This review has been a long time coming; it probably wouldn’t have happened if not for two things: I am an impulse food buyer, and TMM is rubbish at cleaning out the fridge. As it stands, there is a six-month old carton of the Worthenshaw’s Freedom non-dairy frozen dessert, chocolate flavour, melting in the sink for impending disposal. “Beggars can’t be choosers” be damned.
It all started last summer when, for work purposes, I was keeping tabs on the Dragon’s Den series airing on the BBC. In the UK there isn’t the same network of easily-accessible alternative food sources that I depend on in California. I can really see Whole Foods boggling some minds. Up until this point the only non-dairy/soy “ice cream” alternative I had spotted is an extremely expensive cashew and agave syrup concoction from Booja-Booja. It’s not bad, but more fattening than the Rice Dream options at home and by far more expensive, coming it at approximately £6 for a half-pint.
Soy free? Dairy free? Low calorie? Not going to throw my razor-thin impulse-buy grocery budget out of whack? Sign me up.
Right off the bat the colour wasn’t appealing. It wasn’t the rich brown I associate with chocolate sorbet, or the creamy brown of the rice and coconut. It was more of a… tan. I won’t call it beige, but it wasn’t the colour of a food I would normally eat. Pressing on, the texture was more like a sorbet at that point, as I was a savage digging into it straight from the freezer. However, the biggest disappointment was that it tasted like sickly-sweet chalk. It wasn’t nice, both too-sweet and not sweet enough. It lacked the body I would expect from a product positioned as an ice cream alternative, and the chocolate flavour was severely lacking.
I’ve been off of real food for a long time, but I’m not sure how dire it would have to be for me to purchase this again.
The container promptly went back into the freezer, with a mention to TMM to bin it on the next trash day. I was moved enough by my disappointment to attempt a coconut milk ice cream without a machine for New Years, several months later, and while not a resounding triumph due to my inability to stir at regular intervals, it was delicious.
Also, as I mentioned, Worthenshaw’s Freedom contains carob in the sweetener it uses and tara gum as a stabilizer. My soy allergy is part of a wider legume allergy (my parents had an inkling of my issues when I would pull a Linda Blair after South Indian meals; my first India trip must have been a real joy). The legume family includes several gums, including: tara, guar and locust bean, which is derived from carob. If you’re on an elimination diet for soy or legumes, this dessert might not be for you.
When TMM moved house, the ice cream came with him. Unfortunately for me, I’m always going to blink first about the cleaning and tidying business of the house, so I caved. It’s a good thing too. If we had just tossed it in the trash I wouldn’t have seen the interesting way the Worthenshaw’s Freedom separates into a thick, very brown sludge and a clear, brownish liquid, much like the contents of an unshaken can of coconut milk. Except brown and slightly bubbly. But more to the point, it meant that I could use “Blorp.” as a caption.
tl;dr: Worthenshaw’s Freedom in chocolate didn’t taste good. It would probably appeal to kids, since if they’re eating soy-free/dairy-free, they’re probably so starved for real people food that anything sweet and frozen will be received with the enthusiasm of chum to sharks. Anything to be normal.