Beetroot dessert at Milse

beetroot dessert

I’ve written before about Britomart’s dessert restaurant, Milse. Its all-sweets-all-the-time selection includes a range of vegan-friendly dark chocolate bars as well as adaptations of their beautiful à la carte dishes.

I visited again recently, and the menu had changed for the season – new autumnal flavours included fresh fig, pumpkin and walnut. I was offered a version of the beetroot dish.

I don’t have the sweetest of teeth, so what arrived was perfect for me: earthy, salty and complex with just a few suggestions of sugar. The base of the dessert was all vegetable: poached beetroot, with a crisp beetroot wafer and candied dried beetroot chips. Placed on top were a scoop of dark chocolate sorbet, a few salted walnuts, little coconut mochi balls, a generous sprinkle of coconut dust and a dusting of freeze-dried beetroot powder.

It was lovely, and I’m excited to see what Milse produces next time I find myself downtown and in need of a fancy dessert. Again: I’m glad this place exists.

Vegan treats at Terrarium in Kingsland

polka chocolate

If you’re in Kingsland and wondering where to buy a vegan dessert, one answer is Terrarium.

The “studio + showroom + store for local creatives” opened last November at 467 New North Road, and it stocks Nice Blocks & Nice Cream, Polka Chocolate, and Kokako cold brew coffee, for a chilled affogato.

Terrarium is open Thursday and Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am-4pm, Monday and Tuesday by appointment, and “Wednesday is a mystery.”

Bacon and blue cheese: new slices from Il Buco

pizza and coffee

I think it’s probably accurate to say that Il Buco makes the best vegan pizza in Auckland. I wrote a while ago that they had started using vegan cheese and fake meat on some of their offerings, and it seems lately they have been experimenting with new vegan slices.

Here are three I’ve enjoyed recently:


tempeh bacon pizza

Two different slices that used salty tempeh bacon and vegan mozzarella – one had a spinach, tomato and onion base, and the other included mushrooms and roasted capsicum.


vittoria pizza

& Vittoria: with tomato, caramelised onion, roast pumpkin, spinach and vegan blue cheese. This was really interesting – between the onion and pumpkin it was a bit sweet, and this combined pleasantly with the stinkiness of the blue cheese.


The three classic vegan slices – patate, funghi and ortolana – are still regularly available, and are still some of my favourites, but it’s been fun and delicious to see what else Il Buco‘s kitchen might invent.

Summer breakfast trifle with coconut yoghurt

breakfast trifle

I was feeling a bit fancy this morning, so I constructed this trifle for breakfast, with layers of homemade granola, coconut yoghurt and fresh berries.

The granola was freshly cooled from the oven; Erin used this Early Bird granola recipe, but made it a bit less sweet: without brown sugar, and with only half a cup of maple syrup.

I found the coconut yoghurt yesterday at the Ceres Fresh Market in Ponsonby Central. It’s CO YO brand, and is amazing: thick, creamy and delicious, with a strong coconut flavour, lightly sweetened with stevia.

I’m not a big fan of most vegan yoghurts I’ve tried – I find some commercial soy yoghurts a bit artificial-tasting, and others a bit too health-foodey and fermented. CO YO is neither – it tastes like a real food rather than a “fake” version of a dairy product, and it’s creamy and luscious enough to eat by the spoonful.

The dairy-eater in the house says that the flavour and thick texture of CO YO is almost more like sour cream, and she could imagine it being used in salad dressings, dips, or with latkes and apple sauce.



CO YO is a probiotic yoghurt made with coconut milk and plant-fed cultures. I had the plain Natural flavour; you can also find tubs of Mango, Passionfruit or Mixed Berry yoghurt.

It’s made in Australia (by a couple of semi-retired New Zealanders!) and has recently made its way across the Tasman; the CO YO website has an incomplete list of local stockists. The website currently lists:

I’ve also seen CO YO at:

CO YO’s Facebook page also mentions:

The website also refers to CO YO ice cream – it’s not available in New Zealand yet, but Facebook suggests it will be here in February. I’m looking forward to trying the intriguing range of flavours, which include cherry & chocolate nibs, vanilla & nutmeg, and sticky date & tamarind.

Brown rice mochi waffles at Conch Records

soy flat white

A reader asked if there was a café in Auckland where she could order vegan french toast or waffles for her birthday. I was drawing a blank – the only vegan waffles I’ve found in Auckland come from our own waffle iron, with the instruction of Isa Chandra Moskowitz – so I asked this blog’s followers on Facebook and Twitter.

Amanda suggested Conch Records in Ponsonby Road – they have an organic mochi waffle on their current breakfast menu. It sounded too good not to try, so I visited this morning.


brown rice mochi waffles

These waffles are a bit different to the Vegan Brunch classics we make at home: they’re made with mochi flour – pounded organic brown rice – rather than wheat, so that as well as being vegan, they’re gluten free. They’re less dense and doughy, slightly more crisp compared with flour waffles.

My waffles were served with bittersweet chocolate aduki bean paste, drizzled with orange syrup and black currant conserve, and sprinkled with rough-chopped almonds and brown sugar. This combination of flavours and textures was lovely, pleasantly unusual, and not overwhelmingly sweet.


a flower, the newspaper, erin fae

Conch Kitchen & Bar is at 115A Ponsonby Road, in the same shopfront as the Conch record shop. It’s open from Wednesday to Sunday, and breakfast waffles are available from 9am to 12.

There’s also a tasty-sounding vegan dish on their lunch & dinner menu (available 12pm-11pmish): red quinoa tabbouleh with hummus and skordalia.

The Vegan Deli at the Parnell Farmers’ Market

vegan quiche and sausage rolls

The Parnell Farmers’ Market was my local when I lived in Grafton. Being a short walk from my house, I visited most weeks to pick out the best-looking seasonal fruits and vegetables, fresh Pukeko Bakery bread, cut flowers and occasional treats like raw chocolate.

I don’t go often these days, so it took me a while to discover The Vegan Deli, a weekly stall that set up at the market around the middle of last year.


smokey pecan cheese

One of the Deli’s main offerings is their selection of artisan raw nut cheeses: smokey pecan, agave-sweetened walnut crusted, garlic & dill or dukkah crusted cashew.

Alara gave me some smokey pecan cheese to take home and try – it’s the purple block pictured above – and soon afterwards my sister brought a block of the garlic and dill cheese to family Christmas. Both are really special and distinctive – I can imagine buying one of each and serving guests a fancy cheese plate.

Kaiaroha cheeses are made with probiotic-cultured raw, organic nuts. Minimal additional ingredients are added, so that as well as being vegan, the cheeses are gluten free, and don’t include any cane sugar or soy.

The animal-cheese eater in the house says that the semi-soft texture of these cheeses would be most comparable to a chèvre, with a light rind.


sausage roll

Besides the blocks of cheese, when I visited, The Vegan Deli’s stall was heaving with picnic-ready savoury treats: slices of quiche, pumpkin rosemary & tofu pie, and cashew cheese sausage rolls. I’ve eaten a few dense, dry vegetarian sausage rolls in my time – these were the opposite: light and flaky, with a soft, tasty filling.


vegan hummingbird cake

There were also a selection of sweet things: slices of chocolate or hummingbird cake, bags of fudge (russian, ginger or chocolate), gluten free Christmas cake and bliss balls. The russian fudge was perfect: classic Edmonds-style made vegan.


the vegan deli

Parnell Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday from 8-12, in the carpark behind the Parnell Community Centre and Parnell Library.

The Vegan Deli is there every week – you can check their Facebook page for new products and weekly specials.

A new flavour of Nice Cream

mango and vanilla nice cream

Just briefly: there is a new flavour of coconut-based Nice Cream that you should try.

It’s mango, and it reminds me of my favourite dessert, mango sticky rice: that same perfect match of sour fresh mango and sweet coconut.

We bought a tub from Nosh on Dominion Road; other stockists of Nice Cream are listed on their website.


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