- Booja-Booja: There are no words to describe how good these are, all of them. Soft and rich, creamy, just the right amount of sweetness, look and feel like every one of them has been handmade with love. My favourites were “Around Midnight Espresso”, “Stem Ginger” and “Hazelnut Crunch”, but even though I’m not a big fan of alcohol and especially not champagne, even the boozy ones were delicious! Unfortunately very expensive, but well worth splashing out for a special occasion.
- Choices Caramel Chocolates: Nice, straightforward little treat. Individually-wrapped, good chocolate, good smooth runny caramel, good times.
- ConsiderIt Chocolate Truffle Bars: Utterly indulgent, super creamy, smooth and rich – I can’t fault these. A generous chocolate shell encasing an almost mousse-like buttery filling. Cinnamon is just tinglingly spiced without being artificial or overpowering, Madagascan Vanilla is warm and exotic, Amaretto is surprisingly tame with just the right amount of punch, Orange is insanely juicy and the Mint tastes crisp and nothing like toothpaste. Lovingly made and you can tell!
- Hotel Chocolat Hazelnut Bûche Dark & Nutty: Wow. I was just not expecting this to be as good as it was. Presentation is the first thing to tickle your senses, but then once you have unwrapped it and been hit by the rich nutty gianduja smell, and you have sliced through it as smoothly as though through (vegan) butter, the melty nutty chocolatey taste still overwhelms your tastebuds, and the odd whole roasted hazelnut still gives you the bit of texture that might otherwise be missing. Faultless.
- Hotel Chocolat Liquid Chocolat – Chilli: A word of advice. Make this exactly how it tells you to on the tin. At this price and at 200kcal per serving, you want it to taste damn good. And as it happens, if you use all 5 recommended teaspoons, bring it to the boil slowly, then leave it to simmer for one minute (trust me, a lot of things happen in that minute!), the resulting cup of goodness is incredible. Velvety, rich, and with a chilli kick that just gradually builds up into a lovely wholesome warmth, it’s perfect for a winter evening curled up in warm soft things!
- Hotel Chocolat Smudge Chocolate Spread – Classic: Well, obviously delicious, because how could it not be? Richly chocolatey and distinctly nutty, smooth and velvety, pretty much like the gianduja bûche (above) smeared all over a slice of bread or toast – fresh artisanal baguette is perfect. Pairs perfectly with ripe banana too! Not overly sweet and doesn’t contain palm oil, so you could really do worse than treat yourself (or someone else) to a tub of this.
- Go Max Go Jokerz: I waited about 3 years to try one of these and it managed to live up to the hype! The nougat is less fluffy than its non-vegan counterpart, but this actually makes it more like “real” nougat in my opinion. It is a bit more chewy than its non-vegan version, but again this is all fine with me! It is very very sweet, so maybe eating one at 11pm was not the best idea, but I will definitely have to make sure I keep a stock of these for those moments when you really need something not remotely healthy! Campaign all you want, but without products like these, veganism will never move forward.
- Montezuma’s: They do a vegan truffle collection, containing their four vegan varieties “Sunrise” (with orange), “Crème de Cacao” (very dark chocolate), “Moondance” (with almond praline), and “Quick Fix” (with freshly brewed coffee). All are tasty, but my favourites are probably “Sunrise” and “Moondance” for the interest factor – though I always have time for very dark chocolate and anything involving coffee.
- Scoff: A generously thick outer coating and a luxuriously creamy, silky-smooth interior – these are pretty much truffle perfection and I don’t say that lightly. Not overly sweet and clearly made with quality chocolate, the flavours are rich yet not bitter, and each bite melts in your mouth without being cloying. The gold-dusted Amaretto truffles are infused with just the right amount of flavour, while the jagged coconut truffles have just a scent of exoticism, but it’s the dark chocolate that stands out in its simplicity and balance of all things good. These are the things cravings are made of.