Utilizing that coconut for all of its magical powers, the product innovators at Turtle Mountain have come full circle with their new line of coconut-based dairy-free products. First, they had us drooling over Purely Decadent coconut “ice cream,” then they wowed us with So Delicious coconut yogurt, and now we have (drumroll please) … the coconut beverage. Hmm, is it like coconut water? No, not at all. Is it coconut milk? Well, sort of. They have toned down the fat and richness of coconut milk to make a multi-purpose dairy-free beverage that is not unlike soymilk or rice milk in purpose, yet in this reviewer’s opinion, much better.
I am guessing some of you are wondering the same thing that I was, “Can’t you just water down coconut milk to get the same result?” Um, no. Trust me, I have tried … on more than one occasion. Of course, when cooking or baking, diluting coconut milk can easily work, but if we are talking a suitable milk alternative to sip from a glass, pour over cereal, or just whip out of the fridge whenever a whole milk alternative is needed, then So Delicious has the winning answer.
Wait a minute, did I say whole milk alternative? Yes indeed; if I could only pick one point to rave about this new product, it would be its similarities to whole milk. Anyone who has already lived a bit in the no dairy world is probably familiar with the fact that soymilk is about as thick and rich as it gets when you are seeking a “milk” with a little fat. Those few extra grams are useful for growing kids, can amp up the indulgence factor of ordinary meals, and offer up creamy desserts while still maintaining a low-fat profile. Overall, So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage has 5g of fat per serving, which is reflected in its extremely smooth and perfectly rich texture that looks like a dream as it pours. It will also debut in three flavors:
Rich, thick, and delightfully sweet with a hint of vanilla, I was immediately smitten by the drinkability of this more indulgent flavor. Since I am a coconut fan, I decided to run this beverage by my husband who has coconut-sensitive taste buds. His first reaction was, “ I don’t taste coconut at all; it tastes like vanilla ice cream!” This milk alternative is an excellent option for a sweet drink, shakes, and desserts. I ran out of my supplies before I could trial it in pudding, but I think this would also be a good fit.
The same bright-white color greeted my eyes, and a deliciously rich flavor met my taste buds. Without the extra sugars and vanilla, I could taste hints of coconut in the original, but it was definitely milder than coconut milk. I trialed it in a savory dish, and it was just a bit too sweet in nature. I think it would still work in places such as low fat curries and sweet potato soups, but for recipes that don’t naturally flow with coconut and a touch of sweetness, I would hold off and reserve it for my favorite applications: dousing granola, blending smoothies, and making a truly non-dairy mug of hot chocolate. In my opinion, most milk alternatives seem to produce a somewhat watery hot cocoa, but this one adds that wonderful, full-bodied feel.
This version was not yet ready for sampling, but I am hoping it will fill in where the other two left off, providing a good base for savory cream sauces and soups.
Half-gallons of So Delicious Coconut Non-Dairy Beverage will start appearing in the refrigerated section of natural food stores (next to the soymilk) in March 2009.
Now, before you all swarm me with emails asking for the nutritional profile of this “milk,” this really is an unbiased third-party review. Go Dairy Free is not affiliated with Turtle Mountain, I am a non-dairy milk drinker just like you … who just happened to get a sneak peek at this new product. But, since I knew you would be wondering, I have copied the nutritionals here for all of those inquiring minds!
So Delicious Original Coconut Milk Beverage – Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup (240 mL)
Servings Per Container 8
Calories from Fat 50
Total Fat 5g (9%)
Saturated Fat 5g† (25%)
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg (0%)
Sodium 15mg (1%)
Potassium 90mg (3%)
Total Carbohydrate 7g (2%)
Dietary Fiber 0g (0%)
Vitamin A 10%
Vitamin C 0%
Vitamin D 30%
Vitamin B12 50%
INGREDIENTS: Coconut Cream (Water, Coconut, Guar Gum), Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Calcium Phosphate, Magnesium Phosphate, Carrageenan, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D-2, L-Selenomethionine (Selenium), Zinc Oxide, Folic Acid, Vitamin B-12.
The Vanilla flavor has 6g of sugar and 90 calories per serving, while the Unsweetened has 0g of sugar and 50 calories per serving. Otherwise, they looked pretty well the same.