It’s that time of year again when the weather starts to get cooler,the leaves begin to change to vibrant shades of red, yellow, orange, green and brown. The earthy smell of a pumpkin spice latte and sweet crisp smell of apples cider awakes our senses leaving us with a cozy warm feeling inside.This is also the time of year we tend to consume more tasty treats than any other time.
Below is a list of some of our favorite treats that make the best holiday or personal gifts for adults and children alike.
The Surf Sweets is a brand that is inspired by fun, healthy lifestyles and food choices. The company is committed to offering great tasting candy and building long-lasting relationships with with its customers. Surf Sweets believes in using only natural organic ingredients. Surf Sweet candy provides 100 percent of your Vitamin C per serving and feels it is essential for their candy to be free of trans fats, GMOs, corn syrup, gluten, artificial colors and flavors. Their products are produced in a nut-free facility that is free of other common allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, tree nuts, shell fish, and fish). The company also supports a number of causes.
Our favorite Surf Sweets candy is their vegan sour worms made with organic fruit juices. The candy is a special treat to put in your child’s lunch bag or to take with on a picnic or hike. It comes in single serving bags that are perfect for little hands. As silly as this may sound, I started adding a bag of the sour worms with the holiday related gifts I happen to buy for my father which has become somewhat of a tradition over the years.
This resulted in Obsessive Confection Disorder creating a kinder, gentler sweets made by hand from start to finish by using ingredients such as organic coconut milk, coconut butter, cocoa butter and locally grown seasonal produce. The company is mindful of the seasons, as well as local sustainability. The fruit purees used in their confections are fresh and mainly sourced from gardens within a few miles from their kitchen.
When I first became vegan I thought I would have to give up one of my favorite seasonal treats (organic caramel apples) forever. Six years later I couldn’t have been more pleased to have found Obsessive Confection Disorder. The coconut oil based caramel from this is soo yummy I honesty can’t tell the difference and when you pair it with freshly sliced organic apples it becomes a healthy treat that is way to good to share.
Madécasse [mah-day-kas] is a Brooklyn-based company that was founded in 2008 by former Peace Corps volunteers. The story goes, while living in Madagascar which is considered to be the 10th poorest country in the world, the volunteers began to understand why Africa remains one of the poorest continents. As a result they were collectively inspired to change this by creating Madécasse by providing equipment and training – and producing the entire product locally. Due to their hard work and dedication to create social chance the company succeeded in creating high quality bean-to-bar, hand-wrapped chocolate and vanilla products on the continent of Africa. Madécasse is able to provide 100% of production costs to the people of Madagascar.
Madécasse was named one of the “World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies” in 2011 by Fast Company, and the “2012 Leader of Change” by the United Nations Office of Partnerships and the Foundation for Social Change.
Let’s face it good quality chocolate is hard to find. A true test of quality when it comes to chocolate is the aroma and when you put a small square of 70 percent chocolate in your mouth and let it gradually melt. If it doesn’t taste bitter or you feel like you just ate a spoon full of sugar, you can probably conclude it is a high quality bar. The chocolate should have a nice aroma and feel velvety in your mouth leaving you wanting more and that is exactly the impression you will get when you try a bar of Madecasse chocolate for the first time. It will be very hard not to find yourself hooked on Madecasse’s uniquely flavored chocolate bars. You also have to admire and respect the company gives back 100 percent of its production costs to the people in Madagascar.
Walkers was founded in 1898 by 21-year-old Joseph Walker who opened his own bakery with a loan of £50 and the desire to make the finest shortbread in the world. In the first year of business, Joseph used every spare moment to perfect his shortbread recipe. Due to the great success he experience with his short bread cookies Joseph expanded to a larger shop in the Speyside village of Aberlour and investing in a horse and cart to deliver his baking further afield. By the 1970s, Joseph’s grandchildren had begun exporting Walkers shortbread to over 60 countries around the world – still using the original recipe. A decade later after Joseph had first opened the companies doors they won the first of three Queen’s Awards for Export Achievement – the highest accolade given to British exporters. Walkers Shortbread Cookies are available to purchase in England, Canada and the United States.
This shortbread cookie makes a great gift or to indulge on your own. A few weeks ago my non-vegan mother had a few friends over for tea and served these Shortbread Scottie Dog cookies on an antique china plate. It made for a really nice presentation. The cookies are a nice size and smell like yummy hot coco. They are also low in fat and contain about 7g of sugar for two cookies and contain few ingredients. One of the biggest turn offs for me(before I became vegan) is when I purchased shortbread cookies(shortbread cookies are one if not the best type of cookie to serve with tea) from other companies that particular company didn’t seem to understand how to balance the amount of coco or sugar correctly. This left the cookie either really bitter or too sweet which is embarrassing if you are serving the cookies to friends. However, there is no need to worry about that when you purchase Walkers cookies because you know you are getting a high quality product.Needless to say the shortbread cookies are not vegan, but are vegetarian because they contain butter, were a big hit and were preferred over the cake that was also on the table. My mother’s friends were asking where to purchase them. This just proves that something as simple as a shortbread cookie when made correctly with high quality ingredients can be turned into something elegant. You can only image if the company ever developed a vegan shortbread cookie how good it would taste.
Please note that this is not a vegan product. If you are vegetarian and considering purchasing any of their other items besides the shortbread cookies please read the ingredient list very carefully just like you would with any product from a company you are not yet familiar with. In this case besides the cookies containing dairy some of Walkers items contain carmine. We featured Walkers Shortbread Chocolate Scottie Dogs because we wanted to acknowledge that 10 cents from every sale of the Chocolate Scottie Dogs will be donated to the ASPCA.
Each one of these delectable goodies can be made into a personalized holiday gift when paired with the right accessories. For example a decorative mug with the recipients favorite brand of tea or coffee with a vintage spoon is unique enough to be memorable.
Images Courtesy of Surf Sweets,Madécasse,Obsessive Confection Disorder, Madécasse and Walkers