Transatlantic vegan food swap

Hello friends!

My last draft of this was saved three months ago, and this is what I had written:

This blogging thing is not on my side – maybe it’s punishing me for not having its back – and, truth be told, I spent well over an hour hunched over the keypad typing furiously away at a Sunday thoughts post last Sunday… then it was dinnertime, and I had written well over 1000 words and not even covered half the things I wanted to cover, and there was no way I was working way into the night on my Sunday night, editing and adding and searching for relevant but unrelated images and re-editing (sorry guys, it’s nothing personal, just a matter of principle). So I left it for another day… and as I returned to it tonight, half of my draft was missing. I’m never against a fresh start, but sometimes it’s just too fresh to start patching up again.

And now it’s three months later!

So without further ado, I give you a well-overdue blog post about all the wonderful treats that Amey winged over to me from California!

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TL;DR: Amey is a mind-reading snack-picking Jedi, and many of these goodies are still fresh in my tastebuds’ memory (memories?), which is a testament to how good and perfect for me they were!

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Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups

Ha! I didn’t think I liked peanut butter cups! “I just don’t like peanut butter in sweet applications!“. Well. Apparently Amey, who has never met me, knows me better than I know myself: these didn’t make it through the day. And if I lived anywhere near to where I could get my hands on them, I would regularly re-stock (and just as regularly run out). Rather than being cloying and sticky, these were creamy with just the right amount of light sweetness balanced out by toasty saltiness from the peanuts. Just perfect

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Dang Coconut Chips

When did coconut chips get so good? To me, dried coconut has always meant stringy and tough, and really not the kind of thing you snack on. As soon as I tasted these chips I knew I had to restrict portion sizes or I would eat the whole bag in one go and then be really sad. Subtly toasty and sweet, the snappy crunch of them yields to creamy coconut goodness with the least effort. These have changed the way I view coconut for ever (yup).

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Trader Joe’s Brownie Crisp

So here’s the thing about these brownie crisps. Yes, they’re crispy and dry – a bit like a sliver of stale brownie, you might expect – but they are so good and so generously studded with dark chocolate chips that you forgetting you’re eating crisps. The perfect late-night TV snack, when you want something rich but want to be able to nibble at it like a civilised muncher (actual brownie doesn’t last long around me).

Sahale Snacks Berry Macaroon Almond mix

Like the coconut chips, this mix didn’t have any right to be as it good. But the berries were juicy and sweet, the coconut crunchy and buttery, the almonds wholesome and satisfying, and the whole lot was just beautiful and fun and felt much more special than a bag of supermarket trail mix.

Sjaak’s caramel chocolate bars

These were also some of the first goodies to disappear (obviously) and all I remember is that there were delicious (obviously). It’s been a while since I’ve had a chunky chocolate bar filled with oozy caramel and it was every bit as good as it should be!

Off The Farm Good Food bars

Such a perfect snack: just the right size and nice and sturdy, these spent a while each being carried around in my backpack for “just in case” moments. When I finally did eat them, I think it was the Banana Walnut Date one that surprised me by being my favourite – but don’t quote me on that! They were a little different to what I was expecting – less flapjack-esque and more Larabar-like I think – but definitely hit the spot and I love the packaging!IMG_1135

Sea Level Farm dry farmed tomatoes

Speaking of packaging, can we take a moment to appreciate this bag of locally (to Amey!) dry-farmed tomatoes from Sea Level Farm? Wow. These beautiful little gems pack a punch of sunny summery tomato flavour, and so far my favourite use for them – apart from snacking on them straight out of the bag – is in a simple pasta sauce, chopped up into small chunks, so they soak up the extra juice resulting in a richer sauce with a pop of intense tomato flavour and texture to each bite. I love beautiful products like this that respect natural produce!

Taza Hazelnut Crunch Tazito

This slipped into a corner of my snack cupboard for a little while and reappeared just when I needed it. It then disappeared again pretty fast but I remember being surprised at how tasty and hazelnut-rich it was. Such a cute little bar too!

Trader Joe’s Taco Seasoning Mix

Poor Amey was so shocked that I’d never had “authentic” Mexican food and I’m a little ashamed to admit that I have yet to make tacos with this seasoning mix… But I hope I redeem myself by revealing that this spice mix is responsible for me making (and excuse me while I toot my own horn here) restaurant-worthy potato wedges these days! Just the right balance of sweet, salty, smokey, and spicy; I shall have to use the ingredients list to create my own blend when this little sachet runs out!

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Dried apricots

You know how dried apricots usually taste like dried apricots but not like fresh apricots (like how banana-flavoured anything doesn’t taste anything like banana)? These weren’t that. They were literally like fresh apricots minus the water… Which I guess is what dried fruit should be like! I enjoyed a few pieces at a time in a little plastic container with nuts and dried banana, and it was just right.

Nibmor Dark Chocolate with Mint and Cacao Nibs

The mint in this was really fresh and zingy, and the cacao nibs added a fun crumbly crunch that worked well with the cooling minty flavour. And another packaging win!

Somersaults Sunflower Bites with Cinnamon

I’m really intrigued by these, which makes it all the stranger than I haven’t tried them yet! I keep saving them for “emergency snack moments” because I’m sure they’ll be awesome… But they got pushed to the back of the cupboard and I forgot about them for a while… Maybe I’ll just have to eat them right now!

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I am really so touched and impressed at how thoughtful Amey was in picking out this selection (and I love the beautiful card and all the little tags).

While I’m here, just a quick little note to say check out the vegan food and yoga retreat Amey and friends are running in Puglia, Italy, later this year! It sounds amazing, packed with tourism and hand-picked vegan eats, led by people with thorough knowledge of the region, and a daily yoga session.

That’s all from me – thanks again Amey! xoxo

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