Earlier in the summer I went to our work's 'Away Day' at a pub. Yes it really was an all day work meeting but having it out of the work environment and at a beautifully located pub really does help....honest! That pub was the 13th Century Pandora Inn on Restronguet Creek, near Falmouth. It is beautifully located and well worth a visit for that fact alone.
Part of the day involved us all having lunch together. Believe it or not out of the twenty of us there, two of us are vegan and three more chose to eat vegan so we requested this beforehand. The landlady, Catherine, was amazing (and indeed has been in previous years we have been there too). Not only were we provided with the most amazing vegan tapas boards to share between our vegan table but, not wanting us vegans to be left out of the sweet treats, she had ordered us specially made Chocolate and Almond Bars. They were to die for and, lucky old me, seeing as I was the last of us vegans to leave at the end of the day, I got to take away what the others had foolishly left behind! Phil therefore got a little taster too and has been badgering me ever since to make some.
The bars were merely labelled up with a hand written list of ingredients (obviously no amounts though) which was at least helpful in my efforts to replicate these wonders (couldn't wait until next Away Day to try them again!). I've had a couple of attempts now. The first was very edible indeed and very similar but not quite there. I made the mistake of deciding that the mixture was a little too dry and so added in a little coconut oil, which was not on the list of original ingredients. Yesterday, during my rainy day cooking session and after another request for these from Phil, I had my second attempt and this time stuck to the original list. The result has been much better and I am not entirely sure I will actually get much myself once Phil discovers them in the fridge.
So below is my attempt at these wonderful bars which from now on in our minds we will refer to as those Pandora Chocolate and Almond Bars. By the way, I was so impressed with the service and atmosphere at the Pandora that I have since taken my whole family there for my parent's 50th wedding anniversary meal. This time Catherine arranged for a wonderful vegan lemon cake to be made. When a lovely member of staff came in with a box to pack up any remains of the cake for us to take with us, he discovered that there were no remains. My family had finished it off in one fell swoop!
The Pandora Inn may not be a fully vegetarian or vegan establishment but, with notice, they are more than happy and capable of catering for vegans. The atmosphere, setting and customer service is unbeatable and it is definitely a good choice for those occasions when the vegans are in the minority of a group of diners.
Pandora Chocolate and Almond Bars (Scooby's Take!)
6 dates (soaked for at least 30 minutes beforehand)
1 cup oats
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup pistachios
1/2 cup walnuts
1 bar vegan chocolate (I used a 150g bar of Vivani Rice Cooking Chocolate)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Drain the dates and add with all the ingredients except the chocolate and maple syrup into a blender. Whizz, whizz, whizz until the mixture comes together. Press this mixture into a sandwich box or other container of around 8" x 5". Pop in the fridge whilst you make the topping. Break up the chocolate and place in a glass bowl with the maple syrup. Place the bowl over a saucepan of water on a hob and gently melt it. Once it is sufficiently fluid (I must admit I did add a splash of hemp milk to loosen it a little) pour the chocolate over the base and smooth down. Pop back in the fridge to set fully before slicing. Keep in the fridge during those odd moments when it isn't being consumed!