IMG_1892So, I’ve been meaning to post for a while, and a few times I have seen this conspicuous little container floating around the refrigerated section of the Duane Reade below my office (funny, I’ve worked in two separate buildings in New York City, and both of them have been above Duane Reades – whatever, convenient for lunch food when I’m feeling too lazy to make a bento.  ^^;; Anyway, while I was wandering around down there last week or so was when I got my first glimpse of these marshmallows – and what caught my attention is the little bunny on the front.  Normally, a bunny on the label means ‘cruelty free’ or ‘vegan’, so I’m always on the lookout … And vegan marshmallows aren’t something I’ve come across before in a local super market sort of store.  Well, I was down there again today and I saw this container again, so I figured eh, why not?  And I picked it up.  This little 6-and-a-quarter ounce container ran me $3.99, which I didn’t think was TOO outrageous … Even though an entire bag of regular marshmallows tends to cost that price … But whatever; it’s vegan and all sorts of other fancy things like non-GMO and Kosher and what have you, so they are allowed to sell you a little bit for a lotta money.

That’s how that works, right?

But I digress.

IMG_1893So, I purchased my after-lunch treat, along with a few other items, and headed back up to my desk, and immediately took a picture of the container before I did anything else, as you can see above.  Now, according to the label, there are four different kinds of marshmallows in this container, and that is true – the flavors are: vanilla, toasted coconut, strawberry, and cinnamon pecan.  However, as you’ll see in the picture to the left, I only took out three to take a picture of – the three specialty flavored ones, vanilla being the odd man out.  That was because that strawberry is a sticky one; the rest are firm and dry like regular marshmallows, but I am telling you those pink ones are as sticky as chewing gum!  I tried to get a vanilla one out, but the regular ones were just hopelessly stuck to the strawberry ones, and whenever I tried to separate them, the vanilla was pulled out of shape or stained or … I just gave up.  They are little white squares, it’s not like it’s gonna be a shocker; just imagine there’s another of the toasted cinnamon pecan ones without the nut on top.

So, right; that leads me to my first point; all four of them have a good firm consistency as far as touch goes except for the pink ones; they are very sticky.  They hold their shape alright if you leave them alone, especially if they are straight out of the fridge (did I mention these have to be stored in the fridge?) but as soon as they sit at room temperature for a few minutes, forget it; they stick pretty good to most things, including skin, tissues, themselves, desks …

But anyway; on to taste!  I was actually very pleasantly surprised as far as taste for all of them.  The vanilla tasted like a regular white marshmallow, the strawberry ones had a great strawberry flavor, the coconut one was pretty good but the actual marshmallow didn’t taste much like coconut, it really came from the toasted coating, and the cinnamon pecan one tasted mostly like cinnamon – I wish the pecan on top had been toasted as well, but it was just a chip of the soft meat of the nut, no crunch or heat applied previously.

However, the devil’s in the details, so the real question is – how was the texture?  And in 3 out of 4 of them, it was pretty spot on.  The vanilla, toasted coconut, and cinnamon pecan all boasted a nice firm consistency, and when I bit into them they made that sort of … spongey noise it makes when you bite into a regular marshmallow.  I was actually super surprised, because a lot of the time, vegan food substitutes taste alright, but the texture is totally wrong.  I will be the first to declare that this is not the case for these three marshmallows …

But now we have to have a chat about this strawberry marshmallow.

Because texture-wise, it’s sort of a train wreck.

IMG_1895Now, I mean that in the nicest way possible – I’m not trying to be mean.  But it’s pretty bad.  Like, I took a bite of it and it nearly made me gag bad.  First of all, it’s not firm at all.  It’s not … liquid or anything; as you can see from the picture above, it does hold it’s shape if you leave it alone.  But it has this odd slightly gritty soft vaguely gooey texture, kind of like slightly soupy uncooked cookie dough … And when I say that I almost gagged when I took a bite, that’s not a lie; I had eaten one of each of the other kinds, and strawberry was the last one.  So I assumed, since the texture of the others was so spot-on, that this one would be the same, so I was just expecting that slightly firm, spongy cloud-like consistency of the other ones … And then I bit into that sticky pink one and … Well it wasn’t good.

Which isn’t to say the flavor wasn’t good; as I said in an earlier paragraph, the strawberry flavor was very decent.  I have a feeling they probably flavor the strawberry ones with some sort of strawberry puree or something, and that stops it from being able to set properly or something.  And I did try eating a second one just to see if I had happened across a bad marshmallow or something … That one I couldn’t finish; texture was the same and my throat/mouth was not having it.  I’m big on the mouth feel of things, and these little pink devils were not particularly pleasant in that regard.

Now, if you follow my other blog, A Swiftly Tilting Bookshelf, then you know that in my reviews, I give a rating out of 5 stars and then I give a final verdict for whatever I’m reviewing/critiquing.  So, in accordance with that, I’m going to do the same thing here!

Rating : ★★★★☆

Final Verdict : They aren’t perfectly, exactly the same as marshmallows, but for a vegan substitute, they are pretty awesome.  I don’t really love that they are marshmallows, and I tried to sort of roll them or change their shape with a little force – but much like traditional marshmallows, they sort of just cracked, and whatever is on the outside (powdered sugar or corn starch or whatever that is) just sort of fluffed off a bit and it just didn’t make a good shape.  Of all of them, I liked the strawberry flavored ones the least – which was too bad because they really do have a nice flavor, but I cannot get past that terrible mouth feel they have. My favorite were definitely the toasted cinnamon pecan ones, though like I said I do wish that the little chip of nut on top  was actually toasted in some fashion.  But the cinnamon flavor was good!