Once upon a time, a brownie that was designed for Valentine’s Day, which I bought before Valentine’s Day and ate at about the same time, would not have taken until late March to write about. That time is not this time.
I’ve ranted about veganism before (in a good way!) but generally, though I’m not a vegan, I’m entirely sympathetic/in favour of those who are, and also totally in favour of eating vegan food, expanding vegan options, popularising veganism as an idea, etc, etc. You don’t have to be a vegan to be in favour of all of these things too. Diversity is good! Everyone should be catered for (except fascists).
So I’m pretty interested in Wicked Kitchen, which is Tesco’s plant-based range. I’ve had a bunch of their products and broadly liked them overall, especially some of the wraps. This was the first time getting a brownie and to be honest that came about from shopping in my nearby Tesco (oh yeah, I’ve moved back to South London, so there’s a whole new set of supermarkets and also everything else) and seeing this thing sat in the ‘Reduced’ section and thinking “Oh yeah, I have a blog for these things, don’t I? I should really pick something like this up.”
It didn’t even fully occur to me that this was a Valentine’s Day brownie until I got it out of the box and saw it was heart-shaped. At which point I wised up on why it said “Love This Brownie” on the box. I took a look at the calories per serving, winced a bit, looked at how many servings were in the whole thing, winced again (I’ve been trying to diet, you see), stuck the whole thing in the microwave anyway and decided not to worry about it. Because you’ve gotta live sometimes, right?
While it was heating up (a choice I made, in all honesty, to give this brownie the best shot: it didn’t look like it was going to be very satisfying texture-wise if I ate it cold) I took a look at the box and was impressed at what had gone into it. It stated ‘ground almonds’ as a key ingredient, presumably in the brownie itself because there wasn’t any real sign of them elsewhere. Made me think of the vegan Galaxy chocolate bars I’d tried, which were also pretty good, if still a little distinct from chocolate. I think they have hazelnut powder as a base ingredient? No, I can’t be bothered to look it up now, I’m busy writing a blog post.
Anyway, this brownie came out of the microwave looking slightly melty, but still maintaining its shiny pink/red heart appearance, and actually smelled pretty good at this point. This is why I accidentally ate a big slice of it (pictured) before I remembered to take a photo. I did, however, remember to write some notes about it, in order to make some sort of scoring!
Taste: Yeah, pretty good. Probably another brownie benefiting from vegan restrictions basically requiring it to be filled with only good stuff. The ganache was doing a lot of the heavy lifting, because I could tell in one or two bites that the actual brownie base (which the ganache was entirely covering) wasn’t particularly tasty. 7/10
Texture: This wasn’t great. It was fine, and again, the quantity of thick rich ganache helped improve it as a whole, but it was definitely helped by my decision to microwave it. 6/10
Presentation: I don’t want to get a reputation for being soft on the looks, but I do also really like the whole red ganache, heart shape, etc etc. 5/5
Value: £3.50, which is… I dunno, not mad, but feels pricey for a brownie that’s just ‘eh, pretty okay’ in terms of texture and taste? It’s not nearly as good as, say, the brownie bites I could get a tub of for less than this (for example), and as I had to microwave it I could also compare it to any brownie pudding which I would also prefer. So… nothing great. 5/10
Fudge Factor: Hmmmm… I feel like everything I particularly liked about the brownie has already been captured in the scoring, so… no extras. 0/5
Love This Score: 23
Should I Buy And Eat This Brownie?
Well… I think this is the first vegan supermarket brownie that I’ve reviewed, so it has that going for it. And I was happy enough finishing it. I probably wouldn’t buy it again, but I leave it to the reader to decide if they want to eat this or not. Maybe it’s more enjoyable if you buy it and split it with a romantic partner? Alas, I am alone.
So how about that global pandemic huh?
Honestly it’s really fascinating and somewhat scary times for me. At the point of writing this, the UK’s finally gone to an official lockdown, with people only being allowed out of their homes for certain ‘essential’ activities. Thankfully exercise is still one of those so I’ve been getting in some runs and bike rides. Possibly more than I would have otherwise. I’ve been working from home for about a week at this point anyway, and it’s not been… terrible so far? There’s obviously been some panic buying in London at least but it’s not like I’ve ever been at risk of not being able to get food or anything. At worst, it’s been hard to find certain ingredients. I went out to Asda for some basics last night and it was pretty well re-stocked even, only really seeming to be short on pasta and toilet paper (and isn’t it weird how we’ve sort of accepted that those are apparently the most important goods in this crisis). You can still get takeaway food from all sorts of places! Should we really be worrying?
But then I’m thinking about my surviving grandparents, who… sure, they’re old, and bluntly speaking they probably don’t have that many years left in this world, but I still don’t want them to die of what should be entirely avoidable pneumonia. Or my friends with diabetes, or asthma, or that one friend who’s going through chemo and who’s not allowed to contact the outside world for twelve weeks because… well, it’ll probably kill her. I’m looking at Italy and Spain, and I’m worried that the UK is on that trajectory and we’ve waited too long to break it… but then I’m looking across the Atlantic Ocean, at Brazil and the USA, and I’m thinking… Jesus Christ, it could be worse, my life could be in the hands of you morons…
Stay safe out there, everyone. Stay home, wash your hands, eat well, don’t socialise. We’re smart enough to beat this, if we just do the right thing.