Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Vegan Advent Calendar

Last year I bought myself an advent calendar.  I know that's a pretty sad thing to do, but I really like the idea of advent calendars, even if in practice it's just a painful test of patience.

When I was a kid, I once got one that folded out into a model of a mouse hotel, and all the doors were rooms and cupboards and things in the hotel and you'd uncover more of the 'story' each day, and that was so awesome that I still have it in the Xmas decorations box.

Other than that, I used to have this sort of pillar box thing that The Mother would fill with treats that she knew I would like, which gave advent a thoughtful as well as fun touch.

The generic flat advent calendar, either with dull pictures of Xmas stuff or with that disgusting, stale, third-rate chocolate they put in advent calendars does not excite me.  (The lego ones look pretty cool though.)

Anyway, as a vegan, choice of chocolate treats is somewhat limited, and while the options expand every year, if you want a chocolate advent calendar, you're going to have to eat some pretty rank stuff, because they only seem to do vegan versions of those really lame chocolate advent calendars, and nothing exciting.

And then while looking for something else, I came across the 'Vegan Store Luxury Gourmet Advent Calendar' on the Vegan Store, which is a pretty good online vegan shop, and I know I'm an adult so I don't need an advent calendar, and getting yourself one is pretty sad, but the idea that someone made a GOOD vegan advent calendar was too much.  So despite it being darn pricey, I bought one for myself, and also one for The Housemate so I could pretend I wasn't being entirely self-involved.

It was filled with six different types of fancy vegan sweets, which is a pretty good variation (also it means there is only four of each type so if you don't like one, you're not stuck with loads on your hands).  On the down side, it had to be pretty chunky to fit the larger ones inside, which meant the smallest ones tended to escape their slots and fall to the bottom of the box.  Leaving the calendar lying on its back was the way to get around this, but I worked this out too late to stop a few escapees and on some days, you'd open the door to find a blank space staring at you.

Here are the sweets:

Le Preziose Fruit Jellies With Orange, Covered In Dark Chocolate





This is an orange jelly covered in chocolate and they had a slight crunch to them.  These tasted like jaffa cakes, without the cake, so without the gritty soggy worst part of jaffa cakes.  They were probably my favourite sweet in the calendar, which is a high recommendation for these fellows because I'm not usually that fussed by jellies.

Oddly enough they are not for sale in their chocolate covered form on the Vegan Store, but a quick google search showed them here.  Apparently they come in different flavours.

Super Fudgio Organic Toffee



This is a stick of toffee with a slightly gooey centre.  They were quite a dark toffee, rather rich, so actually could have done with coming in smaller portions.  I'm not sure whether the centre is supposed to be gooey or not as it seemed to vary between pieces.  I think I prefer a creamier toffee.

The Vegan Store has several different varieties for sale.

Bonelle Pate Du Fruits




Your basic fruit jelly.  Probably pretty good if you are into that kind of thing.

Another one not currently on the Vegan Store and they're not popping up on google either.  Wait, I think I found them on this Italian site.

Pernigotti Nocciolato




A block of chocolate containing a hazelnut.  I was pretty excited to see these in here because Pernigotti makes lovely rich and creamy chocolate, but I am a much bigger fan of their truffles rather than just chocolate so this was a little dull on its own.

I think it's these ones, although apparently these are truffles.  Hmm.

Kuhbonbon Caramel



A toffee/caramel.  Hmm, now these were my least favourite of the lot.  These are the little culprits who wouldn't stay in their slots, so it was a while before I got to eat one and it didn't live up to the wait.  They are very bland.  Almost no taste at all, apart from a slight sweetness.  That said, after eating a few more they did grow on me, so I think if you had a whole bag to munch on, they would be pretty moreish.  Basically had the two ends of the toffee scale in this calendar - too dark and too light!

Anyway there are quite a few versions on Vegan Store.

Belvas Organic Praline Truffle Balls




A praline truffle with dark chocolate coating.  These are a really decent size, but the chocolate coating is very dark, so wouldn't appeal to everyone.

Available on Vegan Store.





Overall this advent calendar had a good mixture of different varieties of sweets, and they were all nice, although I probably wouldn't buy a whole bag of either of the toffee/caramels.  However both were made using coconut milk, and I often don't like products made from that (coconut ice cream and yoghurts are awful and sour) and I didn't have a problem with the taste of these.  If the Vegan Store bring these calendars out again next year, they might want to rethink the design of the box, or make sure all the sweets are of equal size, to stop the smaller ones getting loose.  It was definitely a good buy and I hope to see more interesting vegan advent calendars on the market next Xmas.

Did you have a vegan advent calendar last year?


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