its consistency looks like that of raw egg white (eugh, eggs. We hate eggs) and the way my spoon just plops it’s way in tells me everything I needed to know. As you can see, its texture can only be described as gelatinous. Not like a pleasant, fun jello kinda way, more of a… semen-y kind of way? It’s not pleasing to the mouth in terms of feel. Even if it were marketed as a jelly I’d still be a little disgusted. It’s as if Flubber went blackface and tried to crawl in your mouth.

Taste is a slight pick-me-up. It’s got clear chocolate tones but closer to cocoa powder than a Cadbury’s bar. Not necessarily unpleasant but it’s more raw than anything else. However, it’s not enough to make me want to buy this on the regular. I feel I may have been a little harsh on Provamel here. Sure their jello-gurt abomination was offputting but it was did cool me down and it was smooth and creamy… Just more of a sometimes food than a must have dinner date dessert.

  • My Rating: 3/5
  • Omnivore Score: 1/5
  • Overall: 2/5

Find this product at: Tesco, Sainsbury’s Morrisons, Holland & Barret and various health food stores.

 

Booja Booja Hunky Punky Chocolate Ice Cream

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Contains: Nuts

Free from: Soya, Palm oil, Wheat

Booja Booja – the bourgeoisie choice of non-dairy ice cream. For the price of a small pot – pictured above – you could buy 4 pineapples, 2 avocados, 7 deck chairs, the Oval Office, and 18,000 sweatshop made Nike Airs but I digress. In all seriousness at £2.99 a pot and around £6 for a typical ice cream tub, you’re better off looking at Alpro. That said, this week we’re going for “Hunky Punky Chocolate” (what else for the JunkFoodPunks).

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This ice cream does pay off in its texture, that much is certain. There’s a depth to it, layers of creaminess, richness, the taste of poverty, tears and a delightful softness to it. It’s light, it’s fluffy and it’s definitely got the right density to it for a decent ice cream replacement. It’s just got that substance to it that enriches the flavour and adds a chunkiness to it. In fact, if I’d say, it’s actually creamier and thicker than most ice creams I’ve had but it doesn’t detract from it at all.

With all that thicc texture we also get a tonne of flavour. Think of the most pure Belgian chocolate you can. Double it. That’s the level of taste you can expect from Booja Booja. I like to think that they put a lot of money in R&D and I’m actually paying for some scientist to make my shit more chocolatey. Altogether, this has easily been one of my favourite ice creams I’ve had – dairy or none.

There’s a couple of notes worth finishing on with this product. Firstly, it’s delicious. That’s undisputed but for a few pounds less I feel Almond Dream or Alpro would hold up well enough to overcome the fact I’m buying pots of Booja Booja on finance. Secondly, their flavour range is… somewhat limited. It’s actually boring. Sure it was chocolatey and I’m sure their vanilla is more vanilla than real vanilla but that’s all there is to it. None of Ben & Jerry’s funtime cookies and cream or anything.

  • My Rating: 4/5
  • Omnivore Score: 5/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

Find this product at: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Holland & Barrett and various health food stores.

 

The Chia Co. Pudding Pod

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Contains:

Free from: Nuts, Palm Oil, Soya, Gluten

Quick confession – I’ve actually tried to make my own chia pudding before. What did I think? Shit. Chia pudding is a stain on the pudding name, it’s that family member no one talks to at Christmas and sits alone outside in the winter cold because it’s unappreciated. So with that in mind, I thought I’d take it from the chia people (literally) to try and change my mind. At £2.99 for a tennis ball sized pot it’s pretty damn pricey BUT you do get a fancy spoon with it (probably in case you feel like re-enacting 127 Hours part way through).

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I went with the banana flavour but there’s a pretty big assortment including mango and vanilla. This was probably mistake number one since the only thing that a soft, quasi-gelatinous, banana flavoured food can be compared to is baby food. All I could think of was mashed banana. The texture is gloopy although it holds together really well and isn’t actually as unpleasant as it sounds. The chia seeds within also do well to add something crunchy and a welcome change of pace from what feels like a spoonful of eyeball jelly. To The Chia Company’s credit, I would say that it’s not too far off of the texture of your typical rice pudding but pairing it with banana was definitely a poor choice.

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Texture aside, it’s time to look at taste. The only thing I can liken the taste to is a dying man’s handshake (metaphorically… I’ve never licked old man hands). It’s not unpleasant and the banana taste is definitely present but it’s pretty weak and the only word that sticks in my mind is bland. Bland bland bland. There’s simply something missing and I can’t tell what it is. If they were to make it overly banana-ry it would taste all sorts of wrong, if they were to up the coconut milk it would also taste pretty off.

To make this a fair review, I’ll have to compare it to rice pudding. Saying that, this pot actually does pretty well mostly because rice pudding is also weak and milky and, again, not unlike a dying man’s handshake. Also a pro – it’s crazy healthy for you. However at JFP, doing well in that department doesn’t mean I’m any more likely to eat it.

  • My Rating: 3/5
  • Omnivore Score: 3/5
  • Overall: 3/5

Find this product at: Holland & Barrett.

 

Tesco’s Free From Toffee & Vanilla Cones

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Contains: Soya, Nuts, Palm Oil, Lupin

Free from: Gluten

Summertime favourite: Cornettos. Tesco’s have come up with the perfect vegan alternative to that with these toffee ice creams. Despite the military surplus, most basic looking packaging, underneath is that ever friendly cornetto. Priced at £1.50 for a 4-pack, it’s probably the one of the cheapest vegan ice creams on the market.

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Thoughts on the first bite? It’s inhumanely fresh, soft and creamy. Its texture is 10/10 perfection with the ice cream being light and having a smooth velvet mouthfeel. I could honestly chain eat my way through the box.

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See that wafer cone? It’s crunchy and it doesn’t shatter leaving a million tiny crumbs in your mouth (like Mr. Whippy, you horse’s ass of an ice cream). It’s got a good thickness to it so that you still get a decent amount of ice cream all the way through. The chocolate sprinkles on top also mix in well.

Flavour-wise it’s the got a strong toffee taste but it’s balanced well by the vanilla and a little bit of chocolate. I actually prefer it over the dairy counterparts. Of course, the crown that goes on every cornetto – the chocolate tip – comes included. With regards to comparing it to the real deal, it holds up well. Everything about it is equal if not better.

  • My Rating: 5/5
  • Omnivore Score: 5/5
  • Overall: 5/5

Find this product at: Tesco’s. 

Sainsbury’s Deliciously Freefrom Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Contains: Palm Oil, Soy

Free from: Gluten, Nuts

What’s the most American thing you can imagine? Other than state sanctioned police brutality, gun fanaticism and capitalism on steroids, it’s got to be the honest-to-goodness chocolate chip cookie. Not the soft cookies we in the UK tend to love but the Chips Ahoy style, Girl Scout cookie. A good buy at £1.30 per pack but be prepared to stock up as they are definitely moreish.

If you’ve been looking for the classic style cookie then look no further. As soon as you open it up you get that light cookie aroma and you can visibly see how crumbly they are. There’s also visibly large chunks of chocolate in there too, large enough so that you’re not worried about them being raisins – a cookie you can trust. One bite and you’ll instantly notice that whilst they are dry, they’re not too dry. They crumble nicely and the chocolate adds a certain amount of moisture that it’s almost like eating a butter biscuit.

Textured almost perfectly in appearance and mouthfeel, it mostly comes down to taste. Sainsbury’s have definitely nailed it. It’s all you’d want from a cookie and more, plus with its price tag? They definitely rank highly for me. I’d suggest that anyone, vegan and non-vegan alike give them a shot.

  • My Rating: 4/5
  • Omnivore Score: 5/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

Find this product at: Sainsburys

Tesco Free-From Caramel Panna Cotta

 

Contains: Soy

Free from: Gluten, Palm Oil, Nuts

Let me preface this review with a quick question. Were you ever that kid who looked forward to getting a Bounty on Halloween? If yes, then read on for flashbacks of those chubby childhood dreams but if not then turn back because this is coconuttier than the Malibu you chugged at 16. That said, at £1.70 for a two-pack, it’s not an expensive treat by any means and one pot is more than enough to curb your cravings.

When I got the text through that I was about to get some panna cotta to try, my heart sang. I instantly thought of creamy, jelly-like goodness, the way it wobbles with its bottom drooling with caramel. The way your spoon effortlessly glides through creaminess and the satisfying cool of it practically melting in your mouth… Just the qualities of a good panna cotta. Tesco don’t necessarily fall short of the mark here either. Upon opening the pack you’re greeted with that wall of off-white jelly and you can clearly see the caramel lake sitting at the bottom. Spoon gliding? Yep, they’ve nailed that part too as the texture of these treats is a perfect match for it’s omni counterpart and you get all the pros of that texture when you gulp it down too.

So texture? A+. Appearance? Creamy and white, practically dripping with caramel. Also an A+. As soon as you put it in your mouth, all of that is almost irrelevant. Why? Because you’ve just been assaulted by coconut. This isn’t quite the refreshing type where you’re kicking your feet up at the beach with a straw in it either, it’s overpowering. Considering it’s 21% coconut milk and has coconut oil to boot, this shouldn’t be so surprising but I may as well be bathing in the stuff. The caramel is almost tasteless in comparison. Don’t get me wrong, this is very much a panna cotta but it’s also very much a coconut panna cotta.

  • My Rating: 3/5
  • Omnivore Score: 3/5
  • Overall: 3/5

Find this product at: Tesco. Available at select stores.