With Easter just around the corner, we got together some of the ilumi team to try some of the free from hot cross buns and Easter eggs that are currently on the market.
First up, the hot cross buns. We taste tested from Asda, Sainsbury's, M&S and Waitrose.
The first thing that stood out to us on the Asda hot cross buns was the packaging. They have gone down a really fun route, rather than the usual boring free from! The hot cross buns were very fruity and had a good flavour, but best of all, an excellent texture that was soft and light.
Sainsbury's Free From Hot Cross Buns: £2 for 4
The Sainsbury's hot cross bun didn't fair as well as the Asda. They had a good flavour but not as strong and a much heavier, doughy texture.
M&S Made Without Wheat Hot Cross Buns: £2.20 for 2
We were expecting good things from the look of the M&S hot cross buns, they were so full of fruit! However, on tasting, we were really disappointed. They lacked flavour and had a dense and rubbery texture. They also didn't offer value for money with only 2 in the pack vs everyone else in the market.
Waitrose Love Life Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns: £2.49 for 4
The Waitrose product seemed unbalanced, with some parts of the hot cross bun having loads of fruit and flavour, and other parts having hardly any. The texture was fairly good, but lacked spice.
Our clear winner was Asda due to it's great flavour and texture, the packaging also made it really appealing. We think in a blind taste test it could pass as 'the real thing!'
We then tried some Easter eggs and cookies.
The tried and tested products were available in Asda and Sainsbury's and were a mix of brand and own label.
Celtic Chocolate's Free From Easter Egg - Found in Sainsbury's for £3.50
From the packaging, we didn't have high hopes for this product, however we were pleasantly surprised! The dark chocolate had a fab flavour and wasn't too bitter. The mint discs that come with the egg were also lovely.
Moo Free From Easter Egg - Found in Sainsbury's for £4
Another nicely packaged product. On first glance, we thought the product looked good, as the chocolate had a nice shine to it. On tasting, it was ok, similar to cheaper milk chocolate, however left a sour after taste.
Dairy free white chocolate is always going to be hard to make, as milk is the main ingredient. We think it was a shame Sainsbury's went down the free-from packaging route, because it was a perfect size for a smaller Easter gift. It had a very plastic and chemical taste that was very unpleasant. Nobody went back for seconds...
Choices Milk Chocolate Bunny - Found in Sainsbury's for £1
This looked really cute and was also great for a smaller Easter treat. We found the texture really creamy and it had a nice milk chocolate flavour that wasn't too sweet.
Choice White Chocolate Bunny - Found in Sainsbury's for £1
After tasting the other white chocolate product, this was better, but still not great. We'd recommend sticking with the milk chocolate bunny!
Asda Free From Hot Cross Cookies - £1.30
These biscuits had a nice flavour, but perhaps a bit too much almond for some tastes. The texture was soft and chewy. Overall, OK.
Again, Asda had packaged this really nicely, and it looked more like a standard Easter egg than something from the free-from aisle. The egg was creamy and not too sweet, but the real heroes were the chocolate orange disks that came with it - amazing!
We were expecting this to taste the same as the previous egg we had tried, but it actually had a different flavour that was much sweeter and not as enjoyable.
Again, Asda nailed it with their Free From Egg with Choc Orange Discs. It felt like a 'real' Easter egg with the seasonal packaging and inclusion of the discs.