Chocolate Inspirations: the vegan toffee-lover’s dream come true! »
If anything resembling a vegan Butterfinger makes its way into the world, you better believe your friend Megan Rascal will be all over that, like brown on rice! So of course I had to try these “peanut butter pillows” (at about 6 o’clock in the photo) from Chocolate Inspirations. I wrote the company to get a sample, and as you see, they sent me all kinds of goodies! Toffee galore!
Chocolate Inspirations specializes in English toffee. They aren’t a vegan company, but they have a whole line of delicious vegan creations (with bone-char-free sugar and everything!):
In 2009 after a suggestion from a Vegan who missed English Toffee, Pam developed a Gourmet Vegan English Toffee. The vegan community pronounced the Vegan English Toffee an immediate success and inspired Pam to create an entire line of Gourmet Vegan confections. In 2010, Marcy, a huge advocate for animal adoption, started Chocolate for Charity where a portion of the proceeds from selected chocolate items are donated to animal shelters around the country.
Yay! Letting vegans join in on the toffee party! And yay for chocolate that helps animal shelters. But, you prob want to hear about the chocolate now, yes? Hint: yes!
Well, the chocolate-topped vegan peanut butter pillows are AMAZING. They are sort of like Butterfingers but much much lighter in texture, like…pillows! You know I always share my vegan swag with my work pals but in this case, I could not. I kept all the peanut butter pillows to myself! I’m terrible! But they’re so good! Salty, sweet, and peanut buttery. YUM!
But I did share everything else with my workmates. The chocolate at about 8 o’clock in the picture is very interesting—it’s cinnamon toast toffee! It sounds odd but it’s very good. Really sweet though, so you can’t be sugar-shy with this one.
I don’t have my own pic, this is from their site, but they also sent this super pretty Italian orange chocolate bar! The office manager went cray for this one. It was popular.
But my favorite thing, AFTER THE YUMMY YUMMY PEANUT BUTTER PILLOWS OF COURSE, was the chocolate-covered cashew brittle (2 o’clock in the top picture). I’ve never been super into brittle, but it turns out, if you cover it in chocolate, I’m all for it! The chocolate is just so good with the buttery brittle.
AND they sent these adorable chocolate cups! Nice and bitter-sweet. We mixed them with warm almond milk and it was great but I like the suggestion to mix the lil’ one in a cup of coffee—mmmm! These are so cute too. I think they’d be a nice treat for kids. Much more fun than dumping a little bag of powder in a mug!
You’ll also be happy to know that Chocolate Inspirations is on the Food Empowerment Project’s recommended list. And their prices are not even cray! Any toffee-lovers out there? Are you so excited?
Finally, the white chocolate we’ve all been waiting for (and it’s vegan! bonus!) »
Vegan white chocolate, like Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny, has historically (yes, HISTORICALLY) been nothing more than a magical lie. A goddamned beautiful magical LIE! And if you could get your hands on it, it tasted like overly sweet white chalk, or worse. I don’t know what’s worse than overly sweet white chalk but if you’ve eaten most vegan white chocolates, you would know. And actually, non-vegan white chocolate, for that matter. That stuff can be FUNKY, and NOT funky FRESH. It’s a hard dish to crack, but it’s finally been done, and for that we should all get down on our knees and praise Easter Bunny. I don’t know where I’m going with this. Let’s get to the candy.
Of course it was that genius Melodi from Obsessive Confection Disorder who successfully veganized white chocolate into the tasty candy it deserved to be. She sent me some to try and it. is. like. WHOA.
It is just … it’s otherworldly. It’s sweet, but not insanely sweet, and oh so creamy, and it melts on your tongue. It is the best stuff on Earth. Order it all now before I do because not only do I want to eat it solo, I want to add it to baked goods and melt it on top of berries. It is the nectar of the gods and you NEED IT. Also, you probably need everything else Melodi makes because girlfriend is a vegan candy GODDESS. Make way for the REAL Tooth Fairy, because she has arrived and she is Good.
We totally heart Cocomels: delicious coconut-milk vegan caramels! »
Guys, I’m happily OBSESSED with Cocomels vegan coconut milk caramels. Like, completely OBSESSED. JJ’s Sweets sent me a bunch of free stuff to try and as usual, I shared these goodies with my coworkers. Everyone absolutely loved them and multiple coworkers said these are the best things I’ve ever made them try.
I was never much into caramels but I thought I’d give these a try anyway and boy am I glad I did! They are nothing short of awesome. And totally addictive.
As they are made with coconut milk, some of them have a bit of a coconut flavor. People were comparing the vanilla Cocomels to Samoas Girl Scout cookies. I’ve never had those but that’s what everyone said they tasted like.
The coffee and sea salt have less of a coconut flavor. The coffee is my most very favorite of all the flavors! It tastes like rich coffee, like when you get coffee ice cream—not a subtle cappuccino flavor. The sea salt was my second favorite as you know I love the salty and sweet combo.
Now, don’t die! They also sent me a few of their chocolate-covered varieties!* I gave my mom the chocolate-covered vanilla ones and she pretty much died. These were all good but I actually prefer the straight up caramels. The chocolate seemed a little minty almost? Maybe I’m being cray but that’s what it tasted like to me. Loved the sea salt one of course! Here’s a picture of the chocolate-covered sea salt Cocomel, in all its glory:
Jeez, don’t drool on the computer! OK you can because it’s your computer and you can do whatever you want. Unless you are at the library (NERD), in which case do not drool on your computer and keep it down over there.
Other exciting bits of info:
-I love the packaging design! (Reminds me of the sidewalks in Rio. Why yes, I am fancy. Thanks for noticing.)
-Cocomels are made in copper kettles, all old-school like!
-They are gluten free, organic, non-GMO and corn syrup-free!
-The boxes are made with wind power for freaks sake!
-The chocolate they use is fair trade!
I know, it’s all so exciting! You can buy Cocomels online at their site, Food Fight Grocery, and Abe’s Market. You can also get them at Whole Foods Market stores in the NorCal, SoCal, CO, NM, UT, NY, CT, NJ, TX, LA, AR, OK, KS, NV; Select Sprouts in AZ and CA, Vitamin Cottage, The Fresh Market, New Leaf, and numerous smaller chains, COOPs and independent grocers. I cannot recommend these enough! I want more!
*UPDATE!: Several people have found the chocolate-covered caramels are sold-out on the Cocomels site! JJ’s Sweets just put this note on our FB:
The Chocolate-Covered Cocomels are available in a two pack only in a few select locations right now, but you will be able to order the larger bags of them on the site in the next few days…. making a fresh batch now!
We heart Nicobella’s delicious vegan chocolates! »
You guys are totes going to love Nicobella! Just read this:
We love animals, therefore do not use any animal ingredients. We donate 5% of our sales to our favorite animal organizations (Mercy for Animals, The Gentle Barn, Noah’s Ark of Locust Grove, GA and The Humane Society of the United States). We also donate any left over chocolates that have not been sold to these organizations to be used in auctions, which helps to raise money for animals in need.
Yay! And not only are the chocolates vegan, they are organic, sustainable and fair trade! I tried the Nicobella truffles above and then the “munch” snacks you see below. I LOVE THE MAPLE NUT MUNCH!!!: “Maple-nut munch is a savory healthy snack made with organic, Fair Trade 75% dark chocolate, maple coated roasted pecans and just a touch of sea salt.” OMG RIGHT? You should know by now that I love chocolate and salt together so this is right up my alley.
I shared the treats with my coworkers because I’m so nice to them. Once again, they weren’t that interested in the fair-tradeness, sustainability or vegan…ity? But they were def interested in the chocolate part. The truffles were very popular. I think the green tea drew a lot of interest and the pumpkin chai. I liked them too but it was the Maple Nut Munch that took the show in my book. The other Munch flavors went like hot cakes as well. They are especially nice because they seem a bit healthy but still so yummy and chocolatey.
In conclusion: Nicobella rules! The I just ordered more Maple Nut Munch today because I’m obsessed.
Legal bit: I got these for free from the company to try!
Sugary pastel chocolate-filled toadstools from Andie’s Specialty Sweets, coming to you from Dallas, Texas, via etsy! Maybe you saw them in a recent issue of Chickpea magazine? They’re super-cute, probably delicious, and perfect for a fancy vegan Easter basket (very Martha, right?). Andie’s Specialty Sweets isn’t all vegan, but a number of their adorable products are. These toadstools are filled with fair-trade chocolate, too! I love fancy candies.
Valentine’s Day is both nonsense and three weeks away, so let’s order ourselves this box of 24 assorted raw vegan chocolates from Happy Herbivore for … Galentine’s Day? Anna Howard Shaw Day? Because you’re worth it? Who cares, just do it! Choose from 10 different flavors, all of which are organic and two of which are nut-free. Fancy, beautiful, and delicious, three words that also describe our wonderful Vegansaurus readers.
Happy Herbivore has an Etsy shop full of raw vegan chocolates, and sells gift certificates, if two dozen raw vegan chocolates aren’t your thing. (which, why aren’t they your thing?)
Guest Post: Fabe’s Vegan Cookies: Face-Sized Deliciousness! »
I’ve been vegan for the better part of a decade now, and one of the best things about being vegan in the days before plant-based cheeses took over the world (remember? Those were sad, sad times) was monster-sized Alternative Baking Company cookies. Available almost exclusively at health food stores, these cookies reinforced that going vegan didn’t have to mean forgoing baked goods the size of your face.
These days, in the American-sized vegan cookie arena, there are tons of amazing contenders. ABC, who first stole our large, ethical cookie-loving hearts, recently released a line of gluten-free cookies that taste pretty good, but now lots of other big vegan (and xgfx) cookie options include (but are not limited to!): Liz Lovely, The Inspired Cookie, Nana’s, Fabe’s, Sun Flower Baking Company, and, of course, Sarah Brown cookies made by Eat Me!
Fabe’s recently sent me some samples of their various vegan cookie varieties. The chocolate chip (containing gluten) and the macaroon (gluten-free) were pretty solid, but the gluten-free dark chocolate was so delicious! Sweetened with only non-GMO beet juice syrup and palm sweetener, these tasted fudgy yet were still cake-like, far superior to textures I’ve experienced in other gluten-free vegan “cookies,” which were more like chocolate-coated oily Passover buiscuits. Fabe’s aren’t quite as large as some of the other large vegan cookies on the market, but they’ve achieved one of the finest gluten-free vegan textures and mouthfeels I’ve experienced so far in my plant-based-cookie-tasting journey! Definitely worth a try if naturally sweetened gluten-free cookies are your thing.
You can buy these Vegan Bacon Guinness Salted Caramels on Etsy! And before anyone freaks, it’s the vegan type of Guinness! That’s bacon and beer in a caramel. EAT IT, OMNIVORE BITCHES. No, I mean, really, eat it. It’s delicious.
Product Review: VonDulce Danish Candy! »
I got some gratis samples of VonDulce’s handmade Danish candies to try! VonDulce is a vegan-owned business and the creator, Karolina Zakonek, gave me some awesome background info. While hard candies here in the states are often vegan-friendly, they are usually made with corn syrup. In contrast, check out the sugar Karolina uses:
[VonDulce candies] are made with Fair Trade, 100% Organic, Kosher, Evaporated Sugar Cane, which is not filtered through animal by-products, and produced under strict organic standards. The sugar is not treated with herbicides or synthetic fertilizers, and no chemicals or bleaching agents are used. The freshly squeezed Organic Sugar Cane Juice, is evaporated and crystalized on the same day it is harvested. The Sugar Mills are self sufficient, using the crushed cane stalks (called bagasse) as a fuel for the boilers, which generates electricity, so there is no need for fossil fuels.
Holy crap that’s some serious sugar! Talk about guilt-free. And no bone char! Nice. I already like supporting vegan businesses but that sugar is just so cool, it makes it all the better. Yes, I’m talking about cool sugar.
Karolina grew up in Denmark where hard candy is a common treat. She learned to make these candies the old fashioned way and uses the same recipe candy-masters used in the late 1700s. She orders all her natural flavoring oils from a Danish supplier so she can get the purest ingredients available. She also doesn’t use plastic molds (which is how most candies are made) so you don’t have to worry about toxins and chemicals leaching into the sugar! Wow girl, you are thorough! I appreciate that.
My official verdict: These candies are the yum! And SO PRETTY! My favorite flavor is the Lemon Pucker. It’s a great mix of sweet and lemony-sour but not too sour. It’s unique too, nothing like a lemon Jolly Rancher or what have you. The Berry Me and Peppermint were yum too. And if you like root beer, the Sassafras is for you! All the flavor of root beer in a little candy. And licorice fans have definitely found their match, apparently that is a Danish fave! Another note: these candies are gluten-free, gluten-free friends!
So if you want to support a vegan biz and eat some tasty, old-fashioned sweets, head over to VonDulce’s Etsy page and go crazy! Oh and hey, on VonDulce’s Facebook page, they are having a little caption contest and you can win candies before Valentine’s day! So check that out!
Vegansaurus giveaway: Allison’s Gourmet! Yes!! »
Do you love amazing sweet treats? Are you obsessed with chocolates, caramels, peanut brittles, toffees, truffles, brownies, and everything delicious? If you did not answer yes to all of that then GET OFF THIS SITE! You should know, above all, that we love to eat, and that vegan sweets genius Allison’s Gourmet understands that need, and excels at execution! If you haven’t indulged in Allison’s treats, you’re really missing out. Not only will they kick the shit out of any omnivore treat in taste and appearance, all of Allison’s treats are fair-trade, vegan, and organic. I MEAN COME ON. Plus, her packaging is pretty enough that you don’t even have to wrap it. You’ll save millions of dollars on wrapping, for real.
Now, what are my personal favorites, you ask? SOPHIE’S CHOICE! But also, I cannot get enough of the mind-blowing Chocolate-Almond Toffee, the absolutely ridiculous Salted Chocolate Caramels, the perfectly sweet and rich Peppermint Bark, and the beautiful and extremely tasty truffles. Oh, and the peppermint drinking chocolate! Holy crap! So good! If anyone ever enrolls me in the brownie, cookie, or fudge of the month clubs, I promise to have all your babies or never have a baby with you, whichever you prefer.
Now that you want to eat all of that, you might as well start with some freebies! The lovely Allison has generously offered a $20 Allison’s Gourmet gift certificate to one lucky Vegansaurus reader! For your chance to win, just tell me what your dream Allison’s Gourmet confection would be. Let your imagination run wild, you little vegan piggy. It can be mayonnaise peony, or peanut butter marshmallow sriracha for all we care! Actually, that second one might be pretty good, right? The winner will be chosen randomly next Friday, Dec. 16. Yay Allison’s Gourmet, we love you!!!