For those of you who love Sjaak’s (or are eager to try their products), I have great news. All of their chocolates are now vegan! Sjaak’s was one of the first chocolatiers to recognize the demand for dairy-free chocolates. They launched a line of vegan chocolates, which quickly took off. In fact, their vegan line was so popular that they decided to abandon their dairy chocolate line and go completely dairy-free. Sjaak’s offers individual chocolates, “milk chocolate” bars, seasonal chocolates, and their boxed chocolates for gift giving …
Tasting Notes for Sjaak’s Boxed Chocolates
Before I even mention how positively delicious these chocolates were (past tense, not a chocolate smudge left), I must comment on the package itself. I love, and I mean love, how Sjaak’s put a what’s what chart on the back. The perfect image told me without a doubt what chocolates we were sampling. For those picky boxed-chocolate eaters, this means no more taking a bite only to discover it is your least favorite flavor. While I love surprises in general, I do like to know what I am getting into with my chocolates.
We sampled a wide range of their Caramels, plus some winter white chocolate specials. Their flavors change periodically, and with the seasons, but I still wanted to offer some tasting notes as a starting point.
These generously-sized chocolate shop-style caramels were so smooth, so creamy, and SO delicious. The touch of chunky sea salt was an amazing contrast that left me wanting for more.
I have to admit, one could easily mistake the milky chocolate coating and rich caramel filling for their dairy-filled nemesis. Oh, and did I mention that they come in flavors? Each four-count box includes a Ginger, Orange, Almond and Hazelnut salted caramel – all organic, all vegan, all indulgent.
Unlike Sjaak’s dark caramel bar, oozing with a thin layer of creamy caramel, this was a real caramel chew. The good, stick-to-your-teeth filling was coated with a thick layer of Sjaak’s dark chocolate. It was a fairly mild dark for those who are timid, but with just enough of that bittersweet note to keep things interesting.
I wasn’t sure what to expect on this one. Much to my surprise, this chocolate had a sweeter center and a milder overall taste that seemed to dance on my tongue. A definite winner! Oh and the pistachio on top was the perfect touch.
The pecan caramel had a much softer center, which my teeth were grateful for. Overall, it had more of a calming milk chocolate like flavor, and little tiny bits of pecans dotted throughout. Thus far, a possible favorite.
Softer than the Chocolate Caramel, but not quite as soft as the Pecan one, this caramel had a potent coffee taste that I didn’t mind when melded with the chocolate and soothing caramel. Since I am not a coffee fan, it isn’t surprising that this one wasn’t my first choice. It was a bit strong for my taste buds, but perfect for any mocha lover. I admit being intrigued by the chocolate mocha burst affixed atop this chocolate. I had assumed it was a coffee bean, but it turned out to be a wonderfully rich chocolate chunk with a coffee hint.
This ode to a peanut chew had little bits of peanuts dotting the chewy caramel center. The chocolate coating was mild, almost milky, sliding down with ease and leaving the focus on the filling.
Expecting just chocolate-coated almonds, I was incredibly surprised and delighted as a bit into this truly unique chocolate. A very likable chocolate background (not too bitter, not too sweet) was riddled with an incredibly addictive sugary crunch. Large almond chunks dotted the top for a creative finish that made this chocolate my hands down favorite. If Sjaak’s sold a box with nothing but this flavor in it, I would be their first customer.
I can only describe this chocolate as very pleasant. It possessed the slight flavor of a peanut-y caramel, but with a very soft and forgiving caramel center that melted into a warm buttery aftertaste.
Perfect for the coconut lover, this was another relatively soft caramel with sweet coconut bits throughout. Very delightful and sweet.
This flavor has nice cashew chunks and a good flavor overall. Of course, cashews and chocolate are just a naturally winning combination!
Snowballs: White Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles
Perfect for gift-giving, these amazingly decadent delights have that “I can’t believe it’s vegan” factor.
The center is packed with real hazelnut goodness – an indulgent nut butter-esque filling contrasted with an amazing nutty crunch. The outer white chocolate coating (yes, dairy-free white chocolate) is fabulously thick and perfectly sweet. For delicious decoration, they give the truffles a “coconut-finished” look, but it is actually just “shreds” of white chocolate, no coconut in site. The white chocolate is made with organic rice milk powder, cocoa butter and almond milk for an incredibly creamy texture.
The Facts on Sjaak’s Boxed Chocolates
Price: $10.95 to $15.95
Availability: Sjaak’s primarily sells directly to customers. See their website below to order.
Dietary Notes: By ingredients, Sjaak’s chocolates are dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, vegan, and vegetarian.*
For More Product Information: Visit the Sjaak’s website at www.sjaaks.com
*Always read the ingredient and nutrition statement prior to consumption. Ingredients, processes, and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company or product. Contact the company to discuss their manufacturing processes if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. No food product can be guaranteed “safe” for every individual’s needs. You should never rely on ingredient and allergen statements alone if dealing with a severe food allergy.
Vegan chocolate mastery
Sjaak’s has mastered the art of vegan chocolates – from their smooth milky chocolate coatings, to a spot-on caramel filling. And they’ve made me want to top all chocolates with sea salt!
The chocolates look delicious and I applaud Sjaak’s for making dairy – free white chocolate out if real ingredients!
I wish I knew where I could pick up a box right now! Yum!