Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Dairy-Free Milk Alternatives - Almond

Since most of the world is lactose-intolerant, and in case you didn't know: the main protein in milk (casein) is linked to cancer growth, I've decided to task myself with finding the best options for dairy-free milk alternatives. Well, I'm also doing this because milk products cause myself and Tammy incredulous amounts of pain, bloating, discomfort, and other odd reactions.

After walking through shops in Ireland such as Tesco, Dunnes, Aldi, and Lidl, I've found more variety than I thought existed. Our Bettystown Tesco has more variety of gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan alternatives than the giant Brentwood Whole Foods from back home. And for my folks back in VanCity: Bettystown is like a classy, quaint version of Mission (in terms of distance and size from the city).

Today, I'll start with two unsweetened almond milks from Tesco, under their own brand name. In addition, I'll throw in the Alpro unsweetened almond milk.

In terms of breaking them down, I'm going to put each product through the three basic uses that I have for dairy-free alternative milks:

  1. Pouring over cold cereal
  2. Adding to hot cereal (Ready Brek or porridge)
  3. Adding to hot beverages (coffee and tea)

Tesco: Almond - Alternative to dairy milk
Photo: Brewji

1. Tesco: Almond - Alternative to dairy milk (Unsweetened)
First up, we have Tesco's value brand (or so it seems). It's priced the cheapest at €2 for a 1L carton when it's not on sale. Now, we initially tried a few different brands before this one. This means we have comparison to make!

When pouring over cereal, it I get the most unmasked taste. It's sort of like a soy milk with a nutty flavour instead of the nasty soy taste. Not bad at all, but there are still brands in Canada that could knock this out of the park. Either way, I enjoyed it. What would I change? Add more almonds! There's not enough almond kick in it to convince me that I'm drinking almond milk.

Mixed into Ready Brek, this acts as a good alternative to milk, as it mixes well and doesn't cause any textural issues. However, it still has a lingering nutty taste that is just a little sub-par. It's a good choice for a budget dairy-free alternative.

In coffee, it does its job. Because of the coffee masking most of the taste, it's nothing spectacular. However, it allows me to have my coffee at a drinkable temperature and mixes well with sugar (if sweetened coffee is your thing). I'm just asking Tammy over my shoulder if she liked it in her tea. Her exact response was "Yeah, it was grand."

Overall, I give the Tesco: Almond a budget-friendly 6.0 / 10
Tammy gives the Tesco: Almond a yeah-it-was-grand 6.5 / 10
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Tesco Free-From Milk: Almond Drink (Unsweetened)
Photo: Brewji

2. Tesco Free-From: Almond Drink (Unsweetened)
Next, we have a product from the Tesco "Free From" range. Let me first say, the Tesco "Free From" range of products is an equivalent to the President's Choice range from Superstore back home, except the quality is much better. We prefer these "Free From" products to most expensive, brand-name products. It's not even that pricey, at €2.29 for a 1L carton.

If you've ever had Alpro almond milk, this tastes very similar. It might even be the exact same product with different packaging. But, you just don't get almond milk that tastes this good back in Canada.

Over cold cereal, it's like having milk with the flavour of slivered almonds in it. It's a great texture, not too thin, and thick enough to be a perfect companion to my cereal. In porridge, it works wonderfully and adds a nutty flavour that's quite pronounced and much enjoyed. 

Finally, my favourite use for this is in coffee. It works well in tea, too -- but it shines in coffee. It's better than adding milk and almond flavouring to a coffee. It's not as thick as cream, but adds that silky element to coffee while making it taste just right.

I give the Tesco Free-From: Almond Drink a why-doesn't-this-come-in-a-bigger-carton 8.5 / 10
Tammy gives the Tesco Free-From: Almond Drink a solid 8.0 / 10
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Alpro Roasted Almond Unsweetened
@Tesco, Drogheda, Co. Louth, Ireland
Photo: Brewji

3. Alpro Roasted Almond (Unsweetened)
Packaged in a similar container to the Tesco Free-From, the Alpro is also slightly more expensive at €2.49 for 1L. However, sometimes at Tesco it'll go on sale with a deal like 2 cartons for €3. This would be the time to stock up! 

I honestly can't tell much of a difference between this and the Tesco Free-From Almond milk. I haven't compared the ingredients from the back of the package...mainly because I accidentally already recycled the packaging. However, I'd consider this on par, or *slightly* higher than the previous. I may rate this slightly higher, but it may just be because this was the first truly great almond milk I tried in Ireland. 

On cereal, it seems to have a more almond flavour than the Tesco, slightly. I really appreciate this, as I love almonds in my cereal! In hot cereal such as Ready Brek, this is a no-brainer. Who wouldn't want nutty flavours in their porridge? Well, those allergic to it I guess. 

In coffee, I add two sugars and some of this almond milk...and I have no cravings for any fancy coffee. It's just that good. I'd love to get an espresso machine and see how this fares in a mocha or a latte.

I give the Alpro Roasted Almond (Unsweetened) a maybe-I'm-biased-but-my-heart-says-yes-please 9.0 / 10
Tammy gives the Alpro Roasted Almond (Unsweetened) a best-of-the-three 9.0 / 10
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Do YOU have any recommendations for a Canadian like me? 

Let me know! Comment below, or Tweet me @Brewji

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