I really crave confectionery sweets, more so than chocolate, and have always been a huge fan of the marshmallow. Boiled animal tendons, cartilage and bone by-products make standard marshfare unvegan but how would a vegan marshmallow compare to the characteristic spring and texture of the jet-puffed campfires of youth. Being as there are only 3 brands of vegan marshmallows out there to choose from I thought a taste test was in order. I elicited fellow foodies MarshMouth, Mr. Montague Marshmattow III Esq., Penny-Mellow, Fluffalupagus & Andrea (guess which are pseudonyms.) to help me nibble a little on some agar-agar.
First up are VeganSweets Marshmallows. These were the first vegan marshmallows I ever tried and my favorite of the three brands on trial. Contrary to the customary marshmallow aesthetic of bright white, these diddies were an off-white… but the texture was spot-on. Though I thought they were sweet and satisfying taste-wise, the texture is what I enjoyed the most. They had a substantial firmness and spring, very important to a marshmallow! The rest of the marshmallow focus group offered a mix-bag of opinions. All thought they were sweet but there were some interesting takes on their texture. Fluffalupagus compared the consistency to gumdrops and their gooiness to a toned down version of chewy bread and gum (delicious!) while Mr. MM III Esq. and Penny-Mellow both noted their exteriors to be sappy with crystalline sugar grit. At first taste they reminded Andrea of those powdered sugar fake cigarettes we puffed on in our youth. And while MarshMouth thought they’d complement a mug o’ hot chocolate nicely, he wouldn’t recommend eating more than a handful in one sitting. More for me!
*Holy moly! Pangea has a stock of “irregular” VeganSweets marshmallows on sale for 59 cents a bag here.
Sweet & Sara‘s vanilla marshmallows were certainly the most anticipated brand of the tasting. Being sold out at VeganEssentials, Cosmos’s and Candle 79, Fluffalupagus made the trek to Park Slope, Brooklyn to purchase them for the inflated price of $7.99 from the Pumpkin Organic Market. Half of the marshtesters awarded S&S’s with their top praises. Andrea described them as “pure deliciousness!!” and a definite thing that made her go mmmmm. Fluffalupagus thought they were “softer than down” and Penny-Mellow thought they had a “good mouth feel”. Though they were indeed scrumptious, there were yums across the board, I didn’t think they had the texture of a marshmallows. Mr. MM III, Esq. said it best when he said they should be called “vanilla dough”. MarshMouth thought they sludged their way down your throat after just 1 or 2 chews. He compared the consistency to Big League Chew, a wad of yum that shyly escapes down your throat too soon. I must add that we ate these soft pillows at room temperature. The next morning I had a leftover out of the refrigerated container and the texture was certainly more marshmallowy after refrigeration. And the following evening after work I checked in on them again, and boy, what a difference a little freon makes. Their texture improved tenfold and I was left drooling for more. No wonder it says right there on the package ‘keep refrigerated’! I definitely want to try Sara’s other flavors, toasted coconut and Mexican chocolate.
I am certainly a fan of the Ricemellow and fancy a spoonful here and there to indulge my sweet tooth… but also for nostalgic reasons. As a huge fan of the Fluff in my younger years, the Ricemellow tub, taste and aftertaste takes me back. I carried tubs of Fluff around my high school hallways and snacked on it often. Fluff, my dentists thanks you profusely. Anyway, Ricemellow’s the real deal and you know it when you dig your spoon in it. For those who had never had a fling with Fluff, the appearance and consistency was less celebrated. Andrea and Mr. MM III, Esq. thought it looked a bit like Spackle and MarshMouth thought Mod Podge. Most agreed it wasn’t a good idea to chow it down spoonful after spoonful and saw it more fitting to use as an ingredient or accompaniment. Fluffalupagus thought its taste resembled candy corn and commented about a “residual filminess” after ingestion. Penny-Mellow chose the Ricemellow as her favorite and also noted that calorie-wise, a few dollops of this vanilla sweet putty is your best bet for vegan marshmallowy deliciousness. 60 calories for 3 tablespoons! Yes, 60 empty, sugary insubstantial calories, per Mr. MM III, Esq. Also Available in Strawberry flavor!
Although these are the only brands of vegan marshmallows out there you can find marhmallowy-infused vegan goodies like: