My taste test reviews for November.

There is a veritable deluge of new vegan food products hitting our supermarket shelves every week now. I can only see that ramping up even more with Christmas just around the corner. There has never been a better time to be vegan.

At Christmas now we are so well catered for from dinners to desserts. Non- vegan friends or family no longer have to come out in a cold sweat about worrying about what to feed us.

Here are a few of my favourite products I have tasted this month. I have been so slack doing this but my health has not been good.

1. Nescafe instant vegan lattes £2.50 for a box of 6 sachets

I spotted these at Tesco’s and thought what a great idea. They come in a choice of coconut, almond or hazelnut instant latte sachets. Well done Nescafe. Great to take into work with you, at home or when visiting. I cannot use then unfortunately as from a gluten-free point of view that contains oat flour. So wish I could tolerate these.

2. Food Thoughts cacao melts £3.99 for 150g tub

For anyone who is vegan and loves to bake, these are fantastic. They come in 3 varieties which include 35% white chocolate, 75% dark chocolate and 100% dark chocolate. These thin discs melt nice and quick and produce a glossy sheen with a good snap. Ideal for filling and covering your cakes or desserts. Made from single origin Colombian Fino de Aroma bean varieties known for their intense chocolatey flavour.

3. Applewood vegan cheese, 200g block for £2.00 and slices for £1.99

There was huge excitement when these products hit the shelves and my local Asda ran out of them so quickly in the first few weeks. It is so nice to see this cheese producer take on the vegan cheese challenge. It was many years in the making. It was one of my favourite non-vegan cheese to have melted, so I was so hoping this would live up to all the hype. I am not keen on unmelted cheese but this one cooked is gorgeous. I have tried it in arancini’s, pasta bakes, macaroni cheese and my comfort food cheese on toast. There is always a block in my fridge now.

4. The tempeh, 200g for £3.00

Tempeh is often seen as the ugly cousin of tofu and not as on- trend as the likes of the new powerhouse glory Seiten. It is both gluten-free and vegan, which is a plus point for me. It also does not fall apart when cooked, and like tofu acts like a sponge to soak up your chosen flavouring. Fabulous used cooking kebabs, ribs and curries. It is certainly worth giving it a go. I think the price is a little steep though.

NOMO vegan chocolate, 38g bar 90p and the 85g bar £2.00, gift box £14.99

There is nothing negative I can say about this chocolate. Not so long back most of the vegan chocolate seemed to be of the dark variety. Now I love dark chocolate but sometimes I yearned for the creamy milk chocolate taste. Then along comes NOMO, in a few different flavours. The small bars come in fruit and crunch, caramel and creamy chocolate. The full-size bars are available in creamy chocolate and dark chocolate. I adore the milk chocolate large bar and the caramel small one. No nasty after taste and very close to the real thing. That wonderful feeling the moment milk chocolate melts on the tongue. Thet have now introduced a gift box in time for Christmas. For £14.99 you get 12 small bars and 2 larger ones. All bars are Free From Dairy, Gluten, Eggs & Nuts:, so for a vegan who cannot have gluten, like me is perfect.

Peanut Hottie powder 180g jar £3.60

Newish on the block and a must-tryfor me, is these peanut butter powders by Peanut Hottie. Mix with water to make into peanut butter or use in cooking or make up a delicious hot drink or delicious smoothies. Available in two flavours which are peanut butter and peanut butter and chocolate. The decider for a, a complete peanut butter nutter is that it contains 80% less fat than your regular peanut butter.

Oumph garlic and thyme 280g for £3.49

It was quite a while before I tried the OUMPH products. Thet sat in my freezer, looking at me every time I opened the door. I decided to bite the bullet with their The Chunk product in a chickenless, mushroom and leek pie and never looked back. I spotted the tyme and garlic one nestled in Asdas freezer department go grabbed a pack. Loved this product, so quick to use as once defrosted it takes under 5 minutes to cook. Was so good in a wrap with siracha sauce and salad but equally good when added to a casserole.

IKEA Veggie balls 1kg for £4.00

I was so looking forward to my first trip to IKEA this month but with the usual dreaded fear of what shall I do for lunch. Needing vegan and gluten free food is often a pain in the butt on road trips. Well, we headed to the cafeteria and I spotted these on the menu, gave them a go and loved them. I grabbed a kilo bag of these little beauties for £4.00 on the way out. They are lovely and spicy and packed with flavour and vegetables. Quick to cook if you need a hot snack in a hurry. Comforting and filling stuffed into warm pitta bread with sauce and roasted vegetables. What a shame now as may need another trip.

Vitalite cheese 200g block £2.99 and 200g pack of slices £2.99

I remember growing up using Vitalite spread as a child and even remember the advert (getting old). It seemed to disappear for a while and bought back in its new packaging. I have used it now for the past 10 years in baking etc. When I heard they were bringing out vegan cheese I was very excited. I am not a lover of unmelted cheese but this is my first hard cheese I like the taste of. The slices are great over a burger or in a toastie I would not say it melts like your dairy cheese but it does have a nice mild cheesy taste which suits me. On the plus side, it contains added calcium and B12, which helps. This is the best hard block cheese for me and the one I will use in cooking.

Pip & Nut’s pumpkin spice and almond butter £3.99

I am very fussy about my nut butter and I tend to make my own, experimenting with different nuts and flavours. This one caught my eye because of my Canadian best friend Deborah and her love for all things pumpkin. I am not a massive pumpkin fan, but I do like those sort of spices. Not for me this one I’m afraid. It tasted too far away from peanut butter. I can see however I can use it in some baking recipes in the future.

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