Tried & Tasted: The Coconut Collaborative

Coconuts were one of the biggest food trends of last year and unless you spent 2015 hiding a rock, it’s likely you’ll have enjoyed this naturally free-from fruit in one way or another. Thankfully, its popularity shows no sign of slowing down. Introducing: The Coconut Collaborative. 

From ice cream and yoghurt to rice pudding and choc pots, each of The Coconut Collaborative’s dairy-free, soya-free and gluten-free desserts is made from the creamy milk of coconut, containing zero cholesterol and live dairy free cultures. They call themselves the coconutters, and their mission?  ‘To spread the coco-love far and wide by bringing together like-minded coconut companies, sharing delicious and surprising coconut treats with the world, and giving something back to the planet and its people.’ All while making some tasty yoghurt along the way.

So what does coconut yoghurt actually taste like? Surprisingly, not that much like coconut. This is very much an alternative to natural dairy yoghurt, with a thick, luscious texture that’s something of a cross between a mousse and mascarpone cheese. Go natural for the full health benefits. Simply made from live cultured coconut milk yoghurt, coconut water, cornflour, potato starch, pectin (from fruit) and selected dairy-free cultures, it boasts a massive 50% coconut milk content with coconut water making up an additional 45%. The natural sugars give sweetness but not much, with just a hint of coconut and pleasant but distinctive tang from all those healthy live bacterias.

Natural might be the more virtuous option, but that’s not to say the fruit flavoured yoghurts (available in Blueberry, Mango & Passionfruit and Raspberry) are in any way naughty. Flavoured with natural juice extract and fruit puree, these are sweeter but still remarkably healthy.

One of The Coconut Collaborative’s latest products is Rice Pudding – and this is not like the kind you had at school. Think short-grain rice and rich coconut cream, with a touch of vanilla extract for added sweetness. It’s still hard to get overly excited about such a basic pud, but The Coconut Collaborative have done a decent job in giving new life to this old-fashioned favourite. 

So far, so good. But where The Coconut Collaborative really stands out is with their dairy-free frozen yoghurt or ‘snowconut’.

Available in mango, chocolate, raspberry and vanilla, these 500ml tubs of frozen yoghurt offer a genuinely appealing alternative to sugar-laden dairy ice cream – with all the added health benefits of coconut. For something so creamy it’s surprisingly light and refreshing, with a reassuringly smooth consistency that can be scooped straight from frozen. We found the sorbet-like texture best suited to the fruity, juicy flavours of mango, but were also impressed by the subtle sweetness of the chocolate. Would we buy it again? At £4 per tub, realistically not. But for an ice cream that’s vegetarian, vegan, paleo, coeliac and all-round allergen friendly, it’s unexpectedly tasty and comparatively reasonable.

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