Being chocolate lovers, we wanted to know more about vegan chocolate. We caught up with Simon Lester, the founder of Pascha Chocolate and got a chance to ask him a few questions:
How did you get the idea of vegan chocolate in the first place?
When one of my daughters developed a serious, life-threatening food allergy my life changed. All food items had to be examined and re-thought because cross contamination was serious and endemic. The penny dropped when I thought back to my early career experience with Cadbury chocolate in the UK. Read more
Plant-powered dairy alternatives have been growing fast worldwide. Sales have more than doubled in the last 8 years and there’s no end in sight. The growing availability and promotion of plant-based options to traditional dairy lines, particularly beverages, has helped boost this market, along with cultured products such as yogurt, frozen desserts and ice cream, creamers, and cheese. Almost all mainstream supermarkets now have some dairy-free alternatives.
A range of increasingly sophisticated flavors and blends of non-dairy milks from different sources are being launched. While soy-based beverage products remain popular, the market has expanded to include an increasing selection of alternative milks, using grains such as rice, quinoa, oats, and barley; and nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, and macadamias, as well as seed milks such as hemp and flaxseed. In just the past year two new primary ingredients for U.S. plant-based milks, pistachio and pecan, have emerged.
Seeing the success of these products, the dairy industry is getting nervous. In fact, the dairy sector has become so concerned about the success of plant-based milks that it recently prompted 32 Congressmen to write a letter to FDA. The letter, which requests the agency enforce their rule against non-dairy beverages carrying the term “milk,” was meant to prevent the dairy industry from losing further market share to plant-based alternatives. However, they tried this tactic with mayonnaise and it didn’t work then. We don’t think it will work this time either.
Try out some of the many new plant-based milks available in your grocery store. For tips on buying dairy alternatives check out our shopping guide In Pursuit of Great Food.
It’s summer time and the warm weather is here. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have a nice cool treat? As the kids say “you scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream.” These days more and more folks are screaming for dairy free, no cholesterol, compassionate, and environmentally sustainable “ice cream.” Fortunately, as anyone who’s ever been to Seattle Vegfest knows, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here’s just a sample of some of the products available. Get ready for a taste adventure!
So Delicious is just that – delicious. They make so many flavors and “milks” to choose from, from Chocolate Velvet soy-based ice cream to an array of delicious flavors based on nut milks such as cashew (you gotta give the salted caramel cluster a try), almond and coconut.
Speaking of coconut, why not give Coconut Bliss a try? They definitely got the bliss part right for this line of frozen treats made right next door in Oregon. For a real surprise, try the Mint Galactica!
Remember when Amy’s just made vegetarian and vegan frozen dinners and canned soups? Well, this completely vegetarian company now also makes dairy-free ice cream. Try the Mocha Chocolate Chip. Amy’s discovered this heavenly flavor high up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
Ben and Jerry’s has finally jumped into the non-dairy ice cream world with four new flavors, Chunky Monkey, PB and Cookies, Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Coffee Caramel Fudge.
Dream foods is a dream come true when it comes to frozen desserts. Actually they have three dreams to experience: Almond, Rice and Soy Dream. The Praline Crunch Almond Dream is exotic, while the Butter Pecan Soy Dream is an exciting new rendition of an old favorite.
Speaking of old favorites, remember Tofutti? They’ve come a long way since their original vanilla-flavored ice cream sandwich bar. Now there are flavors such as Strawberry Rhubarb, and for those willing to take a chance how about their new flavor, Blind Date?
Now for the new kid on the block, Nadamoo, it’s a made up word which means no dairy. This new coconut-based frozen treat has flavors varying from Vanilla Chai to Snickerdoodle. Originally from Austin, Texas, Nadamoo is now available in the Seattle.
Non dairy ice “cream” has bright future. Ice cream guru, Malcolm Stogo, says he believes the US dairy-free frozen dessert category could “double or triple” in the next five years.
We compiled The Veg-Feasting Cookbook by inviting local veg-friendly restaurants to give us their best recipes. We added in a few special recipes from Vegfest chefs and the result was a wonderful vegetarian cookbook covering the full spectrum of cuisines from around the world.
This wonderful 3-layer cake recipe is made without eggs or dairy. With blackberries being freely available for the picking at this time of year, this is a perfect time to give this recipe a try.
Orange Blackberry Cake Recipe
This is a delightfully refreshing cake, with the winning combination of citrus and fresh berries. Try it with your favorite berries—raspberries, salmonberries, marionberries, blueberries—or a mixture.
Makes one 9-inch cake
6 cups unbleached white flour
4½ cups plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup canola oil
½ cup grated zest and 3 cups juice from
6 medium oranges, preferably organic
1 tablespoon vanilla
6 cups blackberries
1/3 cup cane sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
2 cups powdered sugar
To make the cake, heat the oven to 350°F (325 if using a convection oven). Grease three 9-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with waxed paper, and grease and flour the paper. Sift the flour, 4½ cups granulated sugar, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the canola oil, orange zest and juice, vanilla and 3 cups filtered water, then pour them into the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Divide the batter evenly into the 3 pans and bake until the layers are golden brown and spring back when touched lightly in the center, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the layers for 10 minutes in their pans, then turn out onto wire racks and cool completely.
To make the filling, put the blackberries and 1/3 cup sugar in a saucepan and bring them to a boil. Combine the cornstarch with ¼ cup filtered water and stir to dissolve. Add to the berry mixture and simmer for a couple of minutes, then set aside to cool.
To assemble the cake, whisk the powdered sugar with ¼ cup water to make a glaze. Place one cake layer on a plate and spread with 1/3 of the filling, then drizzle with a little of the glaze. Repeat with the second and third cake layers, drizzling any remaining glaze around the edges of the cake so it flows down the sides. Chill to set.
As the old summer time saying goes, “you scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream!”. However, these days more and more people scream for a different ice cream, and this has most often meant dairy free “ice cream”. While some people are looking for a lower-saturated-fat, heart-healthy option, others are looking for lactose-free options with the growing recognition that most people are lactose intolerant. For others, a more animal-friendly and environmentally-sustainable option is their dessert of choice.
For these reasons and many more, frozen dessert manufacturers now offer a great variety of non-dairy “ice cream” products to enjoy. Soy, almond, rice and coconut form the base for most of the products out there, although new ones such as hemp ice cream are starting to emerge. You’ll find several brands available in many grocery stores and supermarkets. Some popular ones include So Delicious, Almond and Rice Dream, Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss, Amy’s, Tofutti and Washington’s very own, Full Tilt.
The wonderful array of varieties on non dairy frozen desserts also come with many sweetening options. You’ll find a selection of unsweetened flavors for those who like it plain. For those with a sweeter tooth, sugar-sweetened in varying amounts and even stevia-sweetened versions are available. You’ll find just about every flavor and style you can think of – even a gelato! Adding to this embarrassment of riches are the many different forms to be enjoyed. Besides the traditional pint and quart containers, there are sandwiches and bars for grab-and-go snacks.
Many of the dairy-free brands and varieties were featured at Vegfest and were quite the hit! Look for this segment of the food world to continue its growth. In fact, so many people are going dairy-free these days rumor has it that even Ben and Jerry’s will come out with a non-dairy ice cream early next year. As the weather heats up we’re all glad to have these choices for occasional summer treats.