Sweet Freedom are the brand behind fruit and what I consider 'healthy' sugars. They have only recently come to the UK (since 2013), and produce vegan-friendly liquid sugars like their original Sweet Freedom sugar made from 100% fruit; apples, grapes and carob. It boasts 25% fewer calories than sugar, and they advise that branded products called 'fruit' sugars are made from sugar beet and are 100% processed fructose.
With such an educated company advising me on the vegan, low sugars out there I was keen to try their version of hot chocolate. Like most people I have loved hot chocolate since I was a child - it soothed any sadness, helps me go to sleep, or perhaps that was Horlicks. Either way, hot chocolate has always been something I associated with happiness and soothing me when I needed something sweeter on Winter days.
I found Sweet Freedom's Choc Shot (£2.80) in WholeFoods recently, but it is also available in Morrisons supermarket. I was keen to give it a try because I'm always sceptical of how 'healthy' versions of the full-fat/sugary classic.
With my reservations in mind I did as the bottle advised: I stirred two teaspoons into a mug of hot (coconut) milk, for a truly dairy-free treat, to see how it compared with the milky, real-chocolate version I know so well.
I can honestly say it was very, very good. I had expected a rather weak-tasting, almost-plastic chocolate flavour, but the addition of carob and cocoa makes it smell and taste just like normal hot chocolate. It definitely isn't as creamy, but it is very smooth and moreish. It tastes like a lighter version of 'normal' hot chocolate, with a fruit-sugar taste. I could definitely get used to this, especially seen as it is less than half of the calories of the hot chocolate I usually make.
What I find most surprising is how good it tastes, yet it remains a vegan, and natural product. The Choc Shot is 100% natural, and only contains 14 calories per teaspoon. No artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives have been added, which gives me more reason to like it.
You can spread it on toast just like you would any other chocolate spread, or pour it into porridge. At the moment I like it as a hot chocolate. Who knew vegan, and refined sugar-free hot chocolate would be so good?