The first week of December has passed, and shops and restaurants are brimming with their Christmas trade. Many establishments have already whipped out their festive menus last month, for the hungry shoppers and their designated bag-carriers.
I have been a little jealous recently as everyone seem to be able to treat themselves to an annual Christmas sandwich (or two) whilst out and about. To combat this, I sought out five festive treats from the British high street. From vegan mince pies, to a Christmas pudding-flavoured NAKD bar, I just had to try them for everyone’s benefit.
- Starbucks Gingerbread soy latte, £3.25
I have been avoiding the festive drink menu from Starbucks for a number of years now. Firstly, the red cups are unnecessary. Secondly, the drinks offered did not appeal to me at all. Gingerbread, egg nog and toffee nut just scream syrup-filled marketing ploys.
One faithful December evening, however, got me into ordering a Gingerbread latte. No red cup in sight as I chose to drink in, but as expected, plenty of syrup was involved with little gingerbread spice. This would have been great if the spices were a little stronger, and the sugar front was toned down a little. Perhaps I’ll ask for a little less syrup next time (sugar-free or not).
- Pret-A-Manger Orange-spiced soy latte, £2.45
I raved about this in my food and drink review for November 2015; it was so delightful that it deserves a place on another list! This was one of my greatest discoveries this season, and it rekindles me with one of my favourite flavours of Christmas. The fruity tones of the drink was nicely balanced by the sweetness and pungency of the spices used. Drink this now, or wait another year ‘til your life is changed.
- Starbucks Christmas Veggie Flatbread, £4.29
The butternut squash and mushroom filling was boldly flavoured and seasoned… it was a meat-free meaty delight of a dish. Best served warm of course, but the flatbread did not retain its pillow-like texture when heated up, unfortunately. It was very filling, and probably contained a lot of processed nasties than I’d like – but I would happily tuck into this again. I’m not usually one for praising Starbucks, but in this instance, I will allow it.
- Christmas Pud NAKD bar, 99 p
The NAKD bar range began with only a handful of flavours, containing natural ingredients. In recent years, they have introduced ‘natural flavourings’ in their bars to replicate the taste of classic British produce such as the Bakewell tart and rhubarb and custard sweets.
True to fashion, they have introduced a Christmas Pud NAKD bar. Encased in a red and green packet, the fruit and nut bar does look the part of the festive dessert. Taste-wise, I was not quite convinced, however. I have already made my feelings known with regards to their bars containing ‘natural flavourings.’ As with the Bakewell Tart bar, the almond essence they have used was far too overpowering for my liking, creating a very sweet treat. A little tang won’t hurt anybody.
- Caffe Nero Vegan Mince Pie, £1.29
I was in search for a festive snack after work to accompany my late night Christmas shopping adventure one evening. Having popped into a couple of cafes, I was pleasantly surprised to find Caffe Nero offering a vegan mince pie – the only vegan item on their food menu in my branch.
The sweet mincemeat filled a crusty pastry case; no soggy bottom in sight and it tasted quite buttery, too. Unlike the conventional mince pies, the ‘lid’ was merely a star pastry cut-out, making the mince pie a lot less heavy and stodgy than most. Again, due to my savoury tooth issues, it was rather too saccharine for my personal preference, but its vegan nature gets five stars from myself.
Are there any other vegan festive finds worth a mention/review? Tell me in the comments below so I can get my mitts on it ASAP.
Stock photo of placeholder from picjumbo.