Galaxy Vegan Chocolate
Posted: Feb 16, 2020
It’s been a while since I’ve looked at any mass market confectionery chocolate, but these new Galaxy Vegan chocolate bars really caught my eye when they were announced recently.
In theory, creating vegan chocolate is easy. All dark chocolate should be dairy free and therefore vegan. But if you want to replicate the sweetness and creaminess of a milk chocolate, it’s a lot more difficult.
There are a few options that manufacturers can use to replace the milk in milk chocolate, but they all have drawbacks. A common one is rice flour, but if you’d ever tried a pure rice milk chocolate, you’ll know it doesn’t really taste much like milk chocolate. Rice lacks the creaminess or the fat content to give that satisfying milk chocolate flavour and mouthfeel.
Some manufacturers use oat or almond flours, but they have drawbacks of their own, not least of which is the fact that they add a distinct flavour to the chocolate.
One dairy alternative that we don’t see very often is hazelnut paste. Of course, there are many chocolate products that contain hazelnuts, including everything from Nutella to high end gianduja, but it’s rarely marketed as a vegan milk chocolate alternative.
For these new Galaxy Vegan bars, Mars has opted to use a combination of hazelnut and rice flour to replace the dairy. Hazelnuts have a high fat content, which is great for replicating the mouthfeel of milk chocolate, but they do also have a strong flavour. I suspect that’s one of the reasons why rice has been used as well in the chocolate recipe. The hazelnut gives creaminess, but the rice helps to offset the flavour and give the chocolate "body". Hazelnut paste is a thick liquid at room temperature, so if too much were used, the chocolate would end up very soft.So how well does it work in these bars?
To my surprise, very well indeed.
There are three flavours in the range; Caramelised Hazelnut, Caramel & Sea Salt and Smooth Orange. There’s no "unflavoured" option, likely because they’re all going to taste of hazelnuts to some extent. They are smooth and creamy, and you might never guess they were dairy free if you hadn’t been told.
I particularly liked the Smooth Orange, but other friends who sampled them preferred the Caramel & Sea Salt.
For a product that I’d class as a "supermarket chocolate", these are a great choice for vegans and non-vegans alike. You pay a little more than a standard Galaxy bar, but you’re getting a large (100g) bar and a product with a very clean ingredients list. There’s no palm oil or shea, and only natural flavourings and a little sunflower lecithin added.
I’m sure the increased price and the very fact that it says "Vegan" on the front will annoy some, but I’d be quite happy to eat any of these, which is more than I can say for most confectionery chocolate these days.