In this article:
- Cheeky Nilla Broccoli, Pumpkin & Hibiscus Vegan Dark Chocolate Review
- Cheeky Nilla Almond, Cranberry & Safflower Vegan Dark Chocolate Review
- Cheeky Nilla Banana, Peanuts & Salted Caramel Vegan Chocolate Review
- Cheeky Nilla Lemon, Passion Fruit & Rose Vegan White Chocolate Review
- Where to Buy Online
I recently had the pleasure of experiencing what it is like to receive beautifully hand-painted chocolate gifts. But my box of treats from Cheeky Nilla didn't stop there.
They also sent four of their popular Gourmet Vegan Chocolate Bars to try out. Out of all the flavours - Almond, Cranberry & Safflower Dark Chocolate, Lemon, Passion Fruit & Rose White Chocolate, and Banana, Peanuts & Salted Caramel Chocolate - it was the highly unusual Broccoli, Pumpkin & Hibiscus Dark Chocolate that sounded most intriguing to me.
Like many of you, the closest broccoli gets to chocolate in my household is in a Sunday roast dinner, where broccoli is served up for as the main course and a chocolate pudding follows. But Cheeky Nilla reckons the two work together a treat, and this bar is in fact one of their bestselling flavours.
It sounds weird, right? But I love trying unusual chocolate flavour combos, so was eager to tear into these bars.
The four 80g and 90g chocolate bars all came in similar packaging. The bars are all sealed in cellulose-based biodegradable plastic film, and popped inside a recyclable printed paper sleeve. Each sleeve has a different illustration featuring a collection of animals.
The bars are all made with vegan friendly chocolate, 100% palm oil-free, and are shaped in a mould that resembles tree bark. It's a lovely, quirky touch, even if it does make portioning the bars a bit more tricky as it doesn't snap into uniform pieces. For reference, I split these 80g-90g bars into around eight bite-size nuggets.
The chocolates are home-made in a kitchen that handles tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soya and so might contain traces of these. Cheeky Nilla also seeks to use the best Fairtrade, organic, and vegan certified ingredients it can find.
But you're not really interested in how these chocolate bars arrive, are you? No, you're still wondering whether dark chocolate and a certain cruciferous vegetable are a match made in heaven.
Cheeky Nilla Broccoli, Pumpkin & Hibiscus Vegan Dark Chocolate Review
Cheeky Nilla Broccoli, Pumpkin & Hibiscus Dark Chocolate bar ingredients:
Dark chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, rice powder, cocoa mass, emulsifier (soy lecithin), vanilla), broccoli, pumpkin, hibiscus. Cocoa solids: 55% minimum.
- Cheeky Nilla Tasting Notes: A crunchy broccoli vegan dark chocolate with sweet pumpkin and sour hibiscus, coated in 55% Belgian dark chocolate.
- Sugars: Around 39%
- My thoughts: The combination doesn't sound like a marriage made in heaven, perhaps as here in Chocolatier towers, broccoli is normally part of a Sunday roast dinner. Not even the sight of big green chunks of broccoli surrounded in chocolate abated my concerns. But I am a curious fellow, and was game to give it a go. And do you know what, it's .... weirdly good. It shouldn't work, yet the crunchy green, earthy notes work well against the sweet, smokey dark chocolate. The broccoli and pumpkin both add a savoury chew to the bar, but when paired with the characteristics of the dark chocolate, it balances out well. The hibiscus is faint but comes through in the aftertaste. It's certainly a curious combination and one that has to be tried to be believed. I wonder if this counts as one of my five a day?!
Cheeky Nilla Almond, Cranberry & Safflower Vegan Dark Chocolate Review
Cheeky Nilla Almond, Cranberry & Safflower Dark Chocolate Bar ingredients:
Dark chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, rice powder, cocoa mass, emulsifier (soy lecithin), vanilla), almond, cranberry, safflower. Cocoa solids: 55% minimum.
- Cheeky Nilla Tasting Notes: A rich and smooth flaked almond vegan dark chocolate, with sweet and juicy cranberries, safflower petals and a smothering of more 55% Belgian dark chocolate.
- Sugars: Around 47%
- My thoughts: Perhaps the most vivid bar in this collection thanks to the addition of vibrant orange safflower petals, this felt like it would be a safe combo. And it was. Flaked almonds add a gentle crunch and nuttiness, while the sweet, chewy, and tangy cranberries add zip and zing. The smokey, peaty notes in the dark chocolate tries its best to ground the cranberry characteristics and introduces a welcome richness and depth to the bar without any bitterness. Overall, it's a tasty - if tame - combination. It feels like it could handle another component (perhaps orange?) to add another dimension to contrast against the sweetness.
Cheeky Nilla Banana, Peanuts & Salted Caramel Vegan Chocolate Review
Cheeky Nilla Banana, Peanuts & Salted Caramel Chocolate Bar ingredients:
Organic sugar, cocoa butter, rice powder, cocoa mass, emulsifier (sunflower lecithin), vanilla, coconut cream, banana, caramel (agave syrup, almond butter, coconut oil, Himalayan salt), peanuts.
- Cheeky Nilla Tasting Notes: Bananas and roasted nuts covered with a thin layer of vegan-friendly chocolate, plus a layer of home-made salted vegan caramel made from almonds, pink crystalline Himalayan salt, and coconut.
- Sugars: Around 35%
- My thoughts: There's a lot going on in this bar, and it seems to come through in layers. In fact, the bar is built up in layers. There's a thin-yet-dense layer of a paste-like salted caramel, that smothers skinned roasted peanuts. This creates an almost peanut butter-like foundation for the bar. Then, there's the crunch of dried sweet bananas to take this bar to another level. This adds sweetness but also a fresh flavour to the bar. These three elements around surrounded by a vegan chocolate that has the look and mouth feel of a sweet milk chocolate, but with a coconut twist. Paired with the salty caramel and sweet crunchy bananas, this is a well-balanced, indulgent and satisfying bar.
Cheeky Nilla Lemon, Passion Fruit & Rose Vegan White Chocolate Review
Cheeky Nilla Lemon, Passion Fruit & Rose White Chocolate Bar ingredients:
Organic sugar, cocoa butter, rice powder, cocoa mass, emulsifier (sunflower lecithin), vanilla, agave syrup, passion fruit, lemon peel, rose.
- Cheeky Nilla Tasting Notes: Home-made vegan-friendly white chocolate with passion fruit, lemon cubes, and a sprinkling with pink roses for a tropical-floral taste.
- Sugars: Around 29%
- My thoughts: I was excited to try this vegan white chocolate as most of the vegan chocolates I get to try are dark chocolates. It didn't disappoint. While it had a slightly moist and sticky exterior, the aroma was remarkably similar to other white chocolates, with creamy sweet, buttery notes. The inclusions aren't noticeable in the aroma but come through in the tasting. The lemon is most dominant thanks to the plentiful peel inside the bar, which also adds a little chew to the bar. The passion fruit adds a slight tang while the rose introduces a faint floral aspect to the flavour at the end. Together, these flavours work together to product a summery, almost Mediterranean flavour. As for the texture, it mirrored many white chocolate bars I've gobbled over the years. It's noticeably less sweet than many white chocolates, but I think that helps make this the perfect vehicle for these types of flavour.
Cheeky Nilla Gourmet Vegan Chocolate Bars Review
RRP: £3.40 | Cheeky Nilla | Shop now
Picking a favourite bar from this selection is difficult, as they all have interesting, unique aspects. The broccoli chocolate bar is undeniably quirky, and the almond and cranberry bar balances tartness with a smokey dark chocolate. The salted caramel banana bar is fabulously rich and indulgent, and the vegan white chocolate finely balances tasty chocolate with delicate flavours. Regardless of whether you are vegan or accidentally vegan some of the time, if you like trying new flavour combinations, you will love these Cheeky Nilla chocolate bars.
Where to Buy Online
Head to the Cheeky Nilla website here where you'll find the full range of Gourmet Vegan Chocolate Bars. Prices start from £3.40 for 80g/90g bars and from £4.50 for the larger 100g/130g bars.
Besides the four varieties above, you'll also find other delicious-sounding combinations, such as Strawberry, Mango & Cornflower White Chocolate and Mulberry, Marigold & hazelnut Vegan Chocolate.
Do you have a favourite creation by Cheeky Nilla? Let me know the best thing they make in the comments below.