Olivia Wollenberg was a self-confessed sugar addict until being diagnosed with severe food intolerances in 2014. She started by making her first recipe – crumble – in her parents' kitchen and then began sharing her free-from recipe creations on her blog.
Fast forward 5 years and Livia's is now a well-established gluten-free vegan snack brand with several delicious and enticing products on offer, from millionaire bites to cookies with nut butter dips. We were sent a few of her products to try and give our verdict.
Million Squares - Chocolate Orange
The main ingredient in all of the Livia's products we were sent is date paste, making up over half of the product at 57%. The other ingredients include foods like coconut oil and maple syrup, meaning all of the ingredients in these products are natural. Dates are a popular choice for health food brands as they provide natural sweetness and are suitable for people with an intolerance to allergens like wheat and dairy.
Each 60g serving of Livia's Million Squares contains 212 calories which is very respectable for something that doesn't pretend not to be a 'treat'. There is 26.8g of sugar which is very high, however these are not marketed as being healthy, they are marketed as being an indulgent treat for people who can't enjoy the usual choices of chocolate bars or cakes.
The chocolate orange flavour is really delightful in these Million Squares and they are definitely a delicious alternative to classic millionaire shortbread. This product utilises orange oil and orange zest, both of which bring out a subtle yet tangy orange tang and make these bites really enjoyable. Each 60g packet contains 3 little squares and the serving size is perfect.
Nugglets - Raw Choc Brownie
I was really excited to try the Nugglets as the bite-size pieces are really fun and inciting and they make the perfect mid-afternoon snack to munch on at your desk when you're feeling peckish after lunch.
The raw choc brownie nugglets are devilishly dark and chocolatey without being too bitter and are definitely reminiscent of a chewy, delicious brownie. I'm a huge fan of chocolate brownie anyway, so having a version that is appropriate for people who can't usually enjoy brownies is great. All of the ingredients in Livia's products are natural which makes these treats almost guilt-free and they are an excellent alternative to highly processed foods which are full of chemicals, refined sugar, and other nasites.
Nugglets - Raw Cookie Dough
I am a huge fan of cookie dough – as I am sure are a lot of people! – so finding a completely guilt-free raw cookie dough treat is like finding Atlantis. These raw cookie dough nugglets really do taste like delicious cookie dough which I found very impressive.
There are quite a few vegan recipes circulating fitness and health blogs which utilise chickpeas to make it edible raw, however these often end up just tasting of chickpeas and not like the tasty cookie dough we know and love. On the contrary, Livia's vegan gluten-free cookie dough nugglets really taste like cookie dough and are absolutely delicious! The chocolate coating adds a touch of luxury and they are the perfect snack for any occasion or for putting into kids' lunch boxes for school.
Nugglets - Salted Almond Butter
Saving the best until last: the salted almond butter nugglets were my favourite out of all the Livia's products I was sent to try. The chunks of almond dotted throughout the tasty little bites created a delicious texture and the delicate chocolate coating added just enough sweetness and indulgence without being too sickly or overpowering. The texture is soft and chewy and they were all gone before I knew it!
These treats make for the perfect sporting fuel thanks to their high sugar content as well as just being an occasional treat, especially for people who have an food intolerance and don't want any pain or discomfort associated with eating gluten or dairy. Sundried have a few ambassadors with Coeliac disease and I'm sure that treats like this would be immensely popular amongst them!
Livia's treats are available in Waitrose, Tesco, Boots, WHSmith, Sainsbury's and many other stockists.