Posts Tagged ‘easter’

Vegan Easter Chocolate Summary

Wow, it’s been a tough and busy week in the Vegangstaz offices. People sometimes think that going vegan means sacrificing chocolate, and thus Easter wouldn’t be much of a joyous time. You couldn’t be more wrong, and this week I’ve gone through the labourious process of eating my own weight in delicious chocolate, just so I can tell you guys exactly how delicious the chocolate was. We’ve done all this so you don’t have to. Don’t we treat you guys well, eh? You lucky people. In all seriousness though, some of these are now going at bargain prices due to Easter being over and all, so maybe you’ll snap up a tasty deal.

Speaking of being lucky, I was pretty lucky in my Easter presents this year. With eggs and other goodies from my mum and dad, our very own Ellie and Wrosie, and a couple of little treats from ermm… myself, I was rather well endowed with delicious chocolate this year. So here’s a little round up of everything I’ve been eating. If you’ve managed to get your hands on any fantastic Easter chocolate this year then we’d love to hear from you as well! The world needs to know that vegans can indeed eat chocolate, and we get through a fairly large amount of the stuff too.

Without any further ado, I’ll dive straight into the chocolate summary (although I would rather dive into a chocolate lake than a chocolate summary, but this’ll have to do…)

Hotel Chocolat’s Easter Eggsposé Dark Chocolate Egg

The Eggsposé... with a few of the central mini eggs missing. Guilty.

Hotel Chocolat have had a range of eggs called the Eggsposé range on offer this Easter, of which the dark chocolate one is vegan. Rather than being a whole egg, they are, in a rather unorthodox fashion, just half an egg, but are packed with 8 mini eggs which are described as “taking centre stage.” And take centre stage they do, because each of these mini eggs taste incredible. They are dark chocolate coated, with a heavy sprinkling of sugar, and they also feature a rich praline filling. The egg itself may only be a half, but it’s a very thick half, and is actually far more satisfying to eat your way through that most of the thinner whole eggs out there. At £14 these aren’t cheap though, although I should probably say that they weren’t cheap because they’re now available at a bargain of £7. And my super rad parents got mine so I can’t complain. Chocolate fiends, get yourselves down to Hotel Chocolat‘s website and snap one of these up!

Cocoa Loco’s Dark Chocolate Hen

The delicious Cocoa Loco hen... before I smashed her apart and ripped out her chocolatey insides

Thanks to the wonderful Wrosie, I got one of these delicious lil’ darlings. This is a fairly standard dark chocolate affair, but the quality of the chocolate is second to none, and it’s Fair Trade as well. At roughly £10, this hen provides enough tasty dark chocolate to satiate even the most chocolate-hungry, and again it’s very thick. When you’ve managed to bite your way through you’ll discover a tasty surprise of additional chocolate buttons inside. I managed to work my way through my hen’s bum as it was probably the least thick area of chocolate, and then picked the buttons out one by one like tiny little tasty poops. Whether Cocoa Loco deliberately structured the hen that way or not, I don’t know, but it worked well for me. Sadly, as Cocoa Loco is by no means a major company, getting your hands on one of these may not prove to be easy. Wrosie got mine from Infinity Foods in Brighton, but otherwise you’re gonna need to have a search around. Do check out Cocoa Loco‘s website though, as they are a great company and are renowned for both their ethical integrity and their quality, so it doesn’t get much better than that.

Montezuma’s Organic Cheeky Bunnies

You get eight of these tasty dudes in a pack

Again bought for me by the wonderful Wrosie from the also wonderful Infinity Foods, this was a smaller addition of eight mini chocolate bunnies. Again, this was a dark chocolate venture, but again Montezuma’s uses only the finest ingredients which they ensure are fairly traded. Indeed, their principles are more important to them than the chocolate itself, as you can see from their ethics section on their website. These bunnies were fairly pricey at nearly £4 per box, but Montezuma’s never disappoints. Their chocolate is top quality, and I have huge respect for them as they make it very easy for vegans to pick and choose. Everything is clearly labelled by them, and staff in their own shops always know the situation with the latest vegan products. I am always hugely impressed by this company, and these bunnies are no exception. Look out for Montezuma’s stores all around the UK (and their chocolate is often sold by other stores too), or order yourself some stuff online.

Choices  Dairy Free Easter Egg

Plain, simple, yum

Thanks to Ellie from Ellie’s Vegan Kitchen for supplying me with this one! Perhaps the most widely available egg out of this year’s selection, this egg has been created by Celtic Chocolates, an Irish brand whose confectionary is widely stocked in health food stores, including the Holland and Barrett chain.

Their chocolate is an attempt at vegan “milk” chocolate, and they do a pretty good job at it. Their Easter egg for this year, sporting a sub-brand name of Choices, is plain and simple in its design and what it offers. A standard sized egg, complete with six small individually wrapped medallions of chocolate. At £4, this is pretty reasonably priced for vegan chocolate, and I think it’s pretty tasty too. Not the best vegan milk chocolate out there… we’ll get to that in a minute… but it’s certainly up there and it doesn’t taste vegan in a way that some vegan milk chocolates do. This egg is a great choice, and it’s a pleasure to see it being so widely stocked – I don’t think anyone would have too much trouble in getting their hands on one of these. Now it’s post-Easter though, you may have to wait a year, unless you trawl your local Holland and Barrett bargain bin – there must be some of these left somewhere.

Moo Free Organic Dairy Free Easter Egg

My Moo Free egg looking fairly ominous as it creeps out of the shadows, but fortunately there was nothing to worry about. Except maybe my pretty bad photography.

After picking up a few of these at Vegfest over a month ago, I have been struggling to keep myself from eating one, as they’ve been sitting around and taunting me day and night. Fortunately I managed to make it through to Easter, and Moo Free‘s egg has not let me down. The pinnacle of vegan milk chocolate, Moo Free are always a delight. This egg is plain and simple – a standard 100 gram chocolate egg. There’s no frills in the way of added chocolate buttons or bars or anything like that, but for what it lacks in extra goodies it makes up for in taste. This is the closest you will currently get to milk chocolate if you’re a vegan, and I’m pretty sure any dairy chocolate lover will have no qualms about tucking into Moo Free‘s goodies. At £4, this egg seems somewhat pricey seeing as, on the surface, it seems to offer very little, but I think that this chocolate is a must-try. Pick yourself up a bar from one of these various suppliers, and if you get through life without eating your way through at least one box of their pralines then you haven’t truly lived.

So there you have it. Easter 2011, done. Still working through the chocolate but not too fast. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for eggs which we should be trying next year though! Or if you’ve been given an egg which you feel would benefit from a quick review on here, I guess I wouldn’t mind if you sent it over… It’s a tough life having to eat all this chocolate for everyone, but hey, I’ll cope. Someone’s gotta do it.

Easter cupcakes!

Who said a vegan Easter had to consist of lovely dairy free eggs alone? Well, I wouldn’t complain if it did… but these cakes really shouldn’t be missed out – they’re a slight twist on the typical traditional simnel cake. If there is one time of year you can guilt-lessly have chocolate and cakes all day and nothing else it’s Easter, so get baking! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 100g butter replacement – I used Trex (and you need 20% less as it contains no water, therefore used 80g), but any vegetable shortening would be good
  • 100g golden caster sugar (white will do)
  • Egg replacement for 2 large eggs – I used vegan egg replacer, but check out the post ‘Egg replacement for use in baking’ for other ideas
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 200g icing sugar
  • Food colouring
  • Other decorations of your choice (e.g. marzipan to make eggs)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan assisted oven/gas mark 4. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
  2. In a bowl, beat together the butter replacement, sugar, egg replacement, baking powder, orange zest and ground almonds until smooth. Next, sift the flour then fold it in in a couple of batches, but don’t do this too much or the cakes won’t rise well, and try to be fairly quick.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake them in the oven for 20-30 mins, or until they’re risen, goldenish, firm, and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  4. Now the decorating! 🙂 Sift the icing sugar and add just enough water to form a paste (approx. 2 tablespoons). Divide it up and colour it with different food colourings, then spread over the cakes. Use whatever other decorations you like – I coloured marzipan with food colourings to try to make them look like eggs but I don’t know if they do… Ah well, they taste good anyway…

 

Vegan for Lent – the Impact

If you’re remotely interested in the Vegan for Lent Challenge, here’s an added incentive courtesy of The Informed Vegan. He has compiled the effects of going vegan for Lent on the Earth, and although there will obviously be variation due to diet this is an excellent list and a great incentive to get you thinking seriously about the challenge.

The effects of going vegan for Lent if you are on the average American diet could be

Save the lives of 40 animals.

Leave the cheese for the mice for the next 40 days

Save 70 pounds of grain.

Save 9,375 gallons of water.

Avoid 4 pounds of artery clogging cheese.

Avoid guzzling 2 gallons of fatty milk.

Do head over to The Informed Vegan blog and have a browse, it’s full of interesting info, and also think seriously about the Vegan for Lent Challenge, it’s definitely a worthwhile sacrifice.

 

*UPDATE* If you have decided to take up the challenge please do check out this website here for a free e-book download that has ALL the information on going Vegan for lent!!

Save the lives of 40 animals.

Save 70 pounds of grain.

Save 9,375 gallons of water.

Avoid 4 pounds of artery clogging cheese.

Avoid guzzling 2 gallons of fatty milk.

Vegan for Lent Challenge

A couple of weeks ago I did a post about a film coming out called Vegucated. This film is due out in Spring and follows the lives of 3 omnivores who make the transition to a vegan diet for 6 weeks, and looks at how they handle it. I promised I’d post a pretty similar challenge, so here it is. Lent begins this Wednesday, 9th March. Now I am not a religious person at all, but something about the challenge of Lent has always appealed to me. The idea of giving something up for 40 days is one I find quite meaningful and shows a huge level of self-determination if you stick it through, providing it’s something you’re not used to living without.

Last year my university held a “Vegan for Lent” campaign. The idea was to get people who were not vegan to try out veganism for 40 days and 40 nights, as is tradition. As an added incentive, many were sponsored for doing so and raised money for charity. At the time I was vegetarian, and after the determination of seeing it through for 40 days I remained vegan. I’ve heard many different methods for making a transition from vegetarian to vegan, some doing so slowly whilst others change overnight. However, this really worked for me as it was almost like it wasn’t my choice – I had to stick to the challenge or else I’d fail. And here I am, vegan for over a year now.

I’ve already seen calls to modernise Lent, and give up something which means more to the world than just chocolate, or the usual Lent sacrifices. For example, there’s even a Catholic Coalition on Climate Change calling for environmentally influential changes during Lent, such as giving up plastic bags. Like I said, I’m not a religious person but I enjoy the challenge of Lent. So, if you want to do something worthwhile this Lent then try veganism. Stuff yourself with any non-vegan foods that may be going off, and freeze the rest, and try giving up all animal products. See if it’s as big a challenge as you think.

As a helping hand to get you started, the New York Times are publishing a list of vegan dishes for anyone taking the challenge, take a look here. These recipes should be easy to make and prove to you that vegan cooking isn’t too hard. Please do let us know if you are going to take the challenge, and we would happily provide you with any assistance you may need as well!

Good luck, and by the end you’ll have earned the title of Vegangsta!

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