Schlagfix Coffee Creamer (Shavt)

schlagfix-coffee-creamer“What do you drink in your coffee?” is one of those recurring questions I see popping up on a regular basis on vegan groups. I’ll admit that I’m not a huge coffee drinker, but I go through phases where I do enjoy one cup a day. When I’m at home, I’ll happily whiten my coffee with almond milk, but I’m more likely to have my one cup a day when I’m out and about, either in the train on my way to work, or at work itself. For a long time after going vegan, I pretty much just got used to drinking my coffee black (with sugar) because the only places I would get coffee didn’t have a vegan option for whitening it.

Enter Schlagfix, a German company that seems to specialize in vegan dairy substitutes. They’ve made these little take-away coffee creamers that are easy to pop into your bag and have with you for anytime you might be someplace where coffee is on offer, but no plant milks are available. At 59 euro cents for a pack of ten, they’re pretty affordable, and, unlike some other plant milks, they don’t separate when they come into contact with the acid in the coffee. Because of the amount of packaging involved, they’re not something I would want to use every day, but they are really convenient for those of us who prefer a bit of cream in their coffee, and like a cup to go sometimes.

I ordered these at Shavt, and so far, that’s the only place I’ve found them in Belgium but they’re likely available at other vegan specialty stores, both bricks-and-mortar ones, and online.



Fruit Bowl Peelers

fruitbowl-peelersThe Carrefour Express near the station has a wall of gummy candies and sometimes when I have a few minutes to kill before my train, I’ll browse the ingredient lists on the packages there in the hopes of stumbling upon an accidentally vegan candy. I’m usually disappointed, but one day, I noticed these promising-looking packages tucked in between all the others and was pleased to discover that my initial impression was correct. Not only are these vegan, but they’re also free of added sugars and gluten free. They’re basically made from just fruit and pectin.

So what are they like? They’re basically strands of pressed, dehydrated fruit purée bundled together to form a type of rope, from which you can peel and eat the individual strands. Excuse the non-vegan comparison, but in terms of experience (not taste) they’re reminiscent of string cheese. In terms of taste, they’re very intensely fruity, not overly sweet, but very flavorful, and the texture is firm and a bit sticky but not chewy. For the North Americans out there, I can best describe them as being like the love-child of Twizzlers and Fruit Roll Ups.

I found these two flavors at the Carrefour express, and soon after that I found a third flavor – black currant (not pictured) – at the Kruidvat. So they might be available at other supermarkets and drug stores.

Strawberry Cheesecake Oreos (Limited Edition)

oreo-strawberry-cheesecakeAs many of you know, the US is blessed with a large variety of vegan Oreo flavors that aren’t available in European supermarkets (although you can often find them for a steep price at specialty import stores). Recently, European Oreo manufacturers seem to be trying to introduce new varieties in the form of special limited-edition flavors. Earlier this year they introduced limited edition Peanut Butter Oreos, which to my dismay were NOT VEGAN.😦 (The Peanut Butter Oreos from the US are vegan and are one of my favorite flavors.)

So I was super excited to find out that their newest limited-edition flavor – Strawberry Cheesecake Oreos – are vegan! I immediately bought four packs on finding them on the shelf at the Colruyt. These are good. The strawberry scent hits you the moment you open the package, and even Mr. VSiB (who is not generally an Oreo fan) liked these.

I’m not sure how long these will be available. Considering that I still see the Peanut Butter ones occasionally on the shelf, I would think these should stick around for at least a few months. But you would not go amiss stocking up on these before they disappear.

I found these at the Colruyt, but I suspect they’re available at most any store where you can find Oreos.

Garden Gourmet Schnitzel

garden-gourmet-schnitzelWell, there’s been good news and bad news in veganland recently. The bad news is that Colruyt have changed suppliers for their Boni Veggie frozen products and at least two of them (the Burgers and the Schnitzels) are now no longer vegan. The good news is that Garden Gourmet has added Schnitzels to their vegan line of products.

Earlier this year, they had rolled out vegan burgers, vegan nuggets, and vegan “meatballs”, and while I’d heard from people in the Netherlands and Germany that there was also vegan schnitzel, I hadn’t yet run across that particular product in any stores in Belgium. Until about a month ago, when it suddenly appeared in the veggie product area of the Delhaize.
Like the rest of their vegan products, these were really good! I pan fried one, and it browned up really nicely (well, I burnt one side, but that was entirely down to my being distracted), and in a fit of laziness, actually microwaved the other one. It was tasty either way (although of course, it wasn’t as crispy from the microwave), and definitely a worthy addition to their product line!

You can find Garden Gourmet products at the Delhaize and the Colruyt, although I’ve yet to see the schnitzel at the Colruyt. You can also find them under the name Tivall at the Albert Heijn.

Violife Prosociano

violife prosocianoIf you’ve been vegan for a while, you know that finding a substitute for Parmesan is not an easy task. There are things you can sprinkle on your pasta or your soup that give a similar cheesy umami taste – like nutritional yeast flakes, or mixtures of nutritional yeast with nuts and salt – and these are delicious and absolutely worthy additions to your food repertoire in their own right! But it can’t quite replicate that special experience of grating fresh, pungent cheese onto your dish.

Enter Violife. I’ve already written glowingly about some of their other cheeses, so I was excited to try this new product when I saw it on the Shavt webshop. My first impression on opening the package was “Whoa, this smells like cheese!” Which is not surprising considering it’s made with “parmesan flavor”. It grates smoothly, like a hard cheese, and sprinkled on pasta is definitely reminiscent of those Italian hard cheeses (Parmesan, Pecorino, or Asiago) that I used to get from the Italian market back in my pre-vegan days. It’s quite expensive compared to other vegan cheese blocks, but you really only need a sprinkling of it, and the block lasted me a much longer time than other blocks like Wilmersburger, that I use for things like sandwiches. This is definitely a premium product, but then, so is the original dairy version.

I got my block at Shavt, but I suspect other vegan specialty stores (online and bricks and mortar stores) probably sell this too.

La William Mayella (Colruyt)

la william mayellaEver since Dutch vegans started getting their hands on an accidentally-vegan mayo in the Netherlands, I’ve been hoping against hope that we’d get something similar here. I kept picking up reduced-calorie mayonnaise from different brands and checking their ingredient lists with no success. Then last week in the Colruyt, Mr. VSiB happened to check this little bottle of Mayella from La William at the BBQ display, and lo and behold! Accidentally vegan!!

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. In the bottle, it seemed a lot more fluid than normal mayo, and in use, that first impression was confirmed. I tried it with fries, and while it sticks to the fries, it doesn’t hold a peak like other mayos and tends to form a puddle on your plate. It definitely seems more suited for, say, salads, and I did try it on a salad, where it was more successful than on the friet. I’ve tried the Remia Mayolijn (friends from NL brought it once) which I’ve found overly sweet, and this Mayella comes closer to the slightly sour flavor profile of Belgian mayo, but it’s still a tad sweeter than Bio-Keuken Veganaise. I think I prefer the Veganaise over this both in terms of flavor and texture, but it’s nice that there’s now an accidentally-vegan mayo option in the supermarket! That’s assuming that this stays in their selection. I couldn’t find this product on the La William website, so it may be just a summer special edition product.

So far, I’ve only seen this at the Colruyt in their summer BBQ product section.

Terra Vegane Mac & Cheez

Terra vegane mac & cheezI recently placed my first order from Shavt in Leuven (highly recommended!) and couldn’t wait to try out a bunch of new-to-me products that I saw there. One of the ones I was most excited to try was this boxed (bagged) Mac & Cheez from Terra Vegane. I like making my own sometimes – I used a modified version of this recipe (warning: video) – but having grown up with Kraft Mac & Cheese, I have been on the hunt for a similar easy-peasy boxed M&C experience.

Not surprisingly, there’s a lot more choice in boxed vegan Mac & Cheese/Cheez/Cheeze in North American than there is here in Europe, so when I’ve been able to get ahold of American/Canadian brands (including Road’s End and Daiya), I’ve tried them out. They’ve all been edible, although not as good as the version I make, and they really don’t replicate the Kraft experience I remember from my youth. So I wasn’t really expecting much from this brand either. But to my surprise, this is REALLY good. I mean really really good! Of course, it’ll never taste like the stuff I grew up with, but of all the boxed Mac & Cheeses I’ve tried since going vegan, this one comes the closest, both in terms of flavor and ease of preparation. I will definitely be ordering this again! (If you want to see what it looks like prepared, check out Seitan is My Motor’s photo on FB!)

So far I’ve only run across this brand at Shavt, but keep an eye out for it at other vegan specialty stores and possibly health-food stores.