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As I can only review the product I don't know too much about the Plamil brand or company - or their mission statement/ethics in terms of how they source their ingredients or indeed how they treat their workers, but I'm sure the information will be out there for those looking for it.
For me, as a person who chooses a lifestyle which is free from dairy products, it is important that I enjoy that lifestyle. And part and parcel of my chosen lifestyle is definitely my chocoholic tendencies. I'm trying to give up chocolate for the good of my health and my waistline...but it's proving difficult!
However, this chocolate isn't one of my tempters, I must say. For one, it is far too expensive, even for an "alternative" to chocolate option. At around £1.75 a bar (a small bar at that) I suppose it's good if you do want to trim your waistline as it's got less fat than the dairy options from Cadburys.
I found this flavour of chocolate to be quite powdery upon first tasting, but eventually the old taste buds get used to it.
It comes wrapped the way chocolate is described in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which I love as chocolates these days seem to be wrapped in plastic wrappers. This one is wrapped in gold foil and has a paper wrapper on the outside. The bar itself is made up of little squares of the chocolate. It does melt in the mouth but there is a difference between this chocolate and it's competitor - this one takes a little longer to dissolve in the mouth.
It is approved by both the Vegan and Vegetarian Society, which is good news if you're following these lifestyles or diets as the Vegan Society has a strict code about branding products.
So, in summary, I would love to see this in my stocking this Christmas but I won't be rushing out to the shops to buy it myself as it's just too expensive to buy on a regular basis.
Plamil pride themselves on making high quality free from food. They control every aspect of production to ensure consumers can be confident they're getting a truely free from product, and were rated as the top ethical brand of 2009. All products are free from dairy, gluten, nuts, genetically modified ingredients and all animal products. Unlike a lot of products not containing these though, you'll be pleased to see an absence of "may contain" on the back- they guarentee these are properly free from. They do often contain soya however so are not suitable for anyone with a soya allergy or intolerance.
This particular bar is an alternative to milk chocolate. This is quite unusual as normally those of us who can't/don't eat dairy are stuck with dark chocolate. It bills itself as containing extra soya to give the taste of dairy milk chocolate without the dairy milk.
The chocolate looks very similar to a normal bar of milk chocolate, although is perhaps less shiny. The colour is a uniform mid brown with a smooth if dull finish. It smells like milk chocolate with a touch of soy but not enough to be offputting.
The texture is very good. It has a satisfying bite to it, and once in your mouth, a smooth creamy texture very much what I remember Galaxy chocolate having. The taste is creamy, rich and sweet. It's very chocolately but there is a soy aftertaste. I feel the aftertaste isn't a problem and doesn't stop me enjoying this chocolate. I have to mention it though as not everyone likes the flavour, and this probably wouldn't be accepted as milk chocolate by someone who regularly eats it. It is however an excellent substitute for people like me who can't have the real thing.
For anyone wondering, this does melt properly and I've successfully used it in baking as a substitute for regular chocolate.
The bars are 100g and cost £1.67 online (plamilfoods.co.uk) or a little more in stores. I've found these in Holland and Barrett and a number of other specialist food stores. Nutrition wise, it's 566 calories and 41.6g of fat per 100g and it does contain a lot of saturates so it's no better for you than normal chocolate.