“ Type: Biscuits / Food quality: Organic food „
My vegan sister is always bringing around delicious goodies for me to try. Her latest tasty find is Doves Farms Organic Hazelnut Cookies, which are vegetarian and vegan. She bought them recently in Sainsbury's where they were on a half price offer -75p for a 150g pack, rather than £1.49. I never need asking twice to try a biscuit so here's what I thought of them.
THE DOVES FARM ORGANIC BRAND.
I am familiar with Doves Farm as a producer of organic flours, and cereals, but this is the first of their biscuits that I have tried. They have their own Soil Association approved farm, and use other suppliers with the same accreditation or international equivalent. They also have a policy of using Fair Trade ingredients wherever possible. In these particular biscuits, Fair Trade products amount to 21% of the total ingredients used. Whenever I buy one of their products, I am reminded of their efforts to farm in a way that is beneficial to wildlife, thanks to the detailed information about the brand that is printed on their packaging. Their products may not be the cheapest, but I support their ethical stance, and I appreciate that sometimes this comes at a price.
The biscuits come in a cardboard box, open at the top and the whole is encased in a plastic sleeve. I like this relatively minimal packaging as it annoys me when biscuits come in a box, plastic tray and cellophane. You can see the cookies through the top of the box, and very nice they look too. There's 9 in the box, each one chunky and golden, with a rough textured top that makes them almost look home-made. Once you have opened the packet, the biscuits need to be kept airtight, in order to preserve their gorgeous crispiness.
These cookies are described as hazelnut with a hint of orange. I would describe them as orange with a hint of hazelnut myself! I can see pieces of nut inside, but I think the orange flavour is so strong that they can't really compete flavour wise. I tend to love nut flavoured biscuits, and none more than hazelnut, so I was a little disappointed at first. Having said that, these biscuits still taste delicious, only of orange more than anything else. It's a pleasingly natural orange taste, rather than one that leaves an artificial aftertaste. They have a great texture. They are crunchy, but light, with a base that is firmer than the crumbly top. This makes them satisfying to eat, and very moreish. I like the fact that they taste really fresh, as if they haven't been long made, even though obviously they have come from a factory. The few we didn't eat straight away kept well in a tin for a few days. They showed no sign of losing their flavour or going soft, and would probably have kept longer had we let them!
I went to Sainsbury's and bought a few more packs while they are cheap as the best before dates run 4 months ahead. These are one biscuit that I feel safe to offer just about anyone, nut allergy sufferers aside, as they are not only vegan, but gluten free, wheat free, GM free, and contain no hydrogenated fats. They are a great tasting biscuit for anyone to enjoy, regardless of any special diet you are on though.
WOULD I RECOMMEND THEM?
I would, providing you were happy to eat an orange flavoured biscuit and were not buying these chiefly for the hazelnut flavour. They taste like a good quality product, and have a perfect crispy texture without being too hard. The orange taste maybe strong but at least these aren't in any way bland. I feel I have to deduct a star because of the missing hazelnut taste though.
I have found these both with the regular biscuits, and with the "free-from" products in Sainsburys. You can also buy them in other supermarkets.
[This review also appears on Ciao, under my user name.]
Doves Farm Gluten Free Hazelnut Cookies are a delicious and nutritious treat; ideal for anyone who is either coeliac or just enjoys a gluten free biscuit. I am the latter, but do try to keep my gluten intake low as I have ME and some experts believe it helps with the symptoms.
Coeliac disease is a serious gluten allergy and is something which has to be diagnosed properly as lifelong gluten avoidance is mandatory to avoid certain cancers, and therefore needs to be taken seriously. These biscuits are however perfectly acceptable for anyone who has been diagnosed a coeliac as they are made in a separate bakery.
Doves Farm Foods are based on the border between Wiltshire and Berkshire and were established in 1978 by Michael and Clare Marriage. The company advanced from its genesis in 1958 when the family started farming the land. It was during the 1970's that they really decided that they had to steer a clear path into the future by ensuring they farmed in a sustainable and organic way, and today they have over 350 acres all certified organic by the Soil Association. The fields are all surrounded by grass which provides homes for birds and beetles, and these really ensure that any insects which try to feed on the plants are a valuable food source for the beetles and birds, thus negating the need for chemical sprays and cocktails of unknown poisons, which so often find their way into our food chain.
During the winters they leave areas uncultivated to allow ground nesting birds to stay and of course they use crop rotation to ensure they do not need to use any artificial fertilisers or chemicals at all.
To me they seem very similar in their ethics and beliefs to the Jordan family who make all the cereals our family love. They are part of a group of what I like to call "the original pioneers" of farming this way, by this I mean they haven't just decided to do it to be current, it was always who they were and what they felt was right.
The hazelnut cookies I am reviewing are one of their new ranges of delicious biscuits, and they are sold in a lovely pale sunset orange packet. I paid £1.38 from Waitrose but you can also buy them in health food shops and online from Ethical Superstore (www.ethicalsuperstore.co.uk). For this you will get about 9 cookies.
The main ingredient is rice flour and they also contain hazelnuts, orange zest, lemon juice and potato, maize, and buckwheat flours, and coconut.
They press all my buttons as they are and fair-trade, vegan, organic, wholegrain, wheat free, gluten free, and contain no hydrogenated fats and each biscuit comes in at just 72 calories.
The first thing that I felt about them when I bought them was the home made look. They actually look and smell like you have just got them out of the oven. The surface has the tell tale just baked crinkles and the aroma is beautiful, fresh and delicious with a hint of Seville marmalade. You could even cheat and pretend you cooked them!
The taste is simply divine. A citrus favoured nutty cookie which melts in your mouth and really is as good as any I have ever made in my own kitchen. This is really amazing as so many gluten free foods are actually dreadful, and at last here is something as good as a biscuit made in the traditional way. They don't have that weird gluten free powdery texture.
They store really well in an airtight tin and stay crisp and tasty for ages. I think these are one of the nicest biscuits I have tried in ages and I would certainly buy them a lot more if I was coeliac. Yes they are in the luxury end of the biscuit market for sure, and you are paying a premium for the care they take over the environment, so maybe not a good time to be selling these little gems of crunch. However if you have one now and again they are a real treat, and you are certainly helping to preserve a tiny corner of Britain so that future generations can enjoy the birdsong and the butterflies in the English Countryside.
Nutty gluten free cookies with a hint of orange.