Vegan discoveries at Sabato


I first knew of Sabato as the place being protested for stocking foie gras, as well as the importer’s name on my favourite paprika. I wasn’t expecting the gourmet food importer and retailer to be very vegan-friendly, and in some ways it’s not, particularly. Alongside the foie gras, you can find goose fat, olives stuffed with chorizo and all kinds of exotic unnecessary animals. The couple of times I’ve mentioned being vegetarian, reactions have ranged from sarcasm to curiosity, like I’m a rare foreigner with unusual customs.

But though their ethics around food differ from my own where animals are involved, in other places there are overlaps. Most of the products they stock are sourced directly from small producers in Europe and New Zealand, like number 29 table olives and Ringawera lavash, both from small Waiheke-based companies. A lot of stock is organic or natural, produced with care using traditional methods and real ingredients. The vegan products that they do stock are special, delicious and in many cases, hard to find elsewhere.


vinegar tasting

And it turns out that there are a lot of products on the shelves that are suitable for vegans, from fig vincotto to roasted marcona almonds to chestnut butter. My favourite discoveries include:


Sabato’s retail showroom at 57 Normanby Road, Mt Eden, is a great place to find unusual European spices or grains, good quality essences and interesting pickles & preserves. A reason to visit rather than ordering online is the samples: little bowls and plates sit next to many of the products, inviting you to try them. If you shop on a weekend morning, you might even be offered an espresso to sip on while you shop (just don’t make the mistake of asking for soy milk!)


today's breakfast

Yesterday morning, we walked down to Sabato and picked up a loaf of bread and a couple of other not-exactly-essentials including a jar of truffle salt for a friend. Breakfast was simple and perfect: an Ooooby avocado on thick slices of fresh bread from Sabato, with some of their Pronto Rosso sundried tomato pesto with basil, garlic and chilli.

4 thoughts on “Vegan discoveries at Sabato

  1. Hi Moira,

    Thank you for mentioning us on your blog and taking the time to come in and shop with us. We are delighted to read you enjoyed your purchases and noticed that many are suited for vegan diets.
    There are more pastes arriving before Christmas you might enjoy as well.
    Sorry about the lack of soy milk – since the coffee is complimentary, as you remarked, we tend to keep it pretty simple.
    We also have a number of staff in training at the moment so your point about them not really knowing what ‘vegan’ is, is a good one – we get many people with special diets, so obviously a bit of education is in order there.

    Hoping we see you again,

    The team at Sabato

  2. Hi Sabato team, thanks for visiting my blog! I’ll definitely be back – you guys are just around the corner, and exploring your shelves is always exciting.

    No worries about the soy milk of course – you’ve made me a couple of excellent long blacks which I’ve very much appreciated – but the one time I asked the response was a bit grumpy.

  3. I’ve literally just stumbled upon your blog – and very excited to do so. You seem to know a whole lot of places to get some good vegan stuff, that I just haven’t thought of. I’ve just returned to NZ after a long time away and I’ve been feeling like “the only vegan in the village”
    I’ve visited SAFE in K’ Rd and things like that – but I find they stock a lot of vegan ‘junk’ packet mixes/sauces and things which I’m not that keen on. I’m going to stalk the rest of your blog now, thanks for all the info – and I think I’m going to go and try Il Buco sometime soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.