This is the second review of the Shaka range from Vantastic Foods. A previous post has considered the creamy Shakalotta. A review of the strawberry Shakaberry will be forthcoming. Today we’re trying the exotic-sounding Shakaloha with its raspberry and calamansi flavouring!
Shakaloha comes in a cardboard box with 8 fingers of chocolate individually wrapped in silver paper. Take a moment to admire jaunty illustrations of the main flavours dancing in grass skirts. No, the green one isn’t a pear. It’s a calamansi!
Testers simply said ‘Revels‘ when asked for their impressions. But they were unable to articulate anything regarding the flavour in any detail. The Revels like flavour and texture has been noted in regard to other bars in the Shaka range. Maybe Vantastic Foods will take note and introduce a coffee/orange/coconut filling.
The taste while hard to pin down is rather lovely. It’s sweet but not too sweet. There is an initial taste of raspberry before the tart calamansi taste kicks in. And what is calamansi I hear you ask? It’s a citrus fruit largely grown in the Philippines. So a sharper taste to counter the sweetness of the raspberry which works splendidly.
Good to know
Shakaloha is palm oil and soy-free.
You can buy Shakaloha from the Vool online shop for £3.
An unusual flavour but it makes a delightful addition to the Shaka range.
Mahalo with coconut filling is the vegan bar of choice for those who miss bounty bars. It’s apart of the range from Go Max Go which are similar to certain popular non-vegan chocolate bars. For example, the Jokerz bar as an alternative to Snickers.
The turquoise wrapper with pink flowers references the tropical nature of the bar. It doesn’t appear to be recyclable; so another one for the eco bottle.
Mahalo is chocolate coated and has a somewhat bumpy appearance. It smells of coconut and very much the way I remember a bounty bar to be.
The chocolate has a creamy taste but it’s the texture that makes this work. The filling looks closer packed than a bounty but it isn’t really noticeable once you’re chomping away. And there’s something else that’s not very noticeable…
An interesting addition is the almonds that run along the length. While in the UK we think of this as a Bounty it’s actually based on the American Almond Joy. I’ve never eaten an Almond Joy so I can’t make a direct comparison. Maybe it enhances the flavour in some way? However, you could quite easily – and I have – eat this bar without even noticing the almonds.
Good to know
The bar is gluten-free.
Mahalo bars can be found in the Vool online shop priced at £3.50.
An excellent alternative to a Bounty with a great texture – and see if you can taste those almonds!
Super Fudgio is made in Poland by Me Gusto – what a great name! Their fudge is available in a variety of flavours including strawberry, toffee and banana. All 3 flavours have been popular with Vool customers but let’s see take a closer look at strawberry Super Fudgio.
First, let’s acknowledge the cute sloth characters that appear on all the packaging. Do sloths like vegan fudge? Who knows? Anyway, each packet contains 150g of individually wrapped sweets. None of it appears to be recyclable and the wrappers are mixed materials.
It’s dark in colour and smells sweet. A bit like demerara sugar. Which is interesting as it doesn’t contain any. The individual pieces feel quite solid when squeezed; a bit more like toffee than fudge. However, it’s suitably soft to bite into with a hint of crumble in the texture. On the subject of texture, it sits somewhere very pleasant between fudge and soft toffee.
The strawberry flavour isn’t overwhelming. There’s a hint of coconut but not too much. It’s very much like strawberry toffos -for anyone who is young enough to remember those. A definite dark sugar taste along with the strawberry.
Good to Know
The product doesn’t contain cane sugar. It’s sweetened with coconut sugar and rice syrup.
The pow design (as if the chocolate was hoping for a role in a superhero movie) is fun. Sadly the packaging is plastic and doesn’t look to be recyclable. So it’ll this one will be taking its place in the eco brick.
At 40g it weighs in at less than a Vego Mini bar but that might be a blessing for your waistline!
The Vegan Hero with hazelnuts looks good. It’s an appetising colour and has a good chunky appearance. It’s divided into 4 nicely sized squares. Of course, it looks even better when you turn it over and can see the hazelnuts!
Of course, the real test is the taste. And the taste is great. It has the same melt in the mouth quality that Vego has (and might even taste better). The hazelnuts work well against the sweetness of the chocolate. The chunkiness is pleasing to sink your teeth into.
Good to know
The Vegan Hero with Hazelnuts is gluten free as is the whole range.
Just what is schakalotta? It’s one of the varieties of the schaka chocolate bar. The others are schakaberry and schakaloha. Each product consists of 8 individually wrapped fingers of chocolate.
Schakalotta comes in a blue cardboard packet. There’s a graphic of a cocoa bean and a milk churn. Initially, it looks a bit alarming; somewhat akin to the cow that appears on Kohbonbon caramels. However, a closer inspection reveals that the cocoa bean – with fetching pigtails – appears to be kicking the milk churn!
The fingers of chocolate inside in individually wrapped in paper. So good work on recyclable packing here. Additionally, the 8 fingers seem pretty handy if you are consuming with pleasurable caution and limiting yourself to one a day.
There’s a slight smell of creamy chocolate when the packet is opened. However, there’s nothing overwhelming to start the taste buds salivating. Each finger is scored into 3 pieces (breakfast, lunch and dinner?).
Tastewise I initially struggled to find a way to describe the taste that wasn’t simply ‘creamy’. The flavour was tricky to pin down. It wasn’t vanilla or caramel but it was lingeringly familiar. Then, after considerable consumption, a pre-vegan memory surfaced. Yes, it tasted somewhat similar to Kinder chocolate.
The texture is similar to Kinder as well. It’s firm but not hard. Placing in the fridge for an hour or so further enhances a very pleasing texture experience.
Vegan marshmallows have come a long way. It wasn’t so long ago that consumption was limited to the homemade variety purchased for an eye-wateringly high price a vegan fair. The prices haven’t changed much but what’s available has.
When Sainsburys stocks mini vegan marshmallows – and there are rumours that Poundstretcher has them- you know that it’s time to go the next level.
The next level, in this case, being Belgium chocolate coated.
The Vool squad gave Mallow Puffs a try in both vanilla bean and salted caramel flavour.
Opening the packet
The first bite
The bag are re-sealable (consume responsibly people) but sadly not recyclable. However, you might be distracted by the fantastic smell of chocolate as the pack is cut open.
The sensation of chocolate breaking to give way to soft mallow is pretty cool. The chocolate is rich and creamy living up to its high-class Belgium claims. The manufacturers, Baru, are from Belgium so maybe it’s no surprise.
The marshmallows are soft and not too gooey. Apparently the texture is something that Baru has worked feeling that none of the currently available products was quite right.
The contrast in textures between mallow and chocolate works well. So well it’s tempting to just keep popping them in one’s mouth…
If you try both flavours go for the vanilla bean first. If you taste them the other way round the vanilla is underwhelming. This doesn’t mean the vanilla is bad just that the salted caramel is very good. The taste and texture are akin to bite-sized pieces of Milky Way. Those with a more delicate palate might favour the vanilla.
Selling at £3.50 for a 100g bag these aren’t cheap. However, stuffing an entire bag of sweets down your throat in one sitting isn’t really very good for you. It’s all about consuming with pleasurable caution. We thought a couple of these made a nice after-dinner treat (akin to a finger of fudge being just enough).
These are definitely nice enough to take your time over. Salted caramel got our vote but don’t let that put you off the less strongly flavoured vanilla bean.
What were the bestsellers for Vool in May 2019? Which vegan goodies were you most enthused by last month?
Dandies Marshmallows had been much requested. They were barely in stock before they were out of stock again. Mini Dandies have now been added to the shop and regular sized marshmallows are now (just!) available once again. Get your hands on these marshmallows before they go!
I debated over which flavours of Walnut Whirls to stock. They come in orange, peppermint, coffee and chocolate. They are particularly delicious with thick chocolate that you have to sink your teeth into in order to get at the delicious truffle filling. Coffee has slightly outsold chocolate – but only just. Excitingly these come in completely compostable packing which is a welcome step. There are a couple of chocolate truffle whirls still in stock with new supplies arriving soon.
It’s like strawberry Revells in bar form – hello shakaberry. The individually wrapped fingers theoretically make it really easy not to succumb to the whole thing at once. The last bars sold over the weekend but they’ll be back soon.
What’s the deal with the Thumbs Up bar then? It’s part of the Go Max Go range which offers vegan chocolate bar alternatives to Snickers, Milky Way, Twix, Mars, Bounty and so on.
What is it?
Part of the fun is figuring out which bar will give you the taste experience you’ve been missing. When first ordering the range for Vool the Thumbs Up nearly didn’t make the cut. I simply didn’t know what it was. A bit of digging informed me that it was an alternative to the Butterfinger. That wasn’t much help to me. My only point of reference to the Butterfinger bar came from the teen novel ‘I Stay Near You’ by M.E. Kerr. The teen narrator tells his rock star father that they are his favourite candy bar! It’s probably a different situation if you live in the US but there isn’t really anything like this in the UK.
However, anything described as ‘peanut-buttery’ has got to be a good thing and the pale blue wrapper looked pretty cool next to the rest of the range. So I ordered a box and was surprised by the way they swiftly developed a bit of a following. Customers would appear at my stall to buy them and nothing else would do. They were turning into a cult product…
So what are they like? What’s the appeal? What’s inside the wrapper?
Rip (or cut with scissors so it looks better for a photo) the wrapper and the Thumbs up is a cylinder-shaped bar. I attempted to cut it half with a knife to show off the centre but it wasn’t having that!
Beneath a layer of chocolate lurks the splintery ‘peanut-buttery’ centre. That’s not to suggest that you’ll be jabbed in the mouth by something massively fibrous. Splinter here describes the appearance of the crunchy peanut centre.
So what does it actually taste like?
Actually describing the taste and texture of a Thumbs Up is a bit challenging and it makes me wonder how I’d get on describing Jokerz, Buccaneer, Twilight, 2fer and Mahalo with being about to compare them to mainstream chocolate.
A customer once described it as ‘really crunchy peanut butter honeycomb’. I’ve heard it referred to as having a peanut brittle filling. For me, it was like a Dime bar made with peanut instead of almonds roll into a tube.
The Vool Verdict:
If you like peanut butter you owe it to yourself to give this one a go. now by heading over to the Vool online shop
Our bestsellers in April 2019 were no surprise in many ways!
Vegan sausage and beans in a can have been a popular product with our customers. Right back to when Vool first stuck some products on a table back in November 2017. Beans are always a winner. The addition of V Bites sausages means you can’t go wrong. We actually sold out of these but new supplies are on their way! In the meanwhile why don’t you try beans and vegan burgers in a can?
Whity in a tub has been popular for a while now. It’s handy to stick in your desk drawer or bag. Then use as a vegan take on Coffee Mate. Maybe the approach of the holiday season has pushed this companion product to the fore? The coffee whitener (but also great in tea) now comes in handy 3g packets. These are ideal if you’re travelling and have to limit the liquids you can pack.
And this one is the least surprising of the lot. The Almond Bliss Vego White bar has been so popular in the short period since its release. The combination of almonds and white chocolate have been a winner in the Vego White. If you’ve tried and liked the combination then why don’t you also try the Vegan Hero bar?
So there you have it; bestsellers in April 2019. What vegan goodies did you enjoy in April?
Drumstick Choos are Drumstick lollies but without the stick. It also turns out they are suitable for vegans. So do they bring childhood memories flooding back? Or do they just taste good? We had to open a packet…
It’s been years since a Drumstick passed my lips. The wrapping that the lollies came in wasn’t exactly designed for a thorough examination of the ingredients. In fact, these nearly didn’t make it onto our stock list. Despite hearing rumours that they were vegan the box from the wholesaler was a bit uninformative.
Suitable for vegans?
Even on the individual bags, it states ‘suitable for vegetarians’ on the front, but ‘suitable for vegetarians and vegans on the back’. But let’s not dwell too long on this and rejoice that they are suitable for vegans – and the packet says this at least once!
Now in 5 flavours
It turns out that Drumstick Choos come in 5 double flavours; original raspberry and milk, strawberry and cream, apple and cherry, peaches and cream, and strawberry and banana. That the original flavour was a creamy raspberry was a bit of a revelation. I’d never given much thought to the flavour and doubt I would have been able to pin it down to raspberry.
The wrappers are colour coded to help you select the flavour you want. But the packet doesn’t show you what colour the wrappers are. It just tells you the flavours and shows the unwrapped sweets. This meant that my attempt to use the colour coding was more challenging than I anticipated. I assumed that the red and yellow wrapper would be strawberry and banana. However, it turns out that these were the colours of the original drumstick wrapper so they represent raspberry and milk. Strawberry and banana are wrapped in a slightly paler yellow and pink.
The colours can look quite similar. So if you’re picky about getting peaches and cream rather than strawberries and cream select your chew in bright light.
Quite frankly after extensive testing, I would be happy to eat any of them. You can taste the different flavours well enough but they still all have a tang of the original flavour. Should you need further help I have lined up the wrappers with the flavours below. You’re welcome.
The Vool verdict:
A delicious taste of days gone by at a bargain price. These (and other goodies) are in our online shop now.