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Finding gluten free food is tricky enough but finding gluten free food that doesn't resemble cardboard in every way is even tougher. Mrs Crimble's Chocolate Macaroons are by far one of the best substitutes I have found.
Let's start with the texture. Normally omitting gluten means the consistency suffers but not the case with these macaroons. When you bite into them they hold their shape, they don't crumble or implode they act like a 'normal' biscuit would. As a result they feel like proper food in your mouth. No dry, powdery mess that sucks all moisture from your mouth. Instead you get the crunch and gentle crumble you expect in a biscuit.
Next, the taste. By having coconut as the foremost ingredient and the gluten free coating as a secondary element they don't compromise on taste. You focus on the coconut rather than, as with most gluten free foods, trying to put your finger on exactly what is different in flavour due to the gluten free flour. Also the chocolate to coconut ratio is spot on. It is also darker chocolate than milk chocolate which I think compliments the coconut well because it doesn't become too sweet.
Other elements, they come in a cardboard tray with plastic film over meaning the cardboard packaging can be recycled. Also the nutritional information is clear and easy to understand which is great for checking for any other allergens. They are also widely available in supermarkets making them ideal to pick up on the move if you are struggling to find anything GF to eat or if you have to cater for a gluten free visitor at short notice. Overall I give these Chocolate Macaroons 5/5 because they are a rare thing. If you presented them in a blind taste test you wouldn't be able to tell they were gluten free.
As a Bzz Agent, I have the chance to try lots of new products for free, or at a reduced price, in return for sharing my opinions with others. One of my recent campaigns has been for the 'Free From' range in Tesco, exploring a range of gluten free products. I've enjoyed this campaign, despite not having any dietary restrictions, particularly having the opportunity to discover new brands such as the rather traditional sounding 'Mrs Crimble'. I spotted quite a range of Mrs Crimble goodies in my local Tesco store but the 'extra large chocolate macaroons' caught my eye and found their way home with me.
These macaroons are the traditional coconut based baked variety, rather than the Americanised meringue style version. They come simply packaged in a cardboard base with plastic wrapping with a surprisingly long shelf life. (The pack I purchased at the weekend had a best before date of November 2013.)
(Un)fortunately, nobody else in my household likes the taste of coconut, which is one of the main ingredients of these delicious macaroons (second only to sugar, making these quite a sweet and calorific treat). That has meant that the task of tasting, enjoying and reviewing all six of these tasty treats has fallen on my shoulders.
The six macaroons have a pleasant homemade appearance with a chocolate covered base and an attractive addition of chocolate piping over the top. I was really surprised by the soft texture of the macaroons, I was expecting them to be quite hard and crumbly like thick biscuits as they appear to be pretty dry. They are actually more like the texture of a really moist cake and the combination of sweet chewy coconut and a well-proportioned chocolate coating gave these a taste almost identical to Bounty bars! I personally love Bounty bars and would recommend these macaroons to any other Bounty fans.
Although they don't look all that large, I found a single macaroon surprisingly filling and satisfying and have managed to refrain from eating the whole packet in one sitting. They are quite sweet and I would suspect that eating more than one at a time would be a little overwhelming. (Okay, I have managed to eat two in a row without any ill effects.) They went particularly nicely with a hot cup of tea this morning and I didn't have any problems with crumbs!
I would recommend this as a tasty sweet treat for anybody, whether they have to avoid gluten or not. Unlike some of the other Free From products, I felt these were quite reasonably priced too, at £1.15 for a packet of six, so not necessarily just a niche or a luxury product.
I joined BzzAgent a few years ago. They are a great website that allows you to try products for free or at special offer. In exchange you are required to talk about the product to friends and family, hand out money off coupons and write reviews. The latest campaign on BzzAgent was to celebrate Tesco's 'Free From' range. This is a range which makes things like dairy free and gluten free items. I was already familiar with this range since last year I started to cut out dairy from my diet for ethical reasons and began to rely on the Free From range more often. BzzAgent sent a lot of coupons for items in the Tesco Free From range for me to try and I was looking forward to sampling the items. However, so far I've only been able to find these Mrs Crimbles Macaroons. Although Tesco have a great range of products in this range they don't always stock every item at every store. It's a little disappointing that items in the Free From range are so difficult to find considering that some of the products are really creative and would have a wide appeal.
Anyway, when I joined the BzzAgent campaign I first heard about Mrs Crimbles. I honestly can't say the brand name was at all familiar to me but I learned that they are actually Britain's best selling macaroons. I enjoy macaroons but I wouldn't necessarily say they are my favourite treat. I also don't regularly buy gluten free products so I wasn't sure what to expect with these.
The macaroons come in a pack of six and are labelled as 'large', which I'd totally agree with (they are about 6 cm in diameter and about 2cm deep). The packaging is quite cute with a little cardboard tray holding the macaroons in place. This is covered with a cellophane wrapper which can be opened at one end so that the tray can slide in and out of the outer wrapper. Product information is written on the bottom of the packet. There is a small bit of detail about the brand who say they are "devoted to creating...deliciously gluten free" products.
These macaroons are gluten and wheat free. Full ingredients are listed and there is 27% coconut ingredient after the highest quantity ingredient which is sugar. The chocolate formula can only be referred to as "chocolate flavour coating" since it is comprised of a cocoa powder blend. Nutritional information is also provided on the packet. One macaroon provides 180 calories and 8.7g of fat.
The macaroons smell gorgeous as you take them out the packet. They have a freshly baked kind of aroma which is mouth watering. They look home baked too as they have a golden top. The chocolate coating is dribbled in lines across the top and also completely covers the base of the macaroon.
The macaroons are very moist, melt in the mouth type treats. The chocolate coating is high quality and has a rich, sweet and bitter combo of cocoa flavouring. The soft macaroon centre is sweet and has that distinctive sweet fruity coconut flavour combined with hints of sponge cake. The overall flavours are absolutely lovely and the texture of the macaroon is beautiful. I'm not overly keen on the sometimes crunchy texture of coconut but the coconut in these macaroons feels slightly crisp but is mostly chewy.
I don't need to eat gluten free products but I'm really pleased to have discovered these macaroons as they are so delicious! They are priced at £1.15 at Tesco which is perhaps a little more than you might pay for cake products but I feel these are worth it. I would recommend them to anyone with a food intolerance or allergy or just to those who like very special treats!
As a Bzzagent I was lucky enough recently to be selected to take part in the 'Free From' food campaign which has given me money off vouchers to try various goodies in Tesco.
Armed with my money off vouchers off I went and was very disappointed that most of the Free From money off vouchers I had were pretty much void because they didn't stock the items however I had money off these macaroons and did manage to find those thankfully!
Recently I had an allergy test. As many of you may know I suffer with M.E, Hypothyroidism and an Eating Disorder. Basically these illnesses whack me out, make me tired and unable to focus for very long and so on (a reason why when I'm alert I write reviews then go quiet suddenly lol) and I've always accepted the way my illnesses make me feel and simply tried to get on with things. However recently I have had a change of Doctor and have got me a good one and I have been allergy tested under his supervision. It turns out I'm pretty much intolerant to everything I eat! You name it my body don't like it, its so bad though that I can't possibly avoid everything without giving up eating and drinking completely so I am simply trying to avoid what I can, as I can.
Gluten is something that showed up that my body isn't very happy with at all and it can be found in so many food stuffs....even cosmetics and hair products of all things and it is basically a protein.
My main source of getting Gluten though is in my bread. My Mum has called me a bread bin for years...I love the stuff! Like I say though it can be found in so many foods and basically its the agent used to make things chewy.....apparently. Because I can eat a loaf in day (I really can!) this is what I decided to try to cut out first but of course it isn't just bread and batches that need avoiding like the plague by me but pasta, lots of sauces and condiments, cereals, processed meats, some alcohol and of course cakes and biscuits. I initially thought I just had to stop with bread and bread like products! Luckily though lots of stores do sell gluten free products so they are readily available however do be prepared to pay quite a lot more for gluten free and for the choice not be as large!
Now I am not particularly a cake or biscuit fan but when I see I haven't got a lot of choice as to that sort of stuff anymore I then crave it so when I got my vouchers and heard of these I really, really couldn't wait to get my mitts on them and in Tesco the day I went I got hold of a pack of them and as soon as I got home....well my pack of 6 soon went in my belly....they are absolutely stunningly gorgeous and they are my new addiction!
These come in a beigy coloured light cardboard tray with an easy to pull off see-through clear plastic that goes over that and then on the side of the 'tray' we are clearly told that they are indeed Mrs Crimbles 'Deliciously Gluten Free' 6 Large Choc Macaroons 'Lets Bake Love' and then other information stated on the bottom of the packaging includes being told a bit about the product the ingredients and allergy advise is clearly given, there is a full nutritional chart stated and contact details for the manufacturer are clearly listed. Nice enough and not too much packaging this is however I can't tell if they are suitable for Vegetarians or Vegans I'm afraid but as this information is not given I assume they are not.
The only issue I have with these is that they are called large. They are not they are just over a small mouthful! OK grumble over and done with from a greedy pig...however I am delighted to have found these. I have a debate in myself are these biscuits or are they cakes but it isn't something that I'm going to dwell on......they're simply amazing!
What you get is a hard to the touch, sweet smelling round of baked looking cake really. The top is drizzled with a line of milk chocolate that is glossy and looks tempting and the base of the cake is thickly coated in the same chocolate. They look nice and the roughish texture gives sort of a home baked look appearance to them but they are not one bit messy to hold or tuck into!
From first bite I fell in love and this is from someone who isn't really a coconut fan! The chocolate goes crunch and tastes sweet but not too much so and then becomes creamy and then you meet the hardened outer layer of the macaroon and you get the flavour of the desiccated coconut which gives a slight gritty texture then your met by the spongy inside which is soft and spongy and very, very moist! The flavours marry so well together, its all rich in flavour and although these are quite small my initial disappointment with them being so small was overcome because of the sweetness, although naturally sweet they are very sweet to me though not heavy.
I'm sure you can tell by now that I adore these! I just think that although they are gluten free the flavour is still very much there and these are the tastiest macaroons I have ever had the pleasure of tasting....just watch those calories though as just one of them has 180 of them per just one small macaroon and a whopping 8g of saturated fat.....again in just one of them so treat them like a treat and don't do as I do and make yourself feel sick on all 6 in one go!
Wonderful and not a bad price for a gluten free product at only £1.15 a pack which I think is great for something so tasty and high quality, these can be bought in Tesco at the moment as part of buy two get one free deal....unless you have the BzzAgent vouchers of course like me!
Available from all good supermarkets etc.
This review is also posted on Bzzagent and on Ciao under this same username.
Mrs Crimble's Choc Macaroons come in pleasant enough packaging with 6 macaroons lined up in a small pastel-coloured cardboard tray, which is wrapped in a sealed plastic packet to retain freshness. The Mrs Crimble's branding is clear and displayed within a heart motif on each edge of the box and a tag-line of "...let's bake love" is written on each of the longer sides. The packaging informs the consumer that the packet contains 6 large choc macaroons inside, although of course these are clearly visible through the clear packaging.
What is a Choc Macaroon?
So what is a choc macaroon you may ask? Well these are not the same as the currently fashionable macaroons which are pastel coloured and filled with a creme filling, so you shouldn't expect that. Instead these are coconut macaroons, which have been half coated in a chocolate flavoured coating so that the base is entirely covered and each macaroon has 4 or 5 fairly thick bands of chocolate piped across them too, which makes them look a bit more "finished". The top of each macaroon is a lightly toasted brown colour which contrasts nicely with the chocolate band. Whilst they are described as being "large", I probably would not describe them in the same way - they are actually the size of a standard biscuit in width, but maybe there is a range of average size macaroons somewhere that I have not come across!
The Taste Test:
On biting into the macaroon your teeth sink through a fairly dense mixture of sugar, coconut and egg white. The macaroons are chewy and vaguely meringue like too - a nice combination actually. As I expected these are very coconuty and the taste is pleasant although if you don't like coconut, you won't like these! Interestingly these don't actually state on the outside edge of the box that these are made of coconut so my Husband got quite an unpleasant surprise (he isn't a coconut fan, especially in this sort of quantity!). I am surprised that it is only mentioned on the ingredients list which is situated on the underneath of the box and not in the name seeing as I would describe these as being coconut macaroons. Whilst the chocolate is a nice added touch, it doesn't really add that much flavour and is overwhelmed by the strong coconut flavour - perhaps if chocolate was actually chocolate and not chocolate flavoured coating this may have come through a little more...
Ingredients and Allergy Information:
As expected sugar features highly in the list of ingredients (1st and 3rd in the form of glucose syrup) with coconut being the 2nd ingredient on the list. The ingredients list in full is:
Sugar, coconut (27%), glucose syrup, egg white, dextrose, potato starch, vegetable oil, fat, reduced cocoa powder (2%), stabiliser, sorbitan, tristearate, emulsifier: soya lecithin
To be honest it doesn't sound like the healthiest or most natural of products and this results in a calorie value of 180 kcals per macaroon with each one containing 8.7g of fat (70g being the current daily guideline amount for women).
However, one major plus point that these have over other cakes and biscuits is that they are both gluten and wheat-free, so a great product for those who are unable to eat gluten or wheat products. The packaging does state that these are not suitable for those with egg or soya allergies though.
These choc macaroons are nice enough and a great buy for people who are unable to eat gluten or wheat. They currently retail for £1.15 at Tesco, which is fairly reasonable for a product of this type. They do taste nice enough and although I am not desperate to buy them again, I will probably buy them occasionally for something a bit different. They are not the most natural of products and this is reflected in the long shelf life (the best before dateon my pack was 5 months away), however at leastthey last a long time in the cupboard if you like to stock up.
Deliciously gluten and wheat free