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Happy Veganuary everybody! A new year starting full of promise and hope as 10 000 people have pledged to go vegan for January.

Last September I met Matthew, Jane and Clea (aka Team Veganuary) at Vegfest London…. sparkling with enthusiasm and full of drive to make Veganuary the best thing since vegan chocolate fudge cake!

Veganuary

The website (www.veganuary.com) they’ve created is outstanding and I was singing its praises to my friend Zoe on our way to a night-out dancing.
I was over the moon when she told me that she had actually signed up to a month of trying vegan and was busily planning meals and snacks. It’s so much fun sharing my tips and telling her about my favourite vegan treats. And as I’ve had some fabulous products sent to me to review recently I couldn’t wait to share the love…

At Vegfest London I had also bumped into two great guys from Equinox Kombucha and they got in touch and kindly sent me four of their drinks to review.
Kombucha (a fermented green tea drink) is a well-known source of probiotics with lots of vitamins and detoxing properties. When you read a bit more about the Equinox story you’ll get a real sense of their passion, commitment and kindness. Equinox Kombucha choose ethically sourced ingredients, Fair Trade wherever possible, and alway certified organic.
Equinox kombucha
I will admit that I was already a little biased as I love the gorgeous bottle design. Also these drinks don’t scream ‘artificial colours’ with their pretty pastel shades.

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If you’ve never tried Kombucha before you’ll notice the tangy flavour, a little bit like a slightly tart cider. The Original flavour immediately made me forget my teenage memories of my mum’s attempts to brew her own Kombucha (brrrr!). In fact, I really liked all four varieties.
Ginger is refreshingly fizzy without the full-blown spicy heat that some people don’t like in ginger. Raspberry and Elderflower and Wild Berry add delightful fruit flavours. I’m particularly keen on these two. I love the way the Wild Berry looks like a sparkling rosé wine in a champagne flute. This would make a sophisticated and indulgent alternative to alcohol.
I’ve never been keen to let my boys have sweet fizzy drinks – they’ve tried them on a couple of occasions and luckily didn’t go crazy for them. Sam and Alex were really curious to try Kombucha and I’m going to hand over the mic to my seven year old who gave me his eloquent review:
“I like it more than lemonade because lemonade has hardly a taste and is just sugary. This has more flavour and (is) less sugary. I love it!” Good point, well made 🙂

Vegfest Award EquinoxK
Equinox Kombucha picking up their Best Vegan Drinks award at Vegfest in September.
Pretty cool, huh?

 

While I’m on the topic of tea please let me point you to the Wise Owl Tea company. Steve Ellis got in touch and kindly sent me some samples. He and Lucy combines their deep passion for travel and love of fragrant herbal tea infusions perfectly. Ingredients are organic and the delightful little tea bags are hand made. Last year the two ‘Wise Owls’ have seen their efforts rewarded in the Great Taste awards with three gold star winners!
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I was very excited to try the Corsican Olive Leaf Tea. Blended with apple and pineapple it looked very elegant in the little pyramid shaped silky bags. It’s become my favourite of the Wise Owl teas.
Tahitian Night is a full blend of flavours with Liquorice Root, Chamomile flower, Lavender flower, Lime flower and Valerian Root. The liquorice adds sweetness, while chamomile, lavender and valerian root make this a great drink to aid deep, refreshing sleep.

The packaging is so beautiful that I couldn’t bring myself to recycle these pretty containers. They make lovely storage jars for all sorts of bits and pieces.

 

And finally, I was lucky enough to sample some exciting vegan chocolate from Ethicoco. (I know it’s a tough job…)
Ethicoco is a new vegan chocolate business that is handcrafting a variety of bean-to-bar chocolates.Ethicoco_2014-11-05_Ethicoco-782_print

I got to try the Ecuadorian With Oat Milk and a 72% Peruvian Dark. Here’s another company that really celebrates ethical values and care of our planet. All the ingredients are organic, with beans certified by the Rain Forest Alliance, FairTrade, or sourced via direct trade.
Given the choice, I would usually go for a vegan ‘milk chocolate’ first so when I tried this one I really enjoyed it. But it was the 72% dark variety that surprised me the most. There was none of the ‘bitterness’ that I was expecting and the longer the chocolate melted in my mouth the more the flavours developed. Absolutely gorgeous and a huge success with all the family. I’m really looking forward to trying the other two flavours soon.
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Have you discovered some exciting new products during Veganuary? And have you got any Top Tips for staying plant-based this month? It’s always great to hear from you…

Lots of love,
Chava

 

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