Keeping treats sweet without the sugar


We never add refined sugar to our food. It’s one of the fundamentals of Rose & Mary’s philosophy of wholesome eating. Between the blood sugar surge, the post-high crash and the effects on your liver and waistline, there are many reasons to reduce or eliminate sugar from your diet.

So how do we keep our dishes so addictive, without any of the hidden tricks of sugar, excess salt and additives common in other takeaways? The secret lies in using the best ingredients and cooking techniques to maximise natural flavours. And when it comes to treats, using small amounts of natural sweeteners that even have benefits for your health.

In our savoury dishes, the only sugars present come from the vegetables alone. All the fibre in this fresh produce slows the rate at which these sugars reach your liver, unlike the sudden rush to the bloodstream that refined sugars supply.

In our desserts, we use small quantities of raw artisan honey and Finnish xylitol, depending on what the texture of a dish requires. Our homemade granola has a touch of honey to bind the oats, nuts, flaxseeds, vanilla and coconut. And our cuajada comes with a drizzle of honey to balance the tartness of the sheep’s milk. Honey has long been used for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits, and may even provide allergy relief and boost memory.

Desserts like our jasmine panna cotta use xylitol, a natural powdered sweetener derived from birch trees. Ours comes from sustainable birch forests of Finland, where the wood of the trees is used for paper and the remnants are used for xylitol.

Xylitol has only a third the calories of sugar, and because it is so low on the glycemic index, it won’t raise your blood glucose level like sugar does. In fact, it’s often recommended to diabetics as a sugar alternative because it has no effect on insulin levels.

And if you ask a dentist, you’ll learn that xylitol and sugar are truly polar opposites. While sugar is synonymous with tooth decay, xylitol actually helps prevent caries by killing plaque-causing bacteria in the mouth. Based on recommendations from Finnish health authorities, kindergarten children are given xylitol sweets after their meals.

A word of warning, though: while xylitol is good for humans, it can be toxic to dogs. So please don’t share your treats with your canine friends.

Whether we’re using honey or xylitol, the level of sweetness in our treats is much lower than in standard desserts. We find that a light touch with sweetener brings out the other elements in a dessert, and we think your taste buds will love the difference.

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