Pardon me as I interrupt our usual programming to bring you a post that’s a little less about travel, and more about just how awesome it is to be vegan this holiday season.
Once upon a time, many years ago, it was “hard” to be vegan. I have never known such a time. I started my vegan journey four years ago and have always had access to all of the staples I needed (vegetables, fruit, grains, nuts and seeds), as well as vegan alternatives to milk, cheese, meat and candy. In recent years, the selection has only gotten better. After spending some time in Victoria, British Columbia and Seattle, Washington, I discovered that local vegans are spoiled with choices, even when it comes to holiday treats.
I know the festive goodies I’m about to share aren’t available all around the world, but we do have some amazing online vegan stores that ship far and wide to bring vegan products to people who don’t live near well stocked supermarkets, health food stores and restaurants. If this includes you, be sure to check out Viva Granola, an online vegan store that ships worldwide, Vegan Essentials and Cosmo’s Vegan Shopee.
Late July Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich Cookies
While in Seattle, we stayed with the lovely folks behind Bitt of Raw. They took us to many places in the city but one of my favourite stops was definitely Sidecar For Pigs Peace (5270 University Way Seattle, WA), an all vegan store. Sidecar was well stocked with vegan holiday treats, including the much sought after, limited edition Late July Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Sandwich Cookies. As soon as I read about these cookies, I was on a mission to find them and make them part of our seasonal celebrations. We’ve already cracked open the box and can assure you each one of these individually wrapped cookies (there’s eight to a box) is to be savoured. I’m not surprised at Vegan Score‘s reports of their highly addictive qualities.
Sjaak’s Vegan Holiday Chocolate
Sjaak’s is well known by the vegan community for making great chocolate, both boxed truffles and miniature nut butter cups. They’re pulling out all the stops this season to bring vegans chocolate in holiday shapes (see peanut butter crunch snowmen) and confectionery in decorative reindeer and snowman boxes. They also have totes with dark chocolate mint and raspberry bites packaged for the holiday. I don’t know any vegans who wouldn’t shriek with joy if they found Sjakk’s chocolate in their stocking.
Sweet & Sara Holiday Marshmallows
When I think of December, I think of snow and hot chocolate. A little almond milk, cocoa powder and sugar makes for a nice treat, but it can be taken to the next level with the addition of vegan marshmallows. Sweet & Sara has a line of vegan marshmallows available year round but also makes seasonal creations like this super cute snowman marshmallow decorated with dark chocolate hat, scarf and buttons. We found this snowman at Sidecar, where you can also pick up reindeer and snowflake marshmallows by Sweet & Sara.
Speaking of hot cocoa, we bought some peppermint sipping chocolate from Theo, a Seattle based organic and fair trade chocolate maker. We went on a tour of their factory and came out with stars in our eyes, ready to trade our American dollar bills for their wonderful artisan creations.
We picked up several bars and of course couldn’t pass up their dark chocolate holiday specials: Nutcracker Toffee and Peppermint Stick.
Silk’s Seasonal Soy Milk
Before we show off some more chocolate, there are a few other seasonal drinks to be mentioned. Silk is one of the makers of soy holiday beverages. We found Silk’s Nog and Pumpkin Spice milk at Sidecar, though we didn’t see the Chocolate Mint variety that’s also on shelves for a limited time. We had the chance to sip on some Pumpkin Spice Silk at a party and really enjoyed the holiday flavour.
Chocolate Inspirations’ Hot Chocolate Cup
At this same party, we participated in a gift exchange and came home with lots of treats, including this gourmet hot chocolate cup from Chocolate Inspirations. I can’t wait to enjoy this with some almond milk and Sweet & Sara marshmallows!
Seasonal Clif Bars
Oh how I love seasonal flavours! I’m always raving about packing snacks while traveling and energy bars are amongst my favourite options. So imagine how excited I was to find this Spiced Pumpkin Pie Clif Bar at a PCC Natural Market in Seattle, WA. I just visited the Clif website and found this is just one of three seasonal options. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Clif Iced Gingerbread and Cranberry Orange Nut Bread bars too.
Vegan Chocolate Santa
Before we arrived in Seattle, we were hanging out in Victoria, BC for a month. It’s not just Seattle that’s stocked with vegan holiday treats, we also found lots of goodies in Victoria. At Seed of Life Natural Foods (1316 Government, Victoria, BC), we found this dark chocolate Santa Claus made by a local chocolatier from British Columbia.
Organic Fair Holiday Chocolate Bars
At Market on Yates (903 Yates Street, Victoria, BC), we spotted these Organic Fair chocolate bars, which are also made in British Columbia. They have a collection of bars that are available year round, but also make special holiday flavours. They all sound amazing: Merry Mint with organic candy cane pieces, Noel with gingerbread, cranberries & mandarin, and the Nutcracker with spiced pecans, cashews, almonds & coconut.
We tried the Noel and Merry Mint Organic Fair bars, but somehow missed out on the Nutcracker. Maybe next year!
Wild Fire Organic Bakery & Cafe
At the Wild Fire Organic Bakery and Cafe (1517 Quadra Street, Victoria, BC), we were super surprised and happy to find vegan gingerbread people. The holidays just aren’t the holidays without homemade cookies. If you’re looking for a recipe for gingerbread cookies, check out Healthy Vegan Recipes’ Vegan Gingerbread Recipe.
Pink Sugar Cupcakery
You’re guaranteed to find sweet vegan treats at Victoria’s Pink Sugar Cupcakery (773 Fort Street Victoria, BC) year round, but they really outdo themselves during the holidays. In addition to their cupcake options, they make special holiday cookies, like this candy cane stuffed creation that resembles an Oreo. This is the only thing that was able to tide us over while we waited to get our hands on some of those Late July cookies.
In the cupcake department, Pink Sugar had five seasonal specials: Rum & (Soy)Eggnog, The Perfect Pear, Gingerbread, Red Velvet and Christmas Bliss. We sampled four of the five, missing out on Christmas bliss which was sold out. The Gingerbread and Rum & Eggnog were our faves, and made us sad we opted for the minis.
Field Roast Christmas Dinner
Not all vegan holiday treats are sweet and involve chocolate. There’s also the whole matter of the main dish at Christmas dinner. We’ve had a Tofurky for the last few years but decided to switch up the tradition and have a Field Roast dinner this year. While at Sidecar we couldn’t resist buying a Field Roast Wild Rice and Cranberry Fig Roast En Croute. We’re super lucky to have got our hands on this product. Field Roast is a Seattle based company and this product is typically only sold to restaurants, with the only exception being the Sidecar store. I can’t wait to try it!
At Sidecar we also bought a Field Roast Herbed Chao Cheese ball. It’s going to be a special (and tasty) Christmas this year!
Happy Holidays to all of you! Don’t you love this potato tree we spotted at the University District Farmers Market in Seattle?! I’m submitting it to the No Croutons Required Festive Photo Round.
Vegan Gift Guide
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