Booja-Booja is a dairy-free alternative, a range of products I am becoming more interested in trying since arriving at uni and a) Meeting a friend with a severe lactose allergy, hence learning all about the delicious alternatives out there on offer and, b) Discovering that too much dairy leads to break outs for me. Although I have no plans to cut out dairy, I would rather eat the dairy I allow myself in the form of Greek yoghurt or cottage cheese than ice cream. Because I know which will benefit me more. And although the occasional scoop or five of Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup may be nice, it also brings back memories or the time I got in post cocktail bar crawl and ate the entire tub…
It’s hard to ignore that most ice creams contain more sugar than you should really eat in a day- if that scoop accidently slips and you get two servings say. Then you have all of the artificial colours, flavours, pieces of suspicious looking “candy” or “brownie”- closer to gravel and scouring pads in texture and taste than anything else. Well, not Booja-Booja. The two flavours I have tried so far contained the following ingredients:
- Agave syrup
- Cashew nuts
- Keep Smiling Vanilla M’Gorilla flavour: Vanilla extract
- Feisty Rollercoastery Ginger flavour: Root Ginger Juice (juiced by Booja-Booja. If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is)
That’s it. No refined sugar, no soya, no milk, no gluten (so if you’re coeliac then this is one for you too). The use of cashew nuts is what makes the ice-cream rich and smooth, but without the overpowering flavour you tend to get with coconut or almond bases- or that lingering rich sickliness of other coconut products, such as some yoghurts I’ve tried. Think of cashew butter: it’s just sweet, and doesn’t have much of a taste other than a subtle nuttiness. The final three ingredients are organically grown, which makes very little difference to me, but y’know, is good to know if you’re concerned about organic produce. As a student, I literally can’t afford to be. Which brings me to the price…
Although I cant afford organic produce on a day to day basis, I can occasionally afford to treat myself. And for £6.99 at Holland & Barrett’s (£5.99 in my local health food store though) this is definitely a treat. The tub contains 500ml, and so I am looking at 5 portions (maybe 4. Okay 3.), and considering my ice cream craving monster doesn’t rear its head too often, I think that this price is something I can just about tolerate in order to get my fix. Ben & Jerry’s, Almond Dream, Oppo….although ranging in how healthy they are, all cost within the £4-£7 mark. I’m quite happy to pay £2 more than I would for Almond Dream and receive a dairy free alternative that tastes amazing, and is relatively healthy. Which means I have probably just convinced myself I could eat more ice cream.
Now, texture and taste: the things that really matter. The first time I scooped it out of the tub this ice-cream was super creamy, decadently rich, and tastes exactly how the label makes it sound. However, it had been carried home from Holland and Barratt’s, and so off-ice for 20 minutes. Other dairy-free ice-creams I’ve had the (mis)fortune to try have resembled sorbet, or just plain ice with some syrup blended in. Not Booja-Booja. I could have been eating Italian gelato for all its creaminess. Easy to scoop (I did so with a spoon in place of an ice cream scoop- for some reason we don’t own one of those, though my flat mate has a range of fancy corkscrews for her wine). So easy that two servings may just have found their way into my bowl. However, once it had been back in the freezer 24 hours it was near impossible to scoop. I left it out for about 15 minutes and it’s silky smooth texture returned though (I also tried microwaving in the tub for 5-10 seconds the time I got too impatient. Although I doubt I can condone this, it does work).
The flavours I have tried have both been true to their descriptions, but the ginger is my absolute go-to flavour. I could eat the entire 500ml of this in one sitting (and regret it probably, as it is rich. Two servings in one go is definitely manageable though. But I strive to excel in all areas of my life, so maybe 500ml will happen one day).
Feisty Rollercoastery Ginger…
Still lusciously creamy, still with sweetness, but also a real stem ginger kick. This is most apparent once you swallow some, and then get a lovely humming warmth in your throat and mouth. The perfect ginger aftertaste. It isn’t a sickly gingerbread syrup flavour, but a grown up real ginger wonder.
Keep Smiling Vanilla M’Gorilla…
Sweet, strong on the vanilla, and one for anyone who appreciates vanilla ice cream containing actual vanilla pod because that’s the flavour you get here. Richer than the ginger version, and so could probably get sickly quite quickly. A definite for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Okay, what about the nutritional values? Well, per 100ml…
Keep Smiling Vanilla M’Gorilla
1.2g saturated fat
Feisty Rollercoastery Ginger
1.2g saturated fat
Well played Booja-Booja. Well played. I was insanely happy with these nutritional values. Lets compare the vanilla to 100ml Almond Dream Vanilla, which contains the following: 140kcal, 7g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 18g carbs, 12g sugar, 1g protein. Pretty similar isn’t it? But then we look at the ingredients. Compared to Booja-Booja’s 4 ingredients, Almond Dream contains 13. Including evaporated cane juice (sugar), oil, and a couple of gums. I feel that with Booja-Booja I’m getting the best of both worlds when it comes to ingredients and nutritional values, and value for money on the sensory scale.
Booja-Booja, fortunately for me since this could become a slight addiction, have other flavours of ice cream on offer.
- Hunky Punky Chocolate
- Pompous Maple Pecan
- Coconut Hullaballoo
Having said already just how much of a treat buying a tub of this is I doubt I’ll be able to try them all before the year is out, but hopefully I’ll get through a couple more- and be able to tell you how each successively blew the former out of the water. Although it’ll be hard to beat the ginger, which is the flavour I recommend trying.
Booja-Booja also stock chocolate truffles, and when I mentioned this to my friend (incidentally she has a blog as well: http://studentwithallergy.blogspot.co.uk/) her eyes actually lit up as she reverently whispered “they’re so good”- but being students they’re more of a Christmas gift or treat to one’s fabulous self than an every day purchase. These come in too many different flavours to count, including hazelnut crunch, rhubarb and vanilla, almond and sea salt, and raspberry chocolate. I plan on trying to track down the almond and sea salt to begin with.
Looks like I have a lot of completely-for-the-benefit-of-my-readers tasting to do…