Vegan Treats at Colestown Chocolate

Vegan Treats Available at Colestown Chocolate in the 277 mall, Newmarket. #vegan #aucklandvegan #veganchocolate #chocolate

Walking through Newmarket’s 277 mall yesterday, I was stopped in my tracks by this: a small, unobtrusive sign boasting Vegan Treats Available, on the counter of a chocolate shop.

Colestown Chocolates is a local artisan producer that fashions truffles and chocolate bars from Belgian imported Callebaut chocolate. Among their range are a few vegan choices that are not only plain, vegan-by-default dark chocolate, but include a few flavours where the recipes have been changed to be vegan-friendly – for example replacing dairy ingredients with coconut oil.

The salesguy explained that there had been a vegan person working for the company at one point, who had helped them research ingredient alternatives and expand their range of animal-free offerings. (Thanks, that vegan!)

 

Cherry Liqueur truffles at Colestown Chocolate in 277, Newmarket. #vegan #veganchocolate #aucklandvegan

The guy behind the counter had a list of all the vegan-friendly flavours in the cabinet. It was worth asking, because some of these options were marked with a hand-written green V on their price sticker, while others weren’t.

I didn’t write down all the Vegan Treats Available, but they included Cherry Liqueur truffles, Peppermint Meltaway squares, and slabs of dark chocolate with Hokey Pokey or caramelised almonds.

 

Colestown in 277 has vegan chocolate options. #vegan #aucklandvegan #veganchocolate

Colestown‘s shop in the 277 mall is open 7 days: Mon-Wed 9-6, Thur-Fri 9-7, Sat 9-6 and Sun 10-5.

Their chocolates are also stocked at Farro Fresh and a few other places, and you can buy them online.

The tiniest gelato shop

Coconut gelato: avocado and french tarragon, topped with dark chocolate and chopped almonds

Recently I told you about finding amazing coconut gelato at the Japan Day market, from a Lalele Organic stall. Lalele had a store in Mairangi Bay over summer, and otherwise sold their organic frozen treats at Silo Park and various other markets.

Since then, there’s been an exciting development: Lalele has opened a permanent inner-city location, in Auckland’s smallest shop – a 4 square metre hole-in-the-wall opposite Aotea Square in Queen Street.

You can buy a full range of sorbet popolatos and gelato from the tiny store, and choose to have them drizzled with vegan-friendly dark chocolate, and dipped in almonds or coconut. (Most of Lalele’s flavours are vegan, but they do also make dairy-based gelato).

 

The World's Smallest Gelato Store has vegan options! @lalele_organic has amazing coconut gelato, sorbet on a stick, & dark chocolate topping sauce. The tiny shopfront is at 350 Queen Street, opposite Aotea Square. #vegan #aucklandvegan

The new Lalele Organic shop is at 350 Queen Street, opposite Aotea Square. It’s open every day, from 11am-10pm.

A Kickstarter of interest: Baron Hasselhoff’s cookies

hazelnut & orange delicious

If you want more delicious vegan cookies in your life, here is a Kickstarter campaign you might want to support: Takaka-based Baron Hasselhoff’s cookies need sturdier packaging so they can be stocked in supermarkets across the country. Depending on your contribution towards the costs, you might be rewarded with bags of cookies, copies of the artwork being used on the new packaging, or just a thanks on the Baron’s website.

Go here: Kickstarter | “Baron Hasselhoff’s is ready to box up his beauties…”

The Baron makes a limited but brilliant range of packaged cookies that are all vegan, and are also gluten free. My favourite (pictured above) is the accurately named ‘Hazelnut & Orange Delicious’ (distinguishing characteristic: delicious). The other two options are spicy Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles, and Gingernut Deluxe.

If you can’t wait for the Kickstarter to end, or you’d like to sample before you support, you can find the Baron’s cookies locally at Commonsense Organics in Dominion Road, or East West Organics in New Lynn.

Edited to add: Win cookies! Baron Hasselhoff is giving away three bags of cookies to one lucky person. Just go and comment on this Facebook post, and tag a friend who you’d like to share cookies with. (edited again to add: the competition has now closed!)

Lunch at Peasant

Wontons in broth, at Peasant.

When Peasant opened on Dominion Road last year, their small & carefully-curated Vietnamese menu didn’t have any obviously vegan angles. They seemed like the kind of place that could make something off-menu, but I hadn’t been interested enough to test them out.

So last month, when colleagues invited me out for lunch, we called ahead to ask about options. And there was one, and I ate it: daikon wontons and shiitake mushrooms in a kelp dashi broth.

It was tasty: simple and robust spices, fresh green flavours, perfect slippery little dumplings. I liked this, and hope that Peasant keeps vegan options on its future menus.

 

Peasant is at 191 Dominion Road, in the space that used to be Two Monkeys. It’s open every day except Monday, for lunch (12–3pm) and dinner (6-10pm).

Little Bird at Britomart

Little Bird Britomart Unbakery

Not long ago, I wrote about Little Bird‘s crowdfunding campaign to open a third Unbakery at Britomart. The crowd was quite keen on this idea, it turned out – Little Bird raised more money than they asked for, the doors to their downtown location are now open, and lunchtime customers are flocking in.

 

Cake Graph

Little Bird Britomart is at 14 Customs Street, just around the corner from the train station. It’s open 7 days: Monday to Friday 6.30am-6.30pm, and 9am-5pm on weekends.

The new Unbakery is a small space – everything’s packaged to take away and there’s just one table where you might find a seat. But though it’s small, it has a full range of Little Bird deliciousness on offer: a cabinet full of ready-to-go meals, another cabinet full of cakes and sweet treats, and the fridge full of the new Squeezery range of cold pressed juices, nut milks and tonics.

Two things I found at Japan Day

vegan cake

My experience of Japanese street food is that it’s not often very vegan-friendly (one day I’ll write a Tokyo travel post and tell you about some delicious exceptions to this rule: dango & sweet potato & anzu-ame). So I wasn’t expecting the Japan Day celebrations at Queen’s Wharf to be especially interesting in terms of food. I was idly cruising the food stalls wondering if there might be some edamame or something, when I noticed a sign that said CHOCOLATE VEGAN CAKE.

 

Delicious Vegan!

The sign belonged to a food stall that was all vegan, in fact. Its snack options included fresh or deep-fried spring rolls, wontons, crumbed tofu, samosas, noodle salads and two kinds of cake (lemon or chocolate).

Run by followers of the Supreme Master Ching Hai (the movement that started the Loving Hut restaurant chain), the stall’s regular location is at Otara Flea Market every Saturday.

 

Summer rolls

The stall had two kinds of Vietnamese summer rolls: I tried the fake chicken rolls with ground peanuts. They were generously-sized, stuffed with fresh filling and tasty.

 

deep-fried tofu

But my favourite thing was their crumbed, spiced, deep-fried tofu. It’s a bit of a repulsive comparison (and it’s been decades since I’ve eaten the original), but I wonder if this might be like a vegan version of KFC? It consisted of thick slabs of firm tofu, coated in a golden, crunchy batter filled with a mixture of spices. Really good – I’d hunt these down again if I was anywhere near Otara Markets on a Saturday.

 

popolatos

As we were looking around inside Shed 10, another sign popped out at me: Lalele Organic boasted “ORGANIC COCOLATO: made from organic coconut milk, gelato-like texture with no dairy & no egg”. Frozen desserts made out of coconut are some of my favourite, so we stopped to check these out.

Lalele Organic’s range of desserts include a few flavours of coconut-based gelato, as well as organic fruit sorbet popsicles that are all dairy- and egg-free. They appear at other events and markets around the city (including Glenfield Night Market, Coatesville Market and Matakana Village Farmers Market), and they’ve recently opened a shop at Mairangi Bay (378 Beach Road, open 7 days from 10am-6pm).

 

avocado, coconut and tarragonpopolato

I tried a ‘popolato’ coconut gelato popsicle: avocado, coconut and french tarragon. It was beautifully creamy and rich, with a strong avocado flavour. I also tasted a bit of Erin’s plum sorbet popolato, which was tart and perfect. Several of the options in the cabinet looked appealing; the other dessert I’d been eyeing up was strawberry, coconut and lavender cocolato, and the feijoa popolato also looked amazing. I’ll need to find an excuse to visit the North Shore to try more of Lalele’s offerings.

A grocery store you should know about: Bulk Food Savings

bulk food savings

Vegans of Auckland, have you been to Bulk Food Savings in Mount Eden? You might not guess from its unassuming name, but it’s a vegan gold mine: one of the best places in town to find uncommon ingredients at reasonable prices.

Located at the city end of Dominion Road, Bulk Food Savings is not easily categorised – it’s a curious cross between a hippie health food store, a bargain bulk-foods place, a flash organic grocery and a little ethnic food market. Not everything’s organic, gluten free, fair trade or health-conscious, but all of these preferences & needs are well catered for.

 

shelves full of food

Vegans, too, are well accommodated: Bulk Food Savings stocks all kinds of animal-free supplies to fill your pantry.

Almost any basic ingredient can be found somewhere on its shelves, among an impressive range of beans, pulses, grains, flours, herbs & spices, dried fruit, nuts, liquid and dry sweeteners, oils, nutritional yeast, pickles, sauces, baking ingredients and specialty ingredients from a few different food traditions: Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Turkish, Italian and others.

There’s more than you might expect: the nut butter selection includes jars of German cashew cream, the shelf of non-dairy milks includes chocolate hazelnut milk alongside the usual soy and almond options. A fridge near the entrance is full of coconut yoghurt, kombucha, unusual juices.

Specifically vegan treats include Ceres snack bars (& this roasted nori snack I’ve been addicted to lately), Amazeballs (not all flavours are vegan – read the ingredients), Spacebar snack sausages, Angel Food products, and a small selection of chocolate including Rapunzel (not all vegan, but their Nirwana Noir is a long-standing favourite of mine).

Bulk Food Savings is also a great place to stock up on natural cleaning products: Wendyl’s, Dr Bronner’s, Ecover, various coconut oil-based beauty products.

 

bulk dried beans

Bulk Food Savings is at 217 Dominion Road – behind the main Dominion Road shops. The easiest way to find it is off Walters Road – it shares a carpark with the Wendy’s drive-through. There’s also a walkway by the bus stop opposite Vinyl.

It’s open every day: Monday-Saturday 9am-6pm, and Sundays 10am-4pm.

Read more reviews: Nom Nom Panda, Yelp.

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