Craving great vegan chocolate? Today I finally found and taste tested the new Cadbury Plant Bars that have just been released in Canada. Having grown up in the UK and being obsessed with Dairy Milk from an early age, I have high expectations for these. Read on for my Cadbury vegan plant bar chocolate review which includes a few tests that I ran on this chocolate.
Obsession with Dairy Milk
Cadbury Dairy Milk was always a huge part of my life pre-dairy allergy, especially at Christmas and Easter with an abundance of Easter eggs and Christmas advent calendars. I used to love visiting Cadbury World every year in Birmingham. And their chocolate (which actually tastes different in North America!) is such an iconic part of British culture that has been satisfying chocolate lovers for almost 180 years! You can find out more about Cadbury chocolate here.
When I had to give up dairy in early 2019, I quickly realised how hard it was to find a chocolate bar that would come up to that level of taste expectation. Despite trying lots of different brands of vegan chocolate over the last few years, I hadn’t found anything that really satisfied that nice creamy chocolate craving.
When I heard from friends in the UK that Cadbury was creating plant based bars, I was really excited. It’s taken a while for them to come out in Canada – just under a year! But they are finally here and we managed to find these at our local Walmart store. They have also been spotted in Giant Tiger stores and should be available in other large grocery retailers soon.
We paid $4.27 Canadian for each bar which works out to about $3.14 US and around £2.70 in UK sterling pounds. Now that may seem like quite a lot for a chocolate bar if you’re in the UK. But in Canada, that’s how much a regular bar of Cadbury chocolate costs. I was actually really impressed that Walmart isn’t charging more for them considering that they’re vegan and other brands seem to charge a premium for their vegan bars. Incidentally, it’s a 90-gram bar of chocolate, which is supposed to be enough for just over 2 servings. More on that later.
Cadbury Plant Bars
There are currently two different bars available in Canada. The plain bar, Chocolately Smooth, is supposed to be the closest to Dairy Milk. And there is also a Salted Caramel bar. Both bars are certified vegan and there is also a warning on them that says the bar ‘may contain milk and other allergens’. I’m assuming means that they are made in a facility that does have a risk of cross-contamination. Now of course if you’re okay with that kind of risk then this chocolate should be okay for you.
What is noteworthy is that the bars are made with an almond base. So if you can’t tolerate almonds, you’re unfortunately not going to be able to eat this chocolate. Thankfully almonds are not one of my many food allergies so I did a little happy dance when we read the ingredients! If you want to jump ahead to my video review, click here.
Chocolatey Smooth Bar
When you open the chocolate bar, each section has a leaf design on it which is a nice touch. On first impression when holding the bar it doesn’t seem to melt that easily in my hand, it’s nice and firm and has a nice colour to it. Exactly what you would expect for ‘milk’ chocolate. The chocolate itself has a nice snap to it as well when you break it apart. I do love that Cadbury bars are always portioned out so you can easily break them up to share as well. There are 24 pieces in total for each bar.
Let’s take a look at the ingredients, as that’s always an important consideration for allergy-conscious eaters. The Chocolatey Smooth plant bar contains sugars (sugar and dried rice syrup), cocoa butter, almond paste, unsweetened chocolate, soy lecithin and natural flavour. It also has an allergy warning that includes almond and soy. There’s also a ‘may contain’ cross-contamination warning for milk, sesame seed, hazelnut, wheat, oats and barley.
Now nutrition is not generally something I look at when I’m buying chocolate because it’s more of a treat but let’s take a look at it anyway. The label states that a serving is about 11 pieces, although I think we’d probably demolish this in one go to be quite honest with you. So with 41 grams per serving, this 90 gram bar yields just over two servings. The calories per serving come in at 230 so if you do the math, that’s just over 500 calories for the entire bar. Not too shabby!
Salted Caramel Bar
When you open up the Salted Caramel, you can see straight away that there’s a little bit of texture in the chocolate. On the front of the packet, it shows that there are little pieces of caramel in there which should add a nice crunch. And when you break it apart, you can see them peeking through as well. The chocolate snaps very well and is also firm and a lovely ‘typical’ chocolate colour. like the previous bar.
Let’s take a look at the Salted Caramel ingredients. With the addition of the caramel, the ingredients are slightly different with 3 additional items. This bar contains sugars (sugar, dried rice syrup and the addition of glucose syrup from wheat), cocoa butter, almond paste, unsweetened chocolate, salt, vegetable oil, soy lecithin and natural flavour.
This bar contains wheat as an extra allergen so take note if you are gluten free. And interestingly the calories are slightly less coming in at 220 per serving and 482 per bar.
Let’s Test the Chocolate
I wanted to run 3 different tests on the chocolate to compare it to others that I’ve tried. Grating the chocolate, melting the chocolate, and tasting the chocolate (the most important!).
Grating the Chocolate
I wanted to test some of the chocolate to see what it grates like because I’m actually really interested in seeing if this would be a good option to use in my baking. My trusty microplane comes in handy for this and I used it on the side of the bar to grate a small amount of chocolate.
I have found that other brands of plant-based chocolate can actually be quite powdery when grating them. This particular bar held up nicely and we were able to make a really nice pile of chocolate shavings. I could definitely see myself adding this to whipped cream (vegan) on a hot chocolate.
The Microwave Test
As I often bake with chocolate and like to make sauces and ganache, I also wanted to see how this chocolate holds up when you melt it in the microwave. I added six pieces to a small ramekin and heated them for 45 seconds.
It actually melted really nicely and has a beautiful shine to it. One thing I’ve noticed with other vegan chocolate is that it often looks grainy. Sometimes they are also oily when you melt them, that’s if it will even melt properly at all! There is a nice run to this when you drizzle it off the spoon. I think it would be perfect on ice cream, on donuts as a glaze and maybe on some buttercream on top of cupcakes. I’d go as far as to say that it does look just like regular melted chocolate. I’m seriously impressed!
The Taste Test
Let’s finally taste the chocolate and see how it compares to the chocolate that I remember from the UK.
Starting with the Chocolately Smooth, the first thing that I noticed is that you can tell that it’s got an almond base right away. It definitely has a distinct almond flavour and is quite creamy as well. I wouldn’t say that it really hits the mark comparing it to Dairy Milk. But quite honestly if you can’t eat dairy chocolate, it is going to be hard to find something that matches that taste perfectly. There’s no offensive aftertaste other than it being a bit more almondy than I would like. Overall, I would give it seven out of ten.
For the Salted Caramel, I had high hopes for this one as I always loved Cadbury Caramel bars. Right away, you can tell that this one is different. It does have a nice texture with little bits of crunch in there from the salted caramel. I also noted that you couldn’t tell that it was almond based because the caramel flavour is more overpowering but not to the point that it spoils the overall flavour. This one I scored eight out of ten and it was definitely my favourite of the two bars.
Let’s have a recap of my Cadbury Vegan Plant Bar Chocolate Review. I would definitely buy both of them again and I think it’s really exciting that Cadbury is finally on board with making plant-based chocolate. I wonder if they’ll actually create plant-based Easter eggs and if they’ll do Vegan Advent calendars (crossing my fingers hard for this one!). We’ll have to wait and see what happens in the UK because they release all of their new products there first, and then it takes time for them to enter the North American market.
I think the price point is really good as well as vegan chocolate is not cheap in Canada and you can pay upwards of around seven or eight dollars for a bar. So getting a whole bar of Cadbury vegan chocolate for just over four dollars really doesn’t seem that bad. And I love that it is now available in regular grocery stores, not just specialist ones.
I hope you found this review interesting. Watch out for some recipes in the next little while featuring these chocolate bars. I definitely can’t wait to bake with them. Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried this chocolate yet and also look out for more new allergy food product tests coming soon. There’s definitely been an influx in the Canadian market recently and I can’t wait to share them with you.
Want to see more about this chocolate? Here’s my full vlog review of both chocolate bars as well as my taste test.
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