Gone Vegan

Lindsay Hutton discovers the politics and pragmatics behind a meat and dairy-free diet.

I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth. My food cravings generally fall into the realm of carbs and greasy foods. The odd occasion I would have a craving for something sweet, I would simply head to the corner store and find something unhealthy to shove in my face. Usually a candy bar. My taste for sweets were (and are) decidedly lowbrow. 

As my hankerings for the sweet stuff are rare, my methods for satisfying them are entirely unsophisticated. I’m the dame who will settle for sucking on a chunk of dark chocolate, or when I’m feeling industrious I’m known to reach for the peanut butter jar, grab a large scoop on a soup spoon then top it with a squirt of acacia honey. The very picture of the cultivated vegan gourmand. I can almost hear the bubbles bursting…

Many new vegans struggle to satisfy their sugar lust. Vegan baking can be tricky, as much of Western pastries, cakes, cookies and candy are based in the chemistry of animal fats (usually butter), eggs and dairy. Fortunately for us, vegan gastronomists got their brain on and have provided several fantastic vegan cookbooks focusing on desserts and baking. 

A few weeks ago I made it my business to find ultimate no muss, no fuss vegan sugar fix. There are several sweets and chocolates bars available for the growing vegan demographic, but most of their formulas need some work. If I can’t say anything nice, I’ll say nothing at all. With that in mind I’ll focus on two brands making perfectly gorgeous mouth-stuffing delectables. 

The family owned-and-operated Go Max Go Foods, a Portland-based vegan candy company, is on to something. There’s subtle genius in giving consumers exactly what they want by keeping it simple and offering vegan alternatives to the kind of candy we grew up eating. 

The set to work on creating vegan adaptations of four popular American candy bars: Snickers, Mars, Almond Joy and Three Musketeers renamed and reformulated into Jokerz, Twilight, Mahalo and Buccaneer. Using rice milk chocolate and the finest vegan ingredients, every one of these chocolate bars imparted a tastier version of its mass-produced antecedent. All four varieties offered a smooth, creamy texture devoid of the irritating aftertaste of their counterpart vegan candymakers. My only comment would be to make the Jokerz and the Mahalo bars a little heavier on the nuts.

Made famous for their vegan marshmallows, Sweet & Sara Foods offers several grab and go sweets. The Peanut Butter Smores, my favourite, is a triumph. Their marshmallows drove me to fire up my new (and apparently illegal, according to local bylaws) chiminea and make my own. They melted perfectly and tasted so similar to a real marshmallow it was almost eerie. Entirely worth the threat of a municipal bylaw infraction.

All of these products are available several Canadian locations, but one new online vegan food store carries them all: Viva Granola.