Hail Merry Bites: Dark Chocolate & Pure Vanilla

We were thrilled to find Hail Merry bites in our local natural foods store and promptly bought one of each flavor available.

We began sampling the Dark Chocolate and Pure Vanilla. These little bites are about the size of huge cotton ball and have the thick, slightly crumbly texture of macaroons (coconut lovers, rejoice! but if you don’t love coconut, these snacks are probably not for you).

The Dark Chocolate has a flavor true chocolate lovers will appreciate — that of deep, rich cocoa. The coconut texture is there, but this bite is all chocolate.

The Pure Vanilla is very coconutty (not a problem here, but if you don’t like coconut you may not enjoy these). There’s no discernible vanilla flavor that we could taste, but they are nonetheless a big treat for coconut and cookie lovers.

Cobb’s Cashew Cream Cheese in Garlic & Truffle

This new Cobb’s Cashew Cream Cheese was such a delight to find in our local food co-op.

The company, based out of Olympia, Washington, also makes dessert cups and cheesecakes, though not all are vegan, like this cashew cream cheese.

While not as spreadably creamy as most vegan cream cheeses, this cheese is nonetheless delicious. The flavors of garlic and truffle are abundant, and while we enjoyed it on bagels, it may be even better on crusty bread and crackers.

We look forward to seeing additional flavors in our local stores (so far, Cobb’s also offers Green Onion, Balsamic & Tomato, and Plain & Simple).

Hail Merry tart – Dark Chocolate

We loved the Hail Merry tart in Vanilla Coconut Creme … but we found Dark Chocolate to be even better, especially for chocolate lovers.

This tart is pure decadence: rich, thick, creamy, perfect dark chocolate, with zero bitterness. And the chocolate cookie crust only adds to its all-chocolate, all-the-time goodness.

The tart is quite small, but because it’s so incredibly rich, it’s possible to turn this one serving into two or even four (though we certainly appreciate that the nutrition info lists this as one serving…is there anything worse than a fabulous vegan dessert whose serving size is tiny?).

This is a dessert that would be lovely with some vanilla ice cream but is also just fine by itself. And it will surely impress omnivores as much as vegans.


Bitchin’ Sauce – Cilantro Chili

Bitchin’ Sauce is a wonderful thing, in every flavor we’ve tried so far. But interestingly, while I’m not normally a big cilantro fan, this flavor is among my favorites when it comes to Bitchin’ Sauce.

Perhaps because the chili is the predominant flavor here, this variety is spicy and terrific on anything from tortillas to veggies.

If you are one of those people who can’t stand cilantro, you may be understandably wary — but I’d encourage you to give it a try, as it may surprise you. And if you love the flavors in Mexican foods in general , this variety of Bitchin Sauce is especially worth sampling.

Hail Merry tart: Coconut Vanilla Créme

I’ve seen Hail Merry tarts many times in the fridge of the natural food store but haven’t yet given them a try. In a way, that may be a good thing because they are insanely delicious.

First we tried the Coconut Vanilla Créme … and anyone who enjoys coconut will love this as much as we did.

The tarts are very small (about the size of one’s palm — a rather small palm), but they are so rich that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Although the box reads that the serving size is one, half of a tart is very satisfying.

This variety is topped with light, fluffy coconut shreds and an almond cookie crust. The coconut ganache filling is rich and decadent, and the flavors of coconut and organic vanilla come together beautifully.

Click here to find where you can buy these locally. And stay tuned for our review of the dark chocolate tart (and perhaps many more), coming soon!

Bitchin’ Sauce – Pesto & Heat

In our continuing coverage of Bitchin’ Sauce, we sampled two new flavors and were very happy with each, as different as they are. We first tried pesto.

This sauce is loaded with basil and garlic and is bursting with flavor. It tastes like freshly made pesto sauce and is perfect on Italian bread, with bread sticks, on bruschetta, or atop a salad.

We also tried Bitchin’s Heat flavor — and discovered that it is very aptly named. While the chipotle is spicy, this is spicy times ten — be prepared!

With its base of almonds and soy, this flavor also features habanero, Tabasco, and ghost pepper, any one of which would add plenty of spice but all three combined create an amazingly hot experience. This sauce is excellent with tortilla chips but because of the heat is also good with veggies.

Forager Cashewgurt – Lemon

It’s been fantastic to see more vegan yogurts out there, and we were recently able to sample Forager‘s cashew-based yogurt in lemon flavor.

Forager has a range of delicious-looking products, from pressed vegetable chips to nut-based milks and coffees, and if they are as good as the yogurt, we’ll be very happy.

The lemon flavored yogurt is delicious — creamy and more sweet than tangy; it tastes like a really good lemon pie. But it’s flawlessly smooth, and wonderfully lemony. Forager definitely belongs at the top of the list of vegan yogurts.

Bitchin’ Sauce – Original & Chipotle

We don’t have access to Bitchin’ Sauce where we live, so it’s a joy to visit California, home of this small company, where we can easily find Bitchin’ Sauce in all of its six flavors. This is not a vegan cheese, exactly; however, it can be used in so many ways that cheese can.

We began our many tastings with Bitchin’ Original, which is savory and delicious. The ingredient list is very short (water, almonds, grapeseed oil, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, Bragg Liquid Aminos, garlic, spices, sea salt), especially given how incredibly flavorful this vegan spread is. The word “sauce” is a bit misleading in that this “sauce” is thick enough to spread on bread or crackers. While not smooth in texture, it’s  wonderfully creamy.

We also tried the Chipotle flavor, which has all the deliciousness of the original with a lot more kick.

The consistency is even less smooth than the original, and it’s also not quite as thick; this sauce is more for dipping than for spreading.

That said, it was great on a sandwich (especially if eaten immediately — keep in mind that Bitchin’ Sauce, and all things it’s slathered upon, needs to be refrigerated), and it also works nicely spread on crackers and bread. With the combination of spices, the chipotle flavor is especially perfect with tortilla chips and spread on tortilla wraps.

Coconut Bliss Ice Cream Sandwiches

There are no words to describe the bliss upon discovering these vegan ice-cream sandwiches. So far, we’ve seen only two flavors, vanilla and dark chocolate. If you’re already a fan of Coconut Bliss, you know you’re in for a treat.

We tried the vanilla first, and of course, the coconut-milk ice cream was creamy and delicious, and refreshing.

What’s unexpected about this decadent dessert is that the cookie portion is rather healthy (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The cookie is made of sprouted brown rice flour and hemp seeds, which means it tastes a bit more like a granola bar than a cookie — but we didn’t have a problem with that; in fact, it made us feel rather virtuous.

The vanilla sandwich allows for more of the cookie flavor to come through; you’ll definitely taste the nutmeg and cinnamon. The dark chocolate variety is a bit more flavorful in the ice cream department, but the cookie isn’t the highlight.

For chocolate lovers, the dark chocolate is definitely the way to go; the rich flavor of the ice cream is the main attraction here, with the cookie providing a lovely texture, though its flavors don’t stand out quite as much as with the vanilla.

Our advice? Try both. It’s the only way to know for sure which you’ll love best, and well worth it.

Kite Hill Spinach Ricotta Ravioli

We were thrilled to find Kite Hill ravioli on a recent journey to Whole Foods, and we began with spinach ricotta (still looking forward to trying the mushroom ricotta).

These meals are found in the refrigerated section, and they take only about 5 minutes to cook in boiling water — a fast, easy, and absolutely delicious meal.

We had the ravioli with simple marinara sauce and sprinkled with Follow Your Heart Parmesan.

The pasta was perfect, and the ravioli was lovely, cheesy, and flavorful. We are very impressed and look forward to trying mushroom next.