**Originally written in 2013, with some updates in late 2018.
Continuing on with my newbie vegan ways, I have gone out at last and visited some proper vego/vegan stores like Goodies and Grains (a groovy shop in Adelaide which sells mostly organic stuff, but also vegan, fair trade and so forth; a lot of the organic grains and such can be purchased in bulk). I might also end up going to one of the good online sellers as well as they fill in a couple of the gaps and are slightly cheaper for some things.
One thing I learned today: organic non-dairy vegan food ain’t cheap!
When I got home, I had to engage in some “sport-forking”. If you’re not familiar with this, it is the tearing open of all the new stuff you bought and doing the rounds taste-testing each item. Very fulfilling! 😀
Anyway, on with some reviews.
NOTE: I am coming from the perspective of a recent/former meat-eater who is not trying to show how much different vegan products are from their original counterparts, but rather if they can stand alone as decent things to eat, while still trying to somewhat satisfy my cravings for the originals. So I’m not going to come down too hard on them unless they are just truly nasty-tasting, but they will get top marks if they are both delicious and provide a great replacement for the original meat or dairy product.
I finally managed to find some non-dairy yogurt, non-dairy vegan cheese that was promoted as being very good, and dairy-free chocolate:
PRODUCT: VEGUSTO NO-MOO PIQUANT
Type: Non-dairy cheese
Country of origin: Switzerland
Vegusto is an multi-award-winning company that has been around for a few years and produces vegan meats and cheeses that are 100% natural ingredients and have an impressively substantial list of things that their products are free of like palm oil, GMOs, gluten, casein, cholesterol, trans-fats, and many more. I have only seen their cheese products here in Australia but some of their meat products looks amazing and I hope they come here soon too.
With this “No-Moo Piquant”, the first smell that hits you is smelly cheese…a good sign! Flavour-wise…wow! Very impressed. Easily could be some unique variant of hard cheddar or even a blue-veined style. Not too sharp but just right. No funny aftertaste or suspicious flavours within.
Texture-wise, it has good cheesy character; it crumbles like aged dairy cheese though is slightly waxy. When brought to a wine and cheese party, diary-cheese eaters were enjoying the flavour though it still doesn’t quite rival what people would see as the nuanced best of dairy cheeses. It’s not a melty type of cheese, more of something you’d put on crackers or eat in a ploughman’s lunch or on a cheese board.
At around $11 for a 200g block, it outpaces most fancy dairy cheeses and so I would consider it in the “occasional purchase” category. If it were down to about $7, I would consider it good value. It sells in the UK for about £5 which is AUS$9 so we’re not getting ripped off much considering it’s come from Europe but it still seems a bit high for what it is.
PRODUCT: COYO COCONUT YOGHURT W/PINEAPPLE
Type: Non-dairy yoghurt
Country of origin: Australia
Coyo tells the story of founder Henry Gosling who has the claim-to-fame of being the originator of yoghurt made from coconut. (If this is true, his fantastic innovation has become the industry standard in non-dairy yoghurts, now, updated in 2018).
The first of their products I tried is the pineapple version (dairy, soya, gluten & palm-oil free). Their mandate is: “no empty calories, fillers, preservatives, additives, refined sugars, or artificial anything!” They use high-quality vegan cultures and are certified organic.
This is a beautiful confection. It’s like eating a piña colada with that lovely pineapple flavor (comes in other flavors too). Smooth and coconutty…yum! A very luxurious product (UPDATE: pineapple seems to have been removed from their 2018 line-up, replaced with chocolate, mango &passionfruit, plum & guava, and vanilla bean)
Texture-wise, I am not sure I would call this yogurt as the consistency is more like sorbet or mousse-like dessert. These aren’t bad things at all but I am not sure I’d put it with my oats in the morning. It’s a bit too thick and decadent!
At $5 for 300g or $9 for a 500g tub (Adelaide, 2018), it’s fairly pricey…probably the most expensive coconut yoghurt I tend to see on the shelves. It is luxurious and delicious, organic and clearly made with love by a small company, so that brings up the value a bit. Once coconut yoghurt can compete head-to-head on price with dairy yoghurt, we’ll see a real conversion from dairy I believe.
Alter Eco Dark Twist Organic Chocolate (organic, fair frade, soy and dairy free) FLAVOUR: This one has an orange flavor built in which is quite nice. It is wholly reminiscent of other dark chocolates I have had (this one is 60% cocoa) which is a good thing! Easy to enjoy. TEXTURE: very difficult to tell that this Swiss-made chocolate is lacking dairy. PRICE/VALUE: $5.95 for 80g bar so about 25% more than an equivalent Lindt I suspect.
I also bought some Veganpet Vegan Dog Food today ($4.95 for a 400g tin) and my dog ate it, so that’s a good sign! The ingredients have all sorts of yummy veg and so on, so I’m not surprised really. It smelled like a veggie curry.
I’ve got some Wot No Dairy yogurt to try and a couple of other Rice and Almond milk which I’ll get onto to in the coming days.