Reviews: Food and Drink

CoYo Coconut Yoghurt with fruit

Before my vego days, I used to eat a lot of yoghurt, but I stopped after going vegetarian because so many included gelatine. I started up again a bit before going vegan, after I found some non-gelatine kinds, but then I had to stop again, of course. Dairy. I do eat soy yoghurt on occasion, but I try not too eat too much because it’s not good for you to eat too much soy. So imagine my excitement when I discovered coconut yoghurt at The Green Grocer in West End! Then I found it in the Flannery’s down the road! Excitement plus!

It’s creamy. It’s got that great tangy yoghurt taste. It doesn’t taste like soy! It does taste a bit like coconut, which I like, so that’s good. It comes with a layer of fruit on the bottom. I like the passionfruit. If you dip down and get a bit of fruit on your spoon along with the coconut yoghurt, it is actually one of the best things ever.

It’s very rich, so I don’t eat much at a time – just a few spoonfuls. That’s good, cos I’m not rich and it costs about $9 a container. Yikes!

But it’s worth it.

Banrock Station Wines

Banrock Station White Shiraz

Banrock Station White Shiraz (no, the chocolate isn't vegan - but I was vegetarian when I took this picture).

Banrock Station is a South Australian vineyard which grows five different varieties of grapes. I’ve tried their White Shiraz (pictured), and it’s lovely. Light, fruity and sweet – but not too sweet. I love the little zing shiraz makes on my tongue. I’ve also tried their Crimson Cabernet. It’s darker, but still sweet and it has that same spritz.

Banrock Station isn’t just a vineyard though – they are a conservation group. Located on an once run-down sheep station, the 1750 hectare property includes 250 hectares of wine grapes, 600 hectares of mallee woodland and 900 hectares of floodplain and wetlands. The wetlands are listed as one of the 1,200 most important wetlands in the world. As well as restoring their own property, the people at Banrock Station have also contributed to conservation projects in the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • Kenya
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • UK
  • USA.

You can go visit their ecologically friendly property (which runs on solar power and is self-sufficient in water usage). They have boardwalks and birdwatching in the wetlands, as well as the more typical wine tasting and meals. There are gum trees lining the rivers, creeks and lagoons that are several hundred years old. It looks like a truly beautiful place.

As a bonus:
If you’re living in Australia, you can try out their water calculator. According to the calculator, our household uses 361 litres of water per day, which is a little higher than the actual usage on our water advice (just below 340 litres, from memory).

Smooze!

smooze

Smooze!, a vegan ice-block made in Indonesia.

Smooze! is a vegan, kosher and halal ice-block, made of fruit juice and coconut milk. There are four flavours – so far I’ve tasted the coconut and pineapple, which tasted like a virgin pina colada! Yankee Elv says it leaves a slightly scratchy feeling at the back of her throat when she’s finished eating, but I don’t get that much.

The other flavours are coconut and mango, coconut and pink guava, and coconut and passionfruit.

The ingredients are:

  • Pineapple juice
  • Coconut milk
  • Sugar
  • Stabiliser
  • Pectin
  • Citric Acid
  • Natural fruit flavours
  • Ascorbic [sic] acid.

The ice-blocks are available in the supermarket – I bought mine in Coles – in with all the icy poles. They’re not frozen; you put them in the freezer when you get home to freeze them.

The one drawback that I can see is that they are made in Indonesia. Now, while Indonesia is close to Australia, it’s definitely outside the 100 mile radius! So it might be back to Weis bars for me. However, these ice-blocks would be great for you if you were living in Indonesia. They have also inspired me to try making my own – they seem pretty simple.

Mostly, I like them for convenience, the taste, and the way they’re so clearly and proudly labelled ‘dairy free’ and ‘vegan’. Yay for clear labelling!

Syndian Products

Adzuki bean and kumera patties - yum!

Syndian is a Sydney-based company that specialises in vegetarian (mostly vegan) ready-to-eat style foods. In one sense, they’re not brilliantly eco-friendly, because they come pre-packaged. That being said, the packaging is no worse than any other food of this type, and they do include not meat and (predominantly) no dairy or eggs. As a full-time worker, sometimes I come home from work and I just don’t have it in me to cook up some brilliantly gourmet meal. On those days, meals like those Syndian produce are my saviour!

Ok… to be fair, so far I’ve only tried the Asian Bean and Kumera patties – but they tasted good! I was so excited just to see more (extremely) clearly labelled vegan stuff in the supermarket… I’ll be trying the other things as I feel the need.

The one draw-back is that they’re not cheap… but they’re not more expensive than similar meat-based dishes, so although it’s more expensive than most vegan things I buy, I don’t feel like I’m being ripped off.

Ultimately, I think there’s a market for these types of foods – and luckily for me, I’m reaping allllll the benefits!

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