“ Brand: Blackfriars / Type: Cake „
Since Holland and Barrett stopped selling Blackfriars flapjacks, I've not found anyone else who stocks them. Has anyone any ideas? I rang Blackfriars themselves - they said they didn't know...No other flapjack offers the combination of taste, size and value.
I love flapjacks, so I pleased to see a wide range of flavoured ones available in Holland & Barrett, made by the Blackfriars Bakery. My excuse for buying a couple was that some of the range are labelled as suitable for vegans, so I thought my sister would be eager to try them. My favourite was actually the original variety though which I am reviewing here.
There are plenty of flavours to choose from including fudge, chocolate, ginger and fruited. Each one comes in a slightly differently coloured plastic wrapper, which allows you to see a bit of the golden flapjack inside, just to whet your appetite. All are suitable for vegetarians, and the flavours that are vegan are also labelled as such. If you buy the latter in Holland and Barrett as I did, then an additional bright green sticker is usually attached to the packet and/or shelf to indicate it is vegan, which helps for quick browsing.
I have not tried any other Blackfriars products that I can think of, but they do make as wide range of other items including muffins. The company describe their flapjack as "delicious, mouthwatering and oaty" and they add that is made of the finest ingredients. I was mostly attracted by the substantial size of each one though. They look really chunky - each one weighs 110g. This makes them a filling snack when you are out and about, and I also can bear to part with half of one if my boyfriend and I want one to go with a morning cup of coffee. Their chewy texture makes them seem as though they take a long time to finish which gives me the impression that I am eating more than I actually am! I don't mean that they are overly chewy or tough though. Their texture is just right for a flapjack in my opinion. I don't find them dry, in fact they are slightly moist which is perfect. You can both see and strongly taste the lovely oat pieces and I don't think they need any additional flavouring. This is probably why I prefered the plain version to the flavoured ones I tried - it lets the oats take centre stage which is the point of flapjacks really. I was also impressed by the fact they don't taste overly sweet which is often a problem for me with shop bought flapjacks. I should also add that these smell just as nice and oaty as they taste, like home made although nothing can quite beat the just out of the oven smell!
It is no surprise to me that these treats are not low in fat. Being vegan friendly, they are obviously not made of butter, but they do contain a non hydrogenated vegetable margarine as the second largest ingredient behind oats. This means that they contain 21g of fat per 100g - and the bar weighs slightly more than that. I incorporate cakes and bakes into my diet when I am eating low fat food for the rest of the day, so I don't mind eating these every so often as a treat.
I have already bought these flapjacks again, and while I have tried other varieties as I mentioned above, to me the original is the best. I thought the fruit flavour didn't have much fruit in and was much more crumbly than this one. And the fudge covered is a bit too sweet for me. I think they are well worth trying, if you want a different snack, and of course they are especially handy if you are a vegan. I paid 85p for each of mine, in Holland and Barrett, but I have since seen them for slightly less in an independent healthfood shop. I think they are worth the price, especially considering the flavourless versions I have paid twice as much for in cafes and coffee shops.
Blackfriars original flapjack can be found for around 50 - 80p, which is quite a fair price for such a delightful treat. You might think that price range is pretty steep for a bunch of oats blended together by butter but you're wrong. It's so much more than that.
The flapjack is positively bursting with flavour, and tastes as if it's just been cooked. The first thing you'll notice is the weight. It's condensed a lot and relatively heavy for a flapjack. When you take it out of the wrapper it holds its form very well and doesn't crumble at all. This gives the impression that it's going to be some chewy, tough rubbish. However, this is not the case - when you bite in, it effortlessly crumbles and serenades your mouth with oat-so buttery goodness.
These really are ideal, and would certainly recommend them. One thing to note, however, is that the fat content is quite high making these things particularly unhealthy. I'm sure you'll get away with just having one though, trust me - you won't forget it!
I bought my Original Blackfriars Flapjack in Holland & Barrett for 69p although the price of them does vary between different health food shops, I've seen them for as low as 50p and as high as £1 before!
Blackfriars make over different 20 flavours of flapjack as well as cookies, muffins and tray bakes. For more information about their other products, visit www.blackfriarsbakery.co.uk
Even though they're quite expensive, I still tend to buy them while I'm out and about as they're filling and it's a snack I know for sure I'll be able to eat and enjoy.
The original variety is suitable for vegetarians and vegans but they're produced in an environment that uses nuts so beware if you have a high nut allergy.
The flapjack is 110g and comes wrapped in plastic packaging that allows you to see the actual product you're buying (I try to make sure I'm buying one that didn't get too squished in transit!).
It has a strong oaty smell and the typical golden-brown flapjack colour which makes it look really appetising. Being made from natural ingredients means you might occasionally find a little darker fleck of oat but it doesn't taste any different.
When you bite into the flapjack it crumbles into your mouth (and your lap if you're not careful!) and it has the perfect combination of crumbliness and chewiness. It's not bland like some other vegan flapjacks but has the right hint of sweetness so it's not sickly but it's also not more-ish. One flapjack is just enough to curb your hunger pangs until your next meal but I think one would also make a nice occasionally 'dessert' to go in your packed lunch.
Overall I think this is a near-perfect flapjack because of how great it tastes! However, it only gets four stars because of the cost, because it crumbles too much (I don't want to waste any of it on the floor!) and because it's not the healthiest snack!
Oats, non hydrogenated vegetable margarine (vegetable oils and fats, water, salt, emulsifier E475, nature identical flavourings), partially inverted refiner's syrup, sugar.