I promised last night that we’d be bringing you another snack tasting and today we’re off to… Ukraine! Ukraine is a country that has been in the news a lot in recent years after the annexation of Crimea by Russia. Regardless of your opinion on the crisis, it was this conflict that really introduced me to world politics and through reading and studying, I finally came to understand that conflict and war is never as simple as we may think. Far from being a simple matter of one country pitching a fight with another, I came to understand that factions within any country can start or shape a conflict and so, in an extremely bizarre (and saddening) way, thankyou, Ukraine, for presenting me with an opportunity to better understand why this matters so much to your country. Thankyou for enabling me to grow as a person and thankyou for helping me to better understand the world around me. Regardless of which side you stand with, war and conflict is something that nobody should have to experience and I hope that wherever and whoever you are, you and your loved ones are now safe, well and happy. For those who tragically lost their lives in conflict, may they be forever remembered in our hearts.
One of the things we love about the SnackCrate boxes is the little QR code that allows you to ‘scan for jamz’. Whilst you’re tasting snacks from a country, you can listen to music and truly appreciate culture as well as food. For example, we found that music from Israel is very vibrant and energetic, whereas music from France was much more cultured and classical. Ukraine was romantic and homely, which we loved.
In this box, there were not less than three wafers. You guys know I don’t mind trying out wafers, but damn, three of them?! We’d be wafered out for sure, but you know what we’re all here for. So shall we begin?
Salute Corn Sticks
More dill and sour cream corn puffs, and to be honest, I was worried after last time. Still, reservations aside, every snack has the right to a fair trial.
Winner or Binner? I have to be honest, we were pleasantly surprised. There’s more flavour to these puffs, and nothing tastes synthetic about them. They do stick to the roof of your mouth, but if you can be cool with that, then you can be cool with these. The leaflet does say they go well with a drink, but we didn’t have a drink, so it’s our bad. No artificial colourings, flavours or preservatives and you can even see tiny flecks of dill on these, too. Great for nibbling on, a Winner.
Now, the packet says ketchup flavour, but the leaflet says they’re salt and vinegar flavour. I’m skeptical about these, and mostly because flavours with high acidity tend to give me lip sores. Still, it’s for our readers, so there’s no backing out. The things I do…
Winner or Binner? Okay, so it’s a ketchup flavour, but to be honest, it’s kind of not. You know that really sweet, diluted, sachet ketchup that you get in fish and chip shops? That’s kind of what these taste like. Ketchup flavour in the UK tends to be quite acidic, and these weren’t, at all. Even if British ketchup flavour normally gives me sores, I still kind of prefer it to these. The texture is good, kind of like our French Fries, but lighter. Still, even in spite of that, the flavour puts us off. Sorry Ukraine, it’s a Binner.
Grr… SnackCrate! The leaflet says these are crab flavour, but we got sent cheese. We’re not complaining, I mean, it’s not “frog’s rear end” or something really strange, but it’s still not the flavour that’s been advertised. Minor grievances aside, these are cheese flavour rye bread croutons – awesome!
Winner or Binner? I hate to draw comparisons given certain geopolitical situations, but even Matt noticed that these were very similar to the croutons that we’d previously tried from Russia (a post which seems to have disappeared out of the blue!). Whilst the Russian salmon croutons with their tartare dip were a huge hit, these croutons were really crunchy and cheesy and even if I didn’t want to admit it, I found it interesting how little things like this had carried over between the rivals. Regardless of politics. In the case of rye bread croutons, both are Winners!
Big Bob, or Big Bob Nuts. I’m not sure what’s worse, but I’m trying to be mature. It’s hard (that doesn’t help!) but, really, I’m trying. All jokes aside, these are wasabi-flavoured, coated peanuts. I’m hesitant, I’ve never actually tried wasabi before.
Winner or Binner? Ddamnit, Ukraine! If my dog will do any trick in the dog training handbook for the taste of puffed beef jerky, then I would consider doing most things for another taste of these. That bright green colour is initially disconcerting, but otherwise, these are incredible! These were haunting me all day and, I think, might even give my beloved kaneelstok a run for its money. I absolutely adore horseradish sauce and these nuts were admittedly almost the same. How have I ever gone so long without wasabi in my life? It’s a “big, fat W” from me, and another Winner for Matt.
Kresko Sticks Black
As someone who really digs breakfast-on-the-go things, I was really interested to try a breakfast-on-the-go from another country. I’m someone who normally gets up and gets on with the day, so for me, breakfast needs to be something that I can have with a cup of tea while blogging or journalling. Matt was perturbed by the idea of these sticks being black, but I was curious as to the reason why. Was it a food colouring? A mineral? A seaweed extract? Okay, enough questions, it’s time to find out.
Winner or Binner? Okay, so I think the ‘black’ comes from cocoa, because if you look really, really closely, you can actually see that these sticks are more of a very dark brown. Texturally, they do have that fortified cereal, sticks-to-your-teeth kind of texture, but the centre is soft and creamy with a good flavour of vanilla. It’s sweet, but not obscenely so. Matt wasn’t overkeen, but for a busy person, these are superb. Just be sure to remember to add in some fruit or vegetables somewhere throughout your morning.
Did someone say lemon? I’m here! Matt was hesitant about these definitely-not-Oreo-inspired cookies because, he says, “sometimes lemon-flavoured stuff can taste like washing-up liquid”. Whilst I was quietly curious as to how many bottles of Fairy he’d guzzled to get to that conclusion, I at least respected his opinion.
Winner or Binner? My first criticism of these cookies is that the biscuit part is very dry. There’s a lot of cocoa going on in here and unfortunately, that does dry your mouth out. The lemon cream was very mild and with the dark cocoa biscuit, it was hard to detect the lemon at all. A good try and not a bad snack, but certainly not something we would be willing to sail the seven seas for. A Binner.
By all accounts, Timi wasn’t on the leaflet and so shouldn’t have even been in the box. Nonetheless, Timi is our first (and smallest) of three wafer biscuits. Timi is sandwiched with a banana cream and covered in milk chocolate. It sounds sweet, but here’s to you, Ukraine!
Winner or Binner? Wow! For one little square, Timi packs in an awful lot of wafer! The banana cream is pretty good, and certainly not as sweet (and more realistic) than some other banana wafers. Congratulations, Ukraine, you managed it! It’s a Winner.
Another choco wafer, this time naked and uncoated, but we can deal. This is quite a big packet so we assumed there were quite a few wafers in there. It feels like two stacks of maybe two or three wafers, so that’s plenty.
Winner or Binner? Son of a… ! There’s no stacks here at all, it’s just two wafers; two very thick, pretty broken up and crumbly wafers. They don’t feel light, they feel heavy and almost like a meal in and of themselves. Tastewise, they don’t really have anything going on for the sheer density of the wafer and the chocolate filling is rather dense and claggy. Sorry Ukraine, this one’s another Binner.
“Here you go, lazy cow” Matt said, tossing our next snack onto the table and smirking proudly at himself. I glared at him for a second until I realised that indeed, this snack was called Lazy Cow. This wafer is sandwiched with condensed milk flavoured cream. It could be too sweet for me, but let’s try.
Winner or Binner? I don’t know why, but I was getting “soft serve vibes” from this wafer, I just felt like I should be sitting on a picnic bench under the sun and lapping up the sweet dairy flavour of the popular summer’s day treat. The chocolate coating was the richest of the three, and the wafer was light and creamy. It’s not too much and not too sweet, our favourite wafer of the three. A Winner.
Oh dear, if there was any treat that hasn’t survived transportation, it was this one. You can see how it was supposed to look, and unfortunately, you can also see how it arrived. The leaflet says that this squished out mess was once a dessert compromising of sugar biscuits, cappuccino jelly and whipped cream, coated in chocolate. We operated on this travesty and halved it as best as we could. Now, let’s give it a taste.
Winner or Binner? Okay, so the coffee flavour is strong in this one, but there’s also something slightly alcoholic coming through. The whipped cream isn’t really cream at all, it’s more of a very sticky marshmallow. It’s not a bad treat, but unfortunately, it can’t outdo our favourite. It’s a Binner.
Roshen Dark Choco
Do you remember how I talked about not drawing comparisons? Yeah… that again. The Alyonka chocolate bar has a very similar regal appearance and it has ties in with Russia’s history. In a similar vein, this fondant-centred bar is named after the former Ukrainian President and company owner, Petro Poroshenko. How interesting?
Winner or Binner? I have to hand it to Petro Poroshenko, I used to be skeptical of his leadership, but his chocolate bar is phenomenal. I don’t usually like fondant centres, but this is chocolate fondant, not that ridiculously sweet, sticky, glacé icing stuff. There are five squares and the fondant doesn’t leak out, making it easy to break and great for sharing (or for just nibbling on as and when you want to!). We can’t fault it, it’s a Winner.
Why does the name of these candies make me smile so much? I have no idea. Despite my initial thoughts that these were going to be some kind of honey-flavoured sweet, I am in fact wrong, and they are fruit flavours with a jelly centre. I’m curious how this has anything at all to do with bees, but hey, no judgement here.
Winner or Binner? Apart from the brief moment of disconcertment when this sweet burst and jelly leaked out, these sweets are pretty good. I’m fine with liquid and caramel centres but jelly is just not something that I can wrap my head around because my brain still wants to chew! The orange flavour is really good and, so I have been told, so is the strawberry. It’s another Winner for us.
Okay, I have to be honest, but I’m not sure that I trust anything that goes “fizzy boom!”. What’s about to happen here, Ukraine? The leaflet says these sweets are sherbet-filled, but where does the “boom!” come from? I’m tempted to poke it tentatively with a stick, but so far, they seem okay. Well, here goes nothing, I suppose!
Winner or Binner? Maybe it’s just me, but the “boom” seems to come in the slightly bizarre aftertaste. I opted for the lime (because I lurve lime!) but there seemed to be something else going on. Something herbal, something medicinal? Something not quite lime.. A good try Ukraine, but if it’s okay, I’ll keep to my sherbet lemons.
What Surprised Us Most Was... Even if we tried not to draw comparisons for geopolitical reasons, the similarities between the Ukrainian snacks and the Russian snacks was remarkable and there is a real focus on the homeland which is evident in the snacks from both countries. Aside from that, the presence of “boom” in the name of two of thirteen snacks gave us a giggle. We say it affectionately Ukraine, but we’re definitely a little bit worried about our Black Sea buddies!
Alright lovelies, that’s it from us for now. Which of these snacks would you like to try? Have you ever visited Ukraine? What are your favourite memories?
Until next time,
Stay safe & have fun,
Helen & Matt xx