Carrots. A staple of a roast dinner. The perfect vegetable for use in a cake. The unlikely star of a particular supermarket's Christmas adverts.
In terms of chocolate, I've seen it used with great effect in Hotel Chocolat's Carrot Cake chocolate bonbon. There, they have managed to create a chocolate that tastes like you're biting into a slice of the real deal.
Now, Luke Evans Bakery has created another way to fuse carrot and chocolate together, via everybody's favourite medium - biscuits. Rootles is a new range of snack packs, with carrot biscuit sticks coated in either milk or dark chocolate.
Helen Yates, who co-runs the Derbyshire bakery with her husband, David, developed the quirky new product during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said, "consumers are looking for healthier snacks, particularly in the impulse snacking sector, but they don’t expect to compromise on taste or texture and still want to treat themselves."
The team at Rootles kindly sent me over some snack packs to try, so with a slight degree of hesitation, I peeled back the film wrapper and tucked in.
Colourful blue and red film sleeves clad the outside of the 27g milk chocolate and dark chocolate Rootles snack packs. The eye-catching film sleeves have a matt feel to them and wrap around a plastic tray inside.
The carrot-shaped Rootles logo dominates the packaging, with carrot motifs decorating the background in blue for milk chocolate and red for dark chocolate.
A graphic shows a Rootles bar snapped in half, while text describes the contents ("3 crunchy carrot biscuits").
The packaging screams that each biscuit contains just 120kcals and is baked with over 35% root vegetables. While carrot is the star of the show here, the recipe also contains sweet potato, as you'll see on the reverse.
Rootles Vegetable Biscuit with Milk Chocolate ingredients:
Wheat flour (43%), milk chocolate (25%) (sugar, cocoa butter, skimmed milk powder, cocoa mass, cocoa powder, emulsifier (sunflower lecithin)), carrot puree (27%) (carrot, lemon juice), butter, sugar, sweet potato powder (7%), carrot powder (2%), salt, sodium bicarbonate.
Rootles Vegetable Biscuit with Dark Chocolate ingredients:
Wheat flour (43%), dark chocolate (25%) (sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, cocoa powder, emulsifier (sunflower lecithin)), carrot puree (27%) (carrot puree, lemon juice), butter, sugar, sweet potato powder (7%), carrot powder (2%), salt, sodium bicarbonate.
Both products contain gluten and milk products, and may contain traces of almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, sesame and soy.
Despite the different chocolate finishes, both 27g packs contain 120kcals. Both deliver 6% fibre and 6% protein, and sugar levels come in at 22% for the milk chocolate variety, and 21% for the dark chocolate edition.
This quirky new snack appears to be geared towards those that love a cheeky treat but are watching their calorie intake. Luke Evans Bakery tells me "Rootles are high in fibre and lower in calories than many chocolate snacks because the biscuits are naturally sweetened with nutritious root veggies."
It's also aimed at children, especially those with a sweet tooth. The bakery received funding support from Mission Ventures and the Good Food Fund, which identified Rootles as a "healthy snack to help fight childhood obesity".
Curiously, these snacks are manufactured in North Macedonia.
Rootles Crunchy Carrot Chocolate Biscuit Reviews
Peeling back the film reveals a textured clear plastic tray, with three biscuit sticks resting inside. In an age when we're becoming more aware of where our food comes from and what it is packaged in, the use of a film sleeve and a plastic tray is disappointing to see.
UPDATE: I've been advised by Luke Evans Bakery that recyclable cardboard insert packaging will replace the plastic tray in the next batch which should be available in the next few weeks, so that's great news!
The aroma of the milk chocolate version is far more forthcoming than its counterpart. Here, there's plenty of creaminess and sweetness in the aroma, blended with a slight earthiness. I don't detect carrot, but I do pick up buttery notes. Richer, bitter notes emanate from the dark chocolate variety, which has a more refined aroma.
Each Rootle biscuit is around 10cm (4 inches) in length and around 1cm (half an inch) in diameter. Each stick weighs in at around 9 grams. The chocolate coating has a criss-crossed base and a matt, rippled finish on top.
Both biscuit varieties have a nice snap as you'd expect from a crunchy biscuit.
Texturally, the biscuits are crunchy, with that crispiness remaining until the very end. In terms of flavour, the buttery biscuits are distinctive, with a curious sweet-yet-earthy flavour that swirls around. I know, having read the ingredients, that it's a mix of carrot and sweet potato, but I don't taste those individual components. It's savoury in nature, but it doesn't scream "root vegetables."
The dark chocolate coating enhances the savoury notes through adding a touch of bitterness to the flavour. It adds a touch of creaminess but not much in the way of flavour nor sweetness. While it doesn't add much, it doesn't detract either. If anything, it perhaps makes the snack feel a little more indulgent.
The milk chocolate, on the other hand, does a great job at adding creaminess and sweetness to the biscuits in the blue pack. I prefer these moreish sticks over the dark chocolate variety, as they feel more treat-like.
Where the dark chocolate accentuates the earthy notes in the overall flavour, the sweet milk chocolate adds playfulness to the mix. The dark chocolate variety makes you feel like you're eating a healthy snack. The milk chocolate edition feels much more fun, and is definitely easier to munch through. Kids and those with a sweet tooth will undoubtedly prefer the milk chocolate version.
Rootles Mixed Box (Dark and Milk Chocolate) Review
RRP: £12.00 | Rootles | Shop now
An unconventional biscuit made using carrot and sweet potato is perhaps an unlikely candidate for a low-calorie chocolate snack, but the result is curiously moreish, especially the milk chocolate version. The crunchy vegetable-based biscuits have a distinctive flavour and feel more indulgent thanks to a coating of milk or dark chocolate. I'd prefer to see less packaging (and more eco-friendly packaging), but I like the format of the portion-controlled snack pack.
Where to Buy Online
You can buy cases of 16 Rootles snack packs direct on their website here (£12). You can buy cases of milk chocolate Rootles, dark chocolate Rootles, or a mixed case which contains eight of each variety.
The snacks are also available in local shops throughout Derbyshire. The RRP is £1.20 per 27g pack.
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Do root vegetables have a place in the biscuit aisle? Let me know in a comment below.