Ever since I was a kid, I have always enjoyed Easter. Don't get me wrong, it is no Halloween, but Easter is pretty special. Easter time means a lot of things. It signifies warmer days, and thank God, because I am tired of chapped lips, frozen fingers, and slipping into a frozen car every morning. It also is a happy time; when I think of Easter, I often find myself bouncing and singing, "Here Comes Peter Cottontail." I am not sure my husband loves the last reason, because it is easy to quickly tire of lines like "orchids for your mommy," and "hoppin' down the bunny trail." But, he is a gracious and patient husband and indulges my nostalgia. And regardless if you are religious or not, springtime and Easter provoke a growing joy that is nothing but contagious.
If you celebrate or celebrated Easter, what is the first thing that the holiday brings to mind? Of course, there is the obvious egg hunts, and baskets, but what about the food? When I think of Easter, I think of coconut. Every year, we make a coconut cake that is shaped like a cute bunny. However, this tradition has stalled a bit, because the cake now needs to be vegan AND delicious. Now, I am no baker, so the trick is to find an easy, idiot-proof recipe, that even the pickiest of non-vegans will enjoy. So if you have an OFF THE CHAIN, SCRUMPTIOUS, and EASY coconut cake recipe, please leave me a comment below:)
Now, coconut does not just take the shape of cakey bunnies in our Easter household, my mom's favorite Easter candy are Mounds and Almond Joy. So when I stumbled upon OCHO Coconut Candy Bar, I was eager to see if it would fit the bill for a painless non-vegan to vegan swap.
This bar is organic and is certified vegan. I also appreciate a company that labels there food as vegan, because it saves me a little time of reading through the ingredient list. In addition, the bar is also made in the U.S.A.
As for the ingredients, the list is as follows: organic dark chocolate (organic dried cane sugar, organic chocolate liquor, organic cocoa butter, organic soy lecithin, organic vanilla), organic tapioca, organic coconut, organic sugar, salt and natural vanilla flavor.
While the ingredients are not overly processed like some of the typical candy bars on the market, I would not recommend these as a healthy snack, but they would make an excellent holiday or occasional treat. Each bar is one serving and is 200 calories with 110 calories from fat. There are 2 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 14 grams of sugar.
I spent $2.09 on my OCHO bar, which is not incredibly expensive, but if you bought one per week that equates to over 100 dollars, so I think when considering nutrition and price, make it more of an every-once-in-a-while buy. However, it is a great and inexpensive solution for an Easter basket.
As for the taste, I believe the first words my husband said were, "Oh yeah!" It is a dead on match with a Mounds bar. I am so sure that only the CEO of Mounds could tell the difference. Score one for the vegan team! This is not a switch that feels like a sacrifice at all. While vegan food has come a long way, there are still a few non-vegan foods that are just very difficult to replicate, and the alternatives can often be viewed as lacking. But, I can say with a full heart, that my mom will not miss the Mounds bar when I slip this into her Easter basket.
The chocolate to coconut ratio is really lovely, and neither one over powers the other. Which seems amazing to me when you look at the picture above and see how much coconutty goodness is in each bar. The coconut is fluffy and sweet, which offsets the richness of the dark and bitter chocolate that surrounds it.
I also really appreciated the decadence of the bar. Cameron and I split one, and I felt perfectly satisfied with the half. I could have easily eaten a whole one, but I love a dessert that gives me a wonderful mouth-feel, sweetness, but does not leave me wanting to eat 27 of them. The perfect dessert is one that lets you enjoy the moment, satiates, and leaves a fond memory rather than a craving.
Overall, I am thoroughly pleased with this OCHO Coconut Candy Bar. It works well as an occasional treat, and will seamlessly fit into our Easter tradition! While I don't think it will solve my coconut Easter bunny cake dilemma, it will win the hearts and tummies of my non-vegan, coconut-lovin' family. Perhaps, I will even change the lyrics to "Here Comes Peter Cottontail" from "orchids for your mommy" to "OCHOs for your mommy and and Easter bonnet too!"
Well, got to go scour the intergoogles for a scrumptious Easter coconut cake recipe...Wish me Luck!