Tag Archives: Swizzels Matlow

Stocking Fillers: Vegetarian and Vegan Sweets

I’ve been a vegetarian since 1989, which is quite a long time. One of the questions I get asked the most is what do I miss? I miss my Nan’s beef chilli and her corned beef hash. I also miss my Nan but that’s a subject for another day perhaps. One of the things I did miss was sweets, because back then a lot of sweets contained gelatine.

Thankfully in the last 30 years things have moved on. Sure, pop to your local sweet shop and their shelves will be heaving with cheap jelly sweets, but Swizzels Matlow have produced a range of their trademark sweets which are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Stocking Fillers: Vegetarian and Vegan Sweets

Their Drumstick Choos and lollies contain five double flavour combinations which include peaches and cream and strawberry and banana. Their Refreshers Choos (my favourite) include pineapple and apple and have that fizzy sherbet centre which I love. Both kinds of Choos are vegetarian and vegan and are available in Tesco, Asda and Morrisons.

Other vegan sweets made by Swizzels Matlow which are suitable for vegetarians and vegans include Love Hearts, Fizzers, Fruity Pops, Double Lollies, Parma Violets and Rainbow Drops.

Some of these are among my favourite sweets. I adore Parma Violets and have used them to make Parma Violet shortbread biscuits. I also really love Rainbow Drops, which is a slightly less well-known sweet, but one I really love. They’re something about them, maybe it’s because they’re like a naughty breakfast cereal, but I love them.

Stocking Fillers: Vegetarian and Vegan Sweets

My husband isn’t a fan of chewy sweets (he fears for his teeth) but he can’t resist a packet of love hearts. My son who is 8 just likes sweets. He’s very good at sharing them, so it’s better if we choose veggie or vegan sweets.

Whatever sweets are your favourite, it’s reassuring to know that vegetarians and vegans in 2018 have considerably more choice in the sweet-shop than they did 30 years ago! Thanks Swizzels.

I was sent a selection of sweets in exchange for this blog post.

Christmas: Make your own Candy Cane Hearts

I love a bit of Christmas crafting and I’ve found a really simple, festive and delicious craft which will delight the whole family this Christmas. I’ve been making candy cane hearts to hang on my tree.

Christmas: Make your own Candy Cane Hearts

Candy canes have long been a symbol of Christmas. They were originally white sugar candy sticks made in Germany around 250 years ago. No one really knows how they ended up with a stripe and in the distinctive J shape, but some say they were shaped to look like a shepherd’s crook, to remind us of the shepherds that visited the baby Jesus on the first Christmas. Whatever the real story, all I know if they’re delicious and we always have a candy canes hanging from our Christmas tree.

You can get candy canes in all sizes, but I picked up a box of Swizzels Mini Candy Canes from B&M Stores for £1.99 and I knew exactly what I was going to make with them.

Make your own Candy Cane Hearts

You will need – 
Candy canes
A baking sheet
Baking paper
Ribbon

Method –
Place your baking paper on your baking sheet and arrange the candy canes into heart shapes. The mini candy canes are the right size for this, but if you’re using larger ones you can trim them down if you need to.

Christmas: Make your own Candy Cane Hearts

Making sure the two candy canes in each heart are touching; put them into a warm oven and watch very carefully. It should take about 5 minutes for the candy canes to warm up and start melting a little at the ends. At this point remove them from the oven and carefully push the ends and the joins together on the heart. Remember this is hot sugar and you don’t want to burn yourself.

Once the joins have been pushed together, leave them to cool for 15 minutes. Once they are cool, tie ribbon around them and hang them on your tree.

They’re so simple to make and they do look super-cute on the tree. I think I’m going to make a batch for the table on Christmas Day too.

How would you use your candy cane hearts?

Christmas: Make your own Candy Cane Hearts

Check out my other craft tutorials here!

Parma Violet Cheese – love it or hate it?

Last month I went to the International Cheese Awards and joined the ranks of over 200 cheese judges to find the best cheese in the world. It was my second year of judging and I can tell you, I’ve tried plenty of weird and wacky cheeses in pursuit of cheese perfection. Firmly in the wacky category is this Parma Violet Cheese which is the result of a collaboration between The Cheshire Cheese Company and Swizzels Matlow.

Parma Violet Cheese

The Parma Violet Cheese itself is a waxed cheese, branded in the familiar Parma Violet colours and logo you’ll remember from your childhood favourites. I love Parma Violets, they are by far my favourite sweet so I was weirdly excited to try this new cheese. 

The creamy Cheshire cheese has crushed Parma Violets blended through it and it certainly makes for a unique cheese. 

Most people will be familiar with cheese with fruit flavours, I’m thinking of cheeses like Wensleydale and Cranberry, White Stilton and Apricots. Cheese with more floral flavours is starting to find its way onto our cheeseboards. During the judging I tried cheese with lavender in it for example. I don’t think floral cheese necessarily has mass appeal, but it is a novelty and an after dinner talking point.

I visited the Cheshire Cheese Company stand at the International Cheese Awards with my friend and foodie Claire from Good Egg Foodie. We were both equally keen and nervous to try it. 

The cheese itself is nicely creamy and a good base for taking on added flavours. It is a slightly grey, very pale Parma Violet colour and it has a smooth creamy texture.

Parma Violet Cheese

At the International Cheese Awards I tried the Parma Violet cheese at room temperature and even I felt a bit challenged by it (and I’d tried lots of very unusual cheeses that day). Claire was not a fan at all, I think it might be the marmite of the cheese world, some like it, some really don’t.

I was given a 200g wax truckle to try at home and I admit it sat in my fridge for a week before I got the nerve up to try it again. I tried mine still cold from the fridge and I think that made a difference, it slightly muted the floral flavours and the texture was firmer and I ended up gobbling down a quarter of the truckle by myself.

It is a bit wacky, but if you like Parma Violets it could be just the novelty talking point your cheeseboard needs this year!

Parma Violet Cheese is available from a range of retailers priced around £6.99 for a 200g wax truckle.

Note: I was given this cheese to try by Swizzels Matlow, all images and options are my own.