Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Essy and Bella

It has been a long time since I've had the pleasure of reviewing a freefrom chocolate brand. I love posts that show case fabulous chocolates just like these, that everyone can enjoy.

I was delighted to be sent some of the great range of chocolates made by artisan chocolate producer Essy and Bella. These beautifully presented handmade chocolates are dairy free, gluten free (a may contain traces of soya but no soya ingredients) and are suitable for coeliacs and vegans both young and old. The packaging is simple, practical and pretty. The ingredients and allergen information is clearly labelled and leaves you enticed and ready to enjoy tasting.

The flavours I sampled were more unusual and may not suit everyone's tastes but don't be deterred if you have traditional tastes there are some delicious traditional flavours on offer too. You can choose from chocolate orange or fruit and nut to lemon and poppy seed or ginger and apricot. There are also extremely cute chocolate shapes which were almost too dear to eat.

There are three fantastic chocolate bases to choose from: milk (made with rice milk), dark with 60% minimum cocoa solids and white. Each of the base chocolates had an even texture and a pleasing taste. The milk chocolate was sweet and smooth, the dark has a deeper chocolate flavour but no bitterness and the white was very creamy and satisfying.

Here are my thoughts on the flavours I tasted:

Lemon and Sea Salt Dark Chocolate
A very clean ingredients list and a pretty sprinkling of shiny sea salt, this bar smells great on opening. The salt is quite strong on first bite but fades to reveal the natural lemon flavour and a hint of the dark chocolate taste. An unusual flavour combination which is moreish and interesting.

Sunflower Seed and Sea Salt Milk Chocolate
Generously sprinkled with sunflower seeds which pleasingly retain their crunch. The taste of salt is a good combination with the sunflower seeds but perhaps a little too strong for me. The sweet smooth milk chocolate and sunflower seeds compliment each other perfectly.I could easily eat this bar in the day time and enjoy it just as much as in the evening.

Lemon and Poppy Seed White Chocolate
Beautifully presented the poppy seeds look stunning on the white chocolate. An initial lemon taste leads on to the taste of the poppy seeds and finally the white chocolate creaminess. This is a very successful white chocolate alternative and I look forward to trying it with other flavours.

Milk Chocolate Bugs
These were the cutest chocolates I have seen in a long time. Full of character and quite substantial in size. I nearly couldn't bring myself to eat them! My 3 year old had no trouble tucking in and really enjoyed the flavour of the chocolate as well as the satisfaction in biting a bugs head off! Cute and funky shapes that would make the perfect present.

Please visit the Essy and Bella website. The care, dedication and passion in these chocolates is plain to see and the flavours will have your mouth watering.

If you are lucky enough to live nearby, Essy and Bella will be attending these two events in the coming weeks:

North East Vegan Festival at Sunderland's Stadium of Light, 31st May
The Great Yorkshire Vegan Festival at Leeds Town Hall, 13th June

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