Try dairy-free ice cream bars from this Parañaque shop

If you've a craving for ice cream but are intolerant to dairy, don't worry. You don't always need to give up your guilty pleasure.

Vegan ice cream bars are here to give the lactose-intolerant and vegan the indulgent treat they're craving for, sans any egg, dairy, or animal by-products.

Local vegan business Bubu Bars has created their own dairy-free version of the popular ice cream bar – thick, creamy ice cream on a stick, covered in a crunchy coating of rich, smooth dark chocolate from local, award-winning chocolatier Auro Chocolate.

How the Bubu boom began

Before it became a business, Bubu was just a hobby for owner Ria, who started making her own ice cream in 2017 using only ingredients found at home. Eventually, her full-time job at a retail company began taking up most of her time, so her hobby had to be put on hold indefinitely.

Fast forward to the 2020 lockdown, and Ria found herself back at home with enough time for her hobby again – but this time, with a dietary hurdle to consider.

"This was when my husband Jake encouraged me to pursue this passion project. We both initially planned on selling homemade dairy ice cream but it was also during the lockdown, that we discovered we were both lactose intolerant," Ria told Rappler. The couple underwent an elimination diet, where you remove certain foods from your diet for weeks and reintroduce them afterwards to check for any allergic or physical reactions.

They were both set to pursue a healthier lifestyle, so they regretfully had to put their plan of selling dairy ice cream on hold. "Because we both love ice cream, we tried all the available non-dairy desserts that were out in the market. Unfortunately, while there were several, our craving for the rich, dense, and creamy dessert we used to enjoy wasn't satisfied," Ria said.

That's when they both decided to try and make their own dairy-free ice cream. After five months of home-based research and development, Ria and Jake officially launched their vegan-friendly Bubu Bars to the public in November 2020.

"Our inspiration for the brand name comes from my husband's pet name as a kid. He was called 'Bum Bum' by his parents and 'Bubu' was a fun twist to this term of endearment. What we hope to replicate is that same giddy feeling every time our customers try our bars," Ria said.

"We want them to be in the moment, fully enjoying the indulgent and happy experience of finally getting a treat," she added.

The Bubu trio

Public demand for Bubu Bars has remained high since their launch; these ice cream bars are almost always sold out per week, with delivery drops set only every Friday (or whenever supplies are replenished). These treats are handcrafted and made-to-order, so customers need to be quick in reserving their slots as soon as Bubu Bars announces a restock of all 3 flavors on their website.

The hype is real – these indulgent desserts have gotten only high praises from both vegans and dairy-lovers.

Although each bar costs P220, the serving is quite hefty, giving you bang for your buck. Then there's premium local chocolate, crunchy toppings on each bar, and the thick and luscious ice cream you get per bite – a worthy splurge to treat yourself with. There's no scrimping here!

Bubu offers three chocoholic-friendly flavors: the Nuts For You is a dairy-free "nIce cream" churned with hints of Bourbon vanilla and light caramel. It's covered in thick, 55% single-origin dark chocolate from Auro, and topped with a salted almond praline for a slightly salty crunch.

Ria and Jake use only plant-based ingredients in their decadent ice cream bars. The Nuts For You flavor is made with almond milk, refined coconut oil, cashews, almonds, organic coco sugar, light corn syrup, tapioca starch, salt, lemon, vanilla bean, vanilla bean extract, cane sugar, cacao mass, cacao butter, natural vanilla extract, cacao solids, vegetable oil blend (palm, canola, soybean, flax, olive oil), and soy lecithin.

Their fruity Fancy Pants flavor is perfect for those into the chocolate-strawberry combo – it's got a delicately tart and sweet nIce cream blended with roasted strawberries, covered in 77% single-origin dark chocolate, and then topped with chewy and tangy freeze-dried strawberries.

This flavor is made with almond milk, refined coconut oil, strawberries, cashews, raw sugar, light corn syrup, tapioca starch, salt, lemon, balsamic vinegar, vanilla bean extract, cane sugar, cacao mass, cacao butter, natural vanilla extract, cacao solids, and soy lecithin.

Fancy banana paired with chocolate? The You Little Monkey flavor mixes their vanilla nIce cream with caramelized roasted bananas for a subtle banana flavor. It's covered in 55% single-origin dark chocolate, and topped with toasted almonds and an addictive Biscoff crumble.

You Little Monkey is made from almond milk, refined coconut oil, bananas, cashews, raw sugar, light corn syrup, tapioca starch, salt, lemon, almonds, Biscoff biscuits, organic coco sugar, cane sugar, cacao mass, cacao butter, natural vanilla extract, cacao solids, vegetable oil blend (palm, canola, soybean, flax, olive oil), and soy lecithin.

Bubu Bars is located in Parañaque City. They announce restocks of their handcrafted frozen dessert bars via their Instagram page. Once stocks are available, you can order via their website. – Rappler.com

Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.

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