I almost always cook gluten-free pudding from scratch (chocolate pudding being my favorite) using the recipe right out of our cookbook. But, on occasion (like when going to the grocery store hungry!) the convenience of a pre-made chocolate pudding is appealing, and during the last trip to the store, I actually found this Kozy Shack brand gluten-free chocolate pudding that I gave in and purchased.
The deciding factors for the purchase: clearly labeled "gluten-free" on the back, and the ingredient list was not too far from "homemade" (the only difference being the addition of carrageenan; a thickener / gum). Aside from that, it is just what you might expect in a chocolate pudding recipe: milk, sugar, tapioca starch, cocoa, salt, and natural flavorings. I had other pudding options to look over in the store at the same time, and the "competition" (that lost out) all suffered from a variety of issues like not being labeled gluten-free, or being full of artificial stuff, or even more gums and thickeners, etc. Kozy Shack passed my first test, and now it just had to make it home for the taste-test...
Taste and Texture
This pudding is really, really good! The thickness/consistency is nearly perfect: it is not too thick (not over-gummed!), but instead it is in my opinion just right - the thickness that a good pudding should present with. Kozy Shack is definitely satisfying with a smooth and creamy texture, and plenty of chocolate flavor from ample amounts of cocoa. It tastes natural from start to finish - no chemical/artificial taste or aftertaste like some other puddings I have encountered in the past. This Kozy Shack chocolate pudding is quite similar to a homemade gluten-free chocolate pudding in both taste and texture, but without the effort of cooking yourself.
The container I found was 22-ounces in size, which is to yield about 6 servings of 1/2 cup each, and 140 calories each. Well, this is where my only problem comes in: I consider this container to be about two servings -- one for me, and one for my wife :) We both really loved the pudding, and it definitely did not last long. We could use the excuse of "getting our calcium and protein" in our gluten-free diet perhaps, but the fact is, it just really tasted great and made for a nice dessert / snack.
I give this Kozy Shack gluten-free dessert a definitely-positive recommendation. Now, I look forward to trying their OTHER desserts / snacks, which include tapioca pudding, flan, and some others - including sugar-free varieties and soy-pudding varieties (presumably targeting dairy-free diets). I checked the Kozy Shack web site to see what their gluten-statement is, and it says:
I like being able to quickly locate that type of Celiac-friendly information, both on the web, and on the physical products... now I need to track down that flan of theirs to evaluate - and in two varieties! Yum!
Is Kozy Shack gluten-free?
Kozy Shack puddings, flans, and gels are gluten-free.