YumEarth Halloween Gummy Bears

October usually has me obsessing over Halloween candy. Some of us have kids and want to provide a vegan alternative and some of us are still kids at heart and want to eat Halloween candy. I fall into both camps. My inner kid misses gummy bears something fierce. As a vegetarian teenager, I felt the loss of them in my life. As a vegan adult, I still feel that loss. There is a void of gummy candy in my life that I am usually looking to fill.

I was recently at Home Goods and I saw Halloween gummy bears by YumEarth. I looked over the package and they seemed vegan. Their website confirms them as being vegan. However, the website indicates that the company only makes the gummy bears vegan at Halloween. I guess they think that vegans and vegetarians only want gummy bears in October? This company doesn’t know us at all!

YumEarth gummy bear package

Product: YumEarth Halloween Gummy Bears

Overall Grade: A

Pros:

  • They come in individual packets to be handed out for Halloween or to consume in small amounts.
  • They are delicious! My son had never had a gummy bear and he loved them.
  • They are free of the top allergens.
  • They are organic.
  • They are flavored and colored with fruit juice, instead of chemicals like traditional gummy bears.
  • These are gelatin free and therefore, there is no harm to animals. (See the cons, for more information).
  • The company makes other delicious candy that is allergen free, such as lollipops and licorice.
  • The price was very reasonable at $2.99 for the package of 10.

Cons:

  • They are only available for a few special occasions during the year. The gelatin gummy bears are always available. I do not understand this line of thinking. I think the company is a bit confused about vegans, we don’t just eat candy at Halloween.
  • They are hard to find. I have seen other vegan gummy products by them at stores in the area, but I have only seen the gummy bears at Home Goods on ONE occasion. I went back the following week and could not find them.
  • There are 10 small packs in a package. There really should be an option for more, especially to hand out to trick-or-treaters.

 

 

 

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A Chocolate Holiday Treat!

Do you remember those popular chocolate hazelnut truffles? They aren’t vegan. Pretty disappointing, I know. I’ve been longing for a vegan version and finally Sjaak’s has come through.

truffles-seal

Product: Sjaak’s Melk Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

Overall Grade: A+

Pros:

  • These are incredible. They have a smooth milky-chocolate hazelnut taste just like I remember.
  • Organic
  • Gluten free
  • Soy free

Cons:

  • I don’t know if this is a true con, but they don’t have the delicate crunchy shell that I remember the non-vegan version had.
  • Slightly pricey ay 11.99 for a box of 9, but you get what you pay for. These are definitely worth it for a gourmet, nostalgic holiday treat!
  • I wish they were more widely available. I purchased from VeganEssentials.com but I would love to see them in Whole Foods some day!

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Twilight Candy Bar, Vegan MoFo Day 20

I feel like I am always dreaming of candy. You’d think I eat candy every day, but I don’t. I only get it every once and a while. After the recent U.S. election I went FOUR WHOLE days without any sweets. I probably should have eaten some given the state of this country and my sad state of mind.* It is a very rare occasion that I have a candy bar, but when I do I want it to be a real treat. If I am going to throw away all of those calories and fat, I should indulge. Go Max Go has candy bars that make me want to indulge. The one I am highlighting today is the Twilight bar. It is an imitation of a candy bar that has a whipped chocolate center and rich caramel all covered in a milk chocolate. Go Max Go uses rice milk chocolate. It is better than what I remember of milk chocolate.

candy bar with seal

 

Product: Twilight Candy Bar by Go Max Go

Overall Grade: A+

Pros:

  • The chocolate covering this candy bar tastes better than what I remember of milk chocolate.
  • This candy bar imitates the childhood candy bar that I remember perfectly.
  • Vegan Caramel!
  • This is a vegan candy bar. This should count for several pros.
  • It is gluten free and now has a GF symbol.
  • There are no hydrogenated oils/trans fat like diary candy bars.

 

Candy bar inside

Cons:

  • I wish this product were available at all stores! I’ve only been able to find it at Whole Foods and online.
  • As with most vegan products, the price is a bit high. I think the average price is about $2.50 a bar. This isn’t bad for a treat, but is pricey if you want candy bars on a regular basis.

 

*This political viewpoint is from Amanda and is not necessarily the viewpoint of all reviewers on this blog.

 

 

 

Square Bars

I love a good vegan snack bar. Bonus points for it being organic AND gluten free! Square Bars have definitely made it to my favorite list.

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Product: Squarebar
Overall Grade: A
Pros: 
  • Delicious! They taste like a less sweet version of a candy bar
  • Organic
  • Gluten-free
  • They have great flavors – the peanut butter and mint are the best
Cons: 
  • On the pricey side ($3 each at the store, however if you order a case on their website and use a coupon code, it can be less than $2 each depending on the sale or coupon code)
  • Not easy to find locally. The only store that I have seen them at is Whole Foods
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Chocolate Covered Fruit, A New Way to Meet Your Five Servings of Fruit

With Easter tomorrow, I’m in a candy mood. I’m an adult, hopefully you already guessed that, but I still need my candy fix every once and a while. I don’t get an Easter basket anymore nor do I want one, but I still occasionally want a special chocolate treat around this time. I didn’t order anything fancy like chocolate bunnies or caramel eggs. I happened to be walking around Costco and saw chocolate covered mango. I picked up the package thinking “surely, there will be milk in this”. To my surprise, the ingredients looked vegan. I had to take these beauties home to give them a try. After all, tomorrow is Easter and I need my candy too!

Product: Dark Chocolate Covered Mangoes by Kirkland

Dark Chocolate Covered Mangoes Package

Piece of candy

Overall Grade: A+. I could barely wait to get home to open the package. I ripped into them and tasted my first ever chocolate covered mango. One bite did not prove to be enough, I needed more. A lot more! I tried to limit myself to only a few. This combination really works together. It is sweet, but not too sweet. There is a chewiness from the mango that helps you not to gobble it up in one bite.

Pros:

  • The flavor! Dark chocolate and mango both have wonderful flavors and work so well together.
  • They are chewy and melty. The chocolate melts in your mouth and the mango gives you a little to chew.
  • The bag is over a pound. (And still these will probably only last a few days)
  • They are sold at Costco, which is a national chain in the U.S. I’m not sure if all Costco’s have these, but if they don’t…ASK FOR THEM!
  • They were reasonably priced. I don’t remember the exact price, but they were around $8 or 9 for over a 1 pound bag.
  • The pieces were large enough that you get a few bites per candy.
  • They are labeled gluten free.
  • You get a serving of fruit when you eat them. Well, not really. I’m just saying that so I can justify eating more.

Cons:

  • I currently can’t think of many. The only con would be if you don’t have a Costco where you live or if they don’t carry this product.
  • Maybe they they are too readily available to me because I know every trip to Costco now will include these candies.

 

 

 

 

Cocomels -or- The Case of the Disappearing Coconut

A few months ago, I was out of town and came across Cocomels in a little natural foods store.  Unfortunately, they had them in a bulk jar and didn’t have the ingredients labeled.  I had to pass, but was intrigued by the dairy-free caramels that actually looked like caramel.

 

photo credit: JJ's Sweets
photo credit: JJ’s Sweets

 

Fast forward to this week: I was wandering through The Fresh Market and saw small packages of Cocomels. They were a dollar off…$2.99 for a package of 6 Cocomels.  Since I like salty+sweet so much, I went directly for the sea salt ones.

cocomel1

I found them a little hard to get out of the wrapper, which I guess is typical of soft caramel. The extra effort was not for nothing.  It tastes like…well, caramel.  It was every bit as creamy and chewy and perfectly sweet as I remember dairy caramel.  Surprisingly, I didn’t notice any coconut flavor at all. I thought they were pretty much perfect.

Oddly enough, I happened to be with some other folks that evening who were trying Cocomels for the first time.  Everybody agreed on the wonderful texture, but the findings on the flavor were mixed.  Those who like coconut didn’t taste it.  Those who don’t like coconut did.  Go figure.

The JJ’s sweets website says they also have chocolate covered caramels. I look forward to trying those next.  For you, of course.