I’ve now had 32-ish vegetarian Christmases (since I was nine!) and 15-ish vegan Christmases (since I was 25) – and this year I’m pretty excited about the ever-growing choices popping up for vegan Christmas food. I’ve even noticed some online stores showing a separate sections dedicated to a vegetarian and vegan Christmas. Hoorah!
Today’s post is on Cole’s Gluten-Free Christmas Pudding from Whole Foods Market (£6.99) – where you can find massive ranges of vegan, natural and organic foods – that was kindly sent to me to try.
While I’m not that big on Christmas pudding itself, I was interested to write about it because it’s such as centrepiece traditional dessert that I’m sure there’ll be people looking for gluten-free and vegan Christmas pudding options. It’s also nut-free and alcohol-free, making it perfect for all of these dietary requirements.
About the Pudding
“Made with the finest ingredients, free from gluten, nut alcohol and dairy.”
This makes it a very inclusive product and the ingredients list doesn’t feature anything in bold so no known allergies highlighted. Great news for those suffering from an allergy, sensitivity or intolerance. It’s a shame it has palm oil though; it says certified from sustainable sources but I still wonder whether there’s an alternative.
Vine Fruits (41%) (Sultanas, Raisins, Currants), Gluten Free Flour (Flour Blend (Rice, Potato, Tapioca), Stabilizer: Xanthan Gum), Brown Sugar, Vegetable Suet (Palm Oil*, Sunflower Oil, Rice Flour), Apple Juice from Concentrate, Sugar Syrup, Orange Juice from Concentrate, Candied Citrus Peel (Orange Peel, Lemon Peel, Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Salt, Acidity Regulator: Citric Acid), Orange Peel (Sugar Syrup, Oranges), Lemon Juice from Concentrate, Molasses, Mixed Spice, Salt, Lemon Oil. *certified sustainable Palm Oil.
Originally founded in Essex in 1939, under the name of A J Cole and became part of Wilkin & Sons family of businesses in 2010.
Based in Great Chesterford, Essex, the company produces “quality Christmas and ambient puddings, using the expertise we have gained over the years. This, together with classic recipes made from the finest ingredients and employing traditional methods of manufacture enables Cole’s to produce truly Great British Puddings.” You can see the wide range of Cole’s Christmas puddings here.
The Taste Test
To cook, the options are three minutes in the microwave or one and a half hours to steam or boil on the hob. I don’t own a microwave and didn’t fancy such a lengthy cooking time so I took it to my parent’s to cook in their microwave there.
The microwave option was super simple and easy: the pudding cooks inside its container so I just un-clicked the lid (and let it rest gently on top) and popped it in the oven. Three mins later it was steaming hot throughout and ready to turn upside down onto a plate.
It’s a small pudding but it goes a long way. Even for a non-fruit cake lover I enjoyed how all the raisins, sultanas and currants were soft and chewy (no hard dried fruit bits thankfully). The flavours were rich, although not as rich as if everything was soaked with brandy or sherry, but with an almost caramelised effect, certainly tasty but not too sweet.
I’ve heard people complain that traditional Christmas puds can be too heavy but this was surprisingly light while still delivering on flavour. It also went brilliantly with a side of vegan custard.
A good please-all pudding as it ticks all (I think) the dietary requirement boxes – gluten-free, vegan, nut-free an alcohol-free – and still tastes indulgent enough for a festive dinner.
Let me know if you’ve tried it or if it’ll be on your Christmas menu this year. Available at one of the seven Whole Foods Market stores in London. Let me know your thoughts on on Instagram @YanarFitness