One of the rare things I’ve found missing from my life as vegan is “milk” chocolate. I run into a lot of “accidentally-vegan” dark chocolate that has certainly widened my scope of chocolate-eating, but not very many people are tackling a vegan chocolate for those of us who, well, aren’t that into dark chocolate to begin with. So, when I heard there was a box of vegan milk chocolate (or “light chocolate” as NO Whey! is calling it) to be reviewed, I got excited. And when I saw it was a Valentines assortment, my heart sang and angels appeared. One of my great past loves was those heart-shaped box Valentines Day assortments. The boxes almost made up for the dumb holiday.
The NO Whey! Candies Valentines assortment is a sampler of heart-shaped chocolate in a tasteful (non-heart shaped) brown-striped box with white, pink and red (recyclable!) paper ribbon, accompanied by a candy menu with ingredient listings in red print. The box sparked memories of chocolates of yore (my pre-vegan days) as visions of Chunkys and Cadbury crème eggs popped into my head. The light chocolate, used for most of the varieties in the box, is very sweet and creamy.
I’ll start with the varieties that aren’t normally my favorites:
The Cream-Filled Hearts stood out as surprisingly on-target for that type of candy. The Cherries & Cream reminded me of the cherry/raspberry confections you’d stumble upon in the assortment box, but better as they weren’t cloyingly sweet (I actually finished this one instead of casting it aside). The Coffee Cream‘s creamy coffee-flavored filling was a nicely sweet coffee-in-candy alternative compared to the ubiquitous dark chocolate covered espresso beans you find everywhere (that are more coffee than candy). Remarkably, the chocolate covered cherry, My Cherry Amour, didn’t leak goo all over as I bit into the nice mound of sweet milk chocolate to reveal a perfectly respectable maraschino nestled in its creamy interior.
Then I got down to business with the chocolates I was most looking forward to, and for which I had the highest expectations!
The Vegan Sweet Heart Cashew Cranberry was a combination of darker semi-sweet chocolate with fruit and nuts. One of the things that bums me out about dark chocolate and fruit options is that they’re often way too acidic, even with nuts to balance it out. This version let the fruit take over in the tartness category while the chocolate wasn’t too sweet or too dark–it reminded me of a Chunky bar (one of my most favorite jams when I was a kid despite my friends’ mockery for not picking something “cooler”). The Crispy Crunch Heart was exactly what you’d expect for a “krispy” treat in milk chocolate. The Chocolate Covered Marshmallow was in the shape of a heart, which threw me. The marshmallow wasn’t an airy smooshy marshmallow but more of a sticky Cadbury-inspired condensed goo that reminded me of fresher, softer, tastier Charleston Chew. My favorite chocolate option is always always the peanut butter cup so I’d saved the Peanut Butter Hearts for the finale. The peanut butter filling was sweet but nutty and went well with the light chocolate. It reminded me of the peanut butter-filled chocolates my family bought for Valentine’s Day and Easter from our local family-run chocolatier, Bromilow Chocolates. I’m glad I didn’t have to share this one with anyone!
The only (minor) turn-off during the whole experience was grammatical errors in NO Whey!’s ingredients list and their lack of branding–nothing a spell-check and a once-over by a graphics person wouldn’t fix right quick! Considering how much I enjoyed eating their light chocolate assortment, this is something I’d be able to overlook while placing an order.
So, if you’re burned out on dark chocolate and you’re hankering for some sweet light chocolate or you want to recreate the experience of a heart-shaped box filled with assorted (surprise!) chocolates, this NO Whey! gift box is for you! Or for your stupid Valentine.
Editor’s Note: NO Whey! does make light chocolate covered espresso beans. We’ll be reviewing those separately.