Stories

Enjoying Christmas Treats….Vegan Style

 

Gone are the days when our vegan parents, (or maybe just my mom) could only choose from a fruit plate for dessert during the holidays, or any other time for that matter. 

Veganism and plant-based foods have come a long way in the past 20 years.

There are an incredible array of desserts to choose from-some of our favourites include cinnamon buns, cookies, donuts, chocolate cake, and creme brûlée; but I’ve always had a sweet spot (no pun intended) for chocolate, and candy, especially during the holidays.

Ever since I was a child I have always loved Christmas with friends and family, and of course all of the incredible food that goes with it.

During our first few years of being vegan we weren’t even aware of all the varieties of candy and chocolate, as we were just trying to figure out how to eat plant-based in our day-to-day lives, so during the holiday season we would just enjoy our own homemade cakes and other family’s vegan versions of their favourite desserts.

Now we indulge in chocolate truffles, almond butter stuffed chocolate stockings, sour gummy worms, creamy mint chews, salt water taffy, and prosecco bears. 

There’s just something so quintessentially Christmas -y about digging into a box of Christmas chocolates and choosing from all of the different treats dusted in shredded coconut, or drizzled in chocolate fudge; or letting all of the sour salt from a gummy worm dissolve in your mouth before devouring the animal friendly candy; or eating anything flavoured with peppermint. This year we’ve been lucky enough to try some new vegan chocolate and candy and they didn’t disappoint.

Here are some of our favourites.

 

WHOLESOME

I have been purchasing, and enjoying Wholesome sweeteners for a few years now, but I”ve just recently discovered that they make candy as well, and I haven’t enjoyed a gummy worm for 6 years people, so I knew I had to get my hands on some Wholesome products!

Their Mission: “To provide mindfully delicious choices for life’s sweet moments”

Wholesome creates their products with a conscience, which is something we can stand by. They work to ensure farmers get a fair price for their crops, and developed responsible harvesting and sustainable growing standards. This fair trade empowers the lives of their partners by providing life changing resources to help their communities.

We also love that their website has a vegan candy section with 14 different products the last time I checked.

One of my favourites was their sour worms. The grapefruit sour worm to be exact. These treats have a firm chew, and are dusted with sour sugar. I much prefer them to the very hard and chewy sour worms and giant keys of my childhood that took me at least 15 minutes to eat.

The organic fruit chews were also fantastic. You can find Wholesome candies at many local grocery stores or order them online here.

 

SJAAK’S

Jacques Holten and his wife Pam met in Spain and settled down in California where they founded Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates.

Being vegetarians since the 1970’s, they realized they needed to shift their attention to organic health conscious products.

Today, all of Sjaak’s products are vegan, and every treat we tried was decadent, but we especially enjoyed the melk chocolate nuts and chews assorted box.

We had to fight not to finish all of the creamy chocolates in one sitting.

If you are finding it difficult to decide what to order from Sjaak’s, do add the almond butter chocolate stocking to your shopping cart, as well as their hazelnut snowballs.

They are so creamy, have a little crunch, and are not too sweet.

Oh! the Almond drinking chocolate is also fantastic in this cold Christmas weather! Sjaak’s chocolates are the best vegan chocolates that we have tried to date.

These indulgent chocolates are a really great gift for a vegan friend, family member, or yourself! Make sure to check out their website here.

 

SQUISH

Squish are a Canadian company founded in Montreal in 2014 specializing in over 100 flavours of gourmet gummies.

They also have quite an impressive vegan Squish section on their website, which you can check out here.

Luckily they have a location at Square One mall in Mississauga, so we popped in to take a look and picked up this awesome Vegan Faves holiday box.

There are 9 individually packed gelatine-free shapes and flavours to choose from. I really enjoyed the prosecco bears and the frosty lemonade crowns.

If you are not close to a Squish location, don’t fret, you can order their goodies online!

 

FRALINGER’S

Joseph Fralinger took over a concession stand in Atlantic City around 1884, and so begun his perfecting of his own taffy recipe.

Salt water taffy was originally produced and marketed in Atlantic City, New Jersey; and although I don’t feel the nostalgia that many people from Jersey feel about walking along the Jersey shore while enjoying the sticky treat of their childhood, I too love the flavours, and simplicity of this vintage candy.

There are no frills, just a simple unwrapping of wax paper before you get to pop in what seems to be the perfect cut size for your mouth. Contrary to popular belief, salt water taffy does not contain salt water from the ocean.

According to Jersey Shore legend, in 1883, Atlantic City was hit with a storm, and several business were flooded with sea water, including a candy shop owned by David Bradley.

When a customer entered the shop to buy some taffy after the storm, Bradley looked around his flooded shop, and jokingly told the girl that all he had was “salt water taffy”.

I happened upon this “egg” nog salt water taffy while in a Christmas store here in Canada. As soon as I made sure the ingredients were free of animal products I snatched up 2 satchels and made my way to the check out counter.

I adore peppermint, chocolate, and holiday nog flavoured anything during the holidays, so I of course left the Christmas themed store filled with a kid’s excitement.

 

ANGEL MINTS BY FLORIDA CANDY FACTORY

I can’t believe I didn’t discover these peppermint sticks sooner! They are creamy, and pack a punch of real peppermint.

Angel Mints were created back in 1919, and to this day they are still manufacturing them in the same high quality manner. Each handmade batch is cooked in 30 pound increments over a gas stove, and the ingredients remain unchanged from the original recipe.

They are deliciously pepperminty and potent. Everyone we shared them with this holiday absolutely loved them. Angel mints are also free from Synthetic (artificial) colouring, Synthetic (artificial) flavoring, Synthetic (artificial) fragrance, BHT, BHA, TBHQ and Aspartame.

There are also numerous testimonials from patients undergoing chemotherapy who  claim that Angel Mints soothe their dry mouth, and throat.

They also reduce the metallic taste that chemotherapy treatment leaves behind. We have been savouring these mints, and eating them very slowly, as we plan on taking them along with us in 5 days on our flight to Thailand.

Angel’s also sent us a mixed bag of tropical salt water taffy. this taffy has a light and chewy texture, and the tropical flavours are not overpowering. Some of the best quality taffy I’ve had. Definitely check out their website here.

 

So there you have it folks! A small handful of some great Christmas sweets to choose from without dairy, butter, or eggs. We’re sure there will be a lot more variety in the coming years, but this is a fantastic start.

Valentines Day is around the corner, so love yourself, and get yourself some treats!!!

 

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