Did you know there’s a vegan grocery store in Canada? Panacea in Toronto, Ontario is an all vegan grocery store that’s actually bigger than Food Fight in Portland, Oregon. It’s been around for two years but I visited it for the first time in April. They have tons of vegan food, cookbooks, body care products and clothing. And everything is vegan! I couldn’t take pictures of everything in the store but did manage to make note of some of the most interesting vegan finds.
Daiya cheese, welcome to my home province! After reading all of the hype online, I became very curious about this special soy free cheese. As much as I was interested, I was skeptical. After trying it several different ways, I’m happy to report it’s just as impressive as everyone has been raving about. It smells and tastes like real cheese. Although, I may not be the best judge, it has been awhile since I’ve had the real thing. It does melt, not the same way regular cheese does, but it’s close. Daiya isn’t something I’d eat very often but it certainly makes for a nice treat. $8.99 Canadian is steep for 300 grams of fake cheese but it did go a long way. Daiya hasn’t made it to Ottawa’s health food stores yet but maybe it will be there by the time I return to Canada. I brought some back for some girl friends and Jennifer from It Ain’t Meat, Babe has already started experimenting with it.
Sweet & Sara marshmallows are another great vegan product that, sadly, isn’t stocked in Ottawa or many other places in Canada. Panacea sells multiple flavours, and even had some leftover special edition Easter marshmallows. I’ve been lucky enough to have them a few times. They’re so good on their own, I can’t even imagine what kind of awesome baked goods could be made with them. At $7.29 Canadian per box, they ought to be reserved for special occasions.
Go Max Go Foods is a relatively new company with its own line of vegan chocolate bars. They have four kinds, each modeled off a classic chocolate bar. Their lineup includes Jokerz (Snickers), Twilight (Milky Way), Mahalo (Almond Joy) and Buccaneer (Three Muskateers). Panacea is the only place I’ve seen them in Canada. If there’s anywhere else, be sure to let me know. I’m sure there are a lot of Canadians who would like to get their hand on them without having to order online and pay high shipping and customs fees. They’re $2.99 Canadian, which is much more than a normal chocolate bar but totally worth it.
A few years ago, I came across Coconut Bliss ice cream while visiting San Fransisco. They have a fantastic line of coconut based ice cream with cool flavours like Pineapple Coconut and Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge. It’s not just Panacea in Toronto stocking them, they are popping up at other health food stores in Canada. I recently spotted some at Market Organics in Ottawa. I didn’t catch the price but it’s comparable to other soy and coconut ice creams, somewhere around $6.00-$7.00 Canadian.
Vegan white chocolate is a mystery to me. I’ve tried two versions and both were flavourless and waxy. Despite my bad experiences, it does interest me and I’m waiting to find a brand that gets it right. Panacea has some white chocolate chips that look good but I didn’t have a chance to try them. They were pretty expensive, $6.49 Canadian for a 284 gram bag.
Panacea’s freezer section is well stocked with tons of great looking frozen desserts. They’ve got lots of So Delicious sandwiches and bars, as well as a whole line of cakes from Live Food Bar, a raw food restaurant in Toronto.
You can find t-shirts and bags designed by Herbivore, as well as other organic, fair trade and eco lines.
There’s also a great selection of vegan pins, stickers and patches.
Okay, and now for the weirdest find. A giant chocolate burger, along with chocolate french fries and ketchup by Boardwalk Chocolates in Toronto. All chocolate, all vegan. The card that comes with it encourages buyers to share the one pound chocolate creation with friends. Such novelty and only $30.00 Canadian.
Panacea is a great store and we’re very lucky to have it in Canada. If you’re in Toronto, be sure to drop by and show your support by indulging in some vegan goodies.
Panacea: An Eco-Shopping Oasis
588 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON M6G 1K4, Canada