We all love a snack in the Small City office. As I’m typing this, I have a bar of dark chocolate peeking temptingly on my desk, beside an assortment of mini pittas and dip. Fun fact: we once tried to have a snack drawer in the office, but after the first day when we ate through the entire week’s supply it is sadly no more.
It’s a really common misconception that it’s hard – or even impossible - to snack as a vegan. Sure, initially it can be a little bit difficult when you’re scanning labels and such, but with a little time – and preparation – it’s a pretty straightforward venture!
When I heard that one of my favourite Perth indies, Provender Brown, were trailing stocking some new vegan treats, I was of course, first in line to find out more! They generously offered me some snacks take with me in exchange for my honest review, and I more than happily obliged.
So without further ado, I present to you my hot takes on the new vegan offerings! Spoiler alert: they’re all incredible.
I loooove these. I always have a bunch of pumpkin seeds around in the kitchen to sprinkle atop meals, because they just add that nice bit of depth – and are great for getting essential fats in, which can be a bit trickier on a vegan diet in the initial stages! These are the perfect snack to have on your desk at work, to fuel a study session, or even to pop in your handbag. They’re moreish and because they’re lighter than other alternative snacks, it’s perfect for a boost of energy if you’re feeling sluggish, while still satiating your hunger. Mr. Filbert’s seeds are slowly tumbled in hot air – not fried – to maintain their health benefits, so you’re getting the full extent of their nutritional goodness. Great if you love to snack like me, and are looking for something a bit healthy! The tamari and miso flavour is great if you love a hit of ‘umami’ flavour – think mouth-wateringly savoury, with a certain rich depth. The tumeric and black pepper has a nice warmth to it, with the hints of coriander and ginger giving a really well rounded flavour. The seeds themselves have a satisfying crunch too.
Okay, I’ll admit it: I actually wasn’t expecting to like this a whole lot. But I was (very) happy to be proved wrong! First things first, I think if you’re a vegan or just someone who has experimented with dairy-free cheese alternatives at all, you’ll know – it can be grim out there. Secondly, I’ve never really been so much of a cheese person, even prior to adopting a vegan lifestyle! While my flatmate works at a cheesery and tells me tales of highly matured blue cheeses and more, I think the most adventurous I was in my pre vegan days was mozzarella in its various forms. So something with “extra mature” in its title made me feel a bit wary. However, breaking off a little piece on a cracker, I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed it! It has a somewhat crumbly yet smooth texture. While it still was quite strong and pungent, the coconut oil base mellowed this out somewhat, and after taking a wee while to get used to it, I actually really enjoyed it! I think this would be perfect to eat with grapes and biscuits, or even melted into a macaroni cheese, topped with a sprig of coriander and freshly ground black pepper.
Step aside Greggs, because there’s a new roll that’s just er, rolled into town. And it’s not messing around. Made by Scotch & Co in Ayrshire, it’s a really decent size – I can imagine this would be the perfect hangover cure, or just a really nice, hearty lunch if you’re wanting to treat yourself. It’s served cold, but you can heat it up in the microwave for a few seconds before if you prefer yours hot. The pastry has just the right amount of flake to it – not burned and crisp, but not too soft either. The filling actually made for a really interesting alternative to the sausage I was expecting – instead of a meat alternative, I was greeted with spiced chickpea goodness. There was a lovely hint of sun dried tomato in the mix too, giving a bit of a tart, tang of flavour amongst the herbal, earthy flavours. The distinct chilli glaze offered a bit of depth too, giving sweet warmth that was really lovely. I think the thing that stuck out to me about this roll is that it’s not trying to be a sausage roll, it’s a vegan roll on its own terms. So if that’s what you’re looking for, I’d wholeheartedly recommend this.
Houmous: it’s a vegan staple. I could (and have) go through tubs of it weekly! To be honest though, I tend to stick to the classic full fat, unflavoured houmous varieties, occasionally drizzling in some olive oil or za’atar if I fancy it. So I was a bit excited to try these new flavours! The ethos behind ‘Chic P’ is pretty cool – created by chef Hannah McCollum, she uses ‘imperfect’ veggies that would otherwise be wasted. Working as a chef, she was dismayed by the massive amounts of food waste she saw daily, and set forth to create a product underpinned by her desire to change attitudes around cooking and waste. Given that a staggering one-third of food produced in the U.K. is never eaten (yes, really), it’s a worthy cause. But the question is: does it live up to the taste test?
Houmous: it’s a vegan staple.Opening both pots, the first thing that struck me was how vibrant the colours were! I tried the beetroot flavour first: it has a really mellow, earthy sweetness to it with a bit of tang from the horseradish. It would be great mixed into a Buddha bowl, for example, as the houmous flavours were not too overpowering, making it a versatile choice when enjoyed with other ingredients. Next up, the carrot flavour. I loved this one – it was really zesty and unique – I don’t think I’d ever really tasted anything like it before! This one was almost leaning toward a puree texture wise – it was a little bit less thick, which I think would make it an ideal option for dips – I enjoyed mine with some freshly toasted mini pittas and cherry tomatoes at my desk. Carrot and ginger are a revitalising pairing, and in addition to tumeric, are packed with nutrients with a whole host of benefits to leave you glowing.
Dessert time! I love a sweet treat and these truffles looked absolutely divine – the packaging gets a 10/10 alone. Chilled for optimum freshness, these truffles are made with 100% dark raw chocolate, produced in Ecuador. Made with only five organic, high quality ingredients, these truffles prove that sometimes, less is more. Popping one in my mouth, I noted that the chocolate had a lovely bitterness and depth to it. As it slowly began to melt in my mouth and I bit into it, this was contrasted by the berry, fruity sweetness of the raspberry centre. The raspberry did not have a saccharine sweetness, but more of a fruity rounded berry taste. It’s a divine, bittersweet pairing – my mouth is watering just recalling it! I’m not the only one who thinks so, either – Nigella Lawson and the iconic Jameela Jamil are amongst the fans of this little wonder. Well, if it’s good enough for their tastes….
So next time you’re strolling down George Street, make sure to stop by Provender Brown to stock up on these yummy treats. I know I will be!
Gill has adapted this delicious Goan Prawn Curry from her favourite Madhur Jeffrey recipe and it is a warm, spicy treat of a dish!
May 5th Sunday 2019
The Clootie McToot shop in Abernethy is doing exciting things with an old Scottish favourite. Read this week's Perth LoveFest to find out more.
May 2nd Thursday 2019
Bring the taste of traditional Spanish food to your mid-week meals with this easy to make seafood paella.
April 27th Saturday 2019