Plamil - short for 'plant milk' - the first certified producer of UK organic and vegan chocolate, has launched Cocoabites. Produced with 100% renewable energy, they come in plastic-free glass jars, the greenest most environmentally friendly packaging possible! Better still, jars are refillable, reusable and recyclable and there are three super-tasty varieties to choose from.
I was sent a selection to try. These included:
Vegan Milky Smooth Cocoabites - a new generation of vegan milk chocolate, these delicate bites have an exceptionally smooth texture which makes them beyond moreish.
Vegan White Cocoabites - fabulous chunks of delicious white cocoa with a smooth finish. They are so creamy and not at all sickly like some white chocolate.
Vegan Dark Chocolate Cocoabites - Prefer dark chocolate? These have a super high cocoa content of 67%. This means that they are wonderfully smooth with the sweetness coming from unrefined coconut blossom sugar.
As well as fully recyclable jars, Cocoabites are also available in 1 kg refill packs which make them even greener when it comes to buying more.
Vegan Cocoabites don't contain milk, wheat or gluten and are made to the highest no nut/ no peanut standards. I loved them, they're really tasty and I would never have guessed that they are dairy free. Why don't you give them a try? I think you'll love them too!
The new Cocoabites range which get top marks from me have an RRP of £2.50 and are available from leading independent health shops and on-line at Plamil Foods.
Plamil choose to be ethical and sustainable by using certified cocoa, avoiding child slave labour, respecting animals and the environment . All products are made in the UK.
At any time, an estimated twenty million whisky casks are maturing across Scotland. These are all exposed to ‘the Angels’ Share’, the name given to evaporation from casks during maturation. You can't blame the angels for taking their pick, after all they are bound to enjoy some casks more than others and there's nothing the hard working distillers can do but watch their efforts disappear.
The Angels’ Nectar Blended Malt Scotch Whisky is bottled for whisky drinkers to savour, created from a selection of lovely Speyside and Highland malt whiskies.
Angels' Nectar Original Tasting Notes:
•Colour – An honest, natural, light chardonnay.
•Nose – Sweet, vanilla, fruit syrup, apple, pear, the delicious aroma of an apple pie in the oven.
•Taste – Heather honey and lemon.
•Finish – A hint of spice.
•A vibrantly fresh whisky, served just the way the angels like it
My sample was provided by spirits bottler Highfern Ltd, established by Robert Ransom in 2014.
The label for this whisky brand features a striking fractal design, with an angel shaped ethereal mist, within which angels can be seen enjoying their share.
The bottle is labelled 'Strane - London Dry Gin - Merchant Strength'. For those who don't know, this doesn't mean that it is made in London - in fact this one comes from a small Swedish distillery. Back in the day though, most gin distillers were in London and in the 1700s gin was the drink of choice. Originally used as a medicine, it was cheap, the opium of the masses. People went to great lengths to obtain it; a cattle drover sold his daughter for a gallon of the stuff while a coachman pawned his wife for a quart bottle. Thankfully, no-one would go as far as that to get a bottle of gin these days!
Anyway, to be a 'London Dry', among other stipulations, the gin must be distilled to over 70%. Water is usually then added to reduce the gin to a bottling strength of around 40%. Oh and if you're reading this and calling it 'Strane' , it's actually pronounced 'str-AAH-nEE' or 'Stra-anne'. Got it?
Strane is a handcrafted small batch gin from Swedish distiller Smögen Whisky AB. It is created in a 100 litre pot still with worm tub condensers, at the Smögen Distillery, one of the first distilleries in Sweden to produce Single Malt Whisky.
Twelve botanicals are used in this gin - juniper, basil, mint, coriander, cinnamon, sweet almond, sage, lemon peel, lime, liquorice and two secret ingredients. (I wonder what they are?) These botanicals are used to produce three base gin styles; juniper, citrus and herbal, in batches of 45 litres. The base gins are then blended to produce the three expressions; Merchant, Navy and Uncut.
Strane Merchant, the core expression, is bottled at 47.4% Vol and blended to emphasise the smoothness that the high copper contact in the tiny whisky pot gives the spirit, while at the same time providing enormous depth and strength of character, led by the juniper, coriander seeds and mint.
The Smögen Distillery (above) was designed and built by pioneering distiller Pär Caldenby, ( above with his dog Dante). It is sited on Sweden's west coast north of Gothenburg with every drop of Smögen Whisky and Strane Gin distilled and blended by Pär personally. Commenting on the Strane Gin family, he said, “As a whisky man, it struck me that the art of blending should work very well with gin, as a good gin is about character and also – most importantly – about balance. To create the massive depth of character while retaining balance, the tiny pot still with its worm tub is important, but the blending makes it whole. Eminently sippable and makes an enticing G&T with the likes of Fentiman’s or Fever Tree.”
Gin is the drink of the moment, gaining popularity all the time. Why not do yourself a favour and get yourself a bottle of Strane? When you taste it, you'll be glad you did.
Strane London Dry Gin: Merchant Strength 47.4%, Navy Strength 57.1% and Uncut Strength 76% .... wow, that is strong!
Strane Gin is distilled by Smögen Whisky AB, represented in the UK by Highfern Ltd who supplied my tasting sample.
Besides importing Strane and Smögen, Highfern are the proprietors of Angels’ Nectar Blended Malt Scotch Whisky.
You can buy Strane Gin from lots of places including Drinkfinder, Gauntleys of Nottingham, JL Gill , Master of Malt, Nickolls and Perks, Robertson's, shop4whisky.com , Evil Eye, Storehouse, Woodwinters and The Whisky Exchange.
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer and author of 11 books. My byline appears in national and regional newspapers and magazines. See website gillypickup.co.uk