I’ve had so much fun trying all the products available to vegans all over the world, and while I like the differences I find, I can’t seem to help but pick favourites.
These are my favourite vegan products across the countries I have visited since being vegan (Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Micronesia, USA, UK, Denmark, France, Italy, Austria, and Georgia). I have never received any free or discounted products, or any inducements to review a product from any of the suppliers mentioned below, or any others. That said, I’m totally up for free stuff if any one wants to send any my way (I suspect I don’t have the readership for that!).
Just a note: the countries referred to in parenthesis are the countries where I have seen the products. I don’t know where many of them come from, or they are manufactured in various locations.
Plain non-dairy milk
Winner – Edeka Natur Soy Milk (Austria, Georgia)
Runner Up – Bonsoy (Japan, Australia, world)
Flavoured non-dairy milk
Winner – Its a tie between Kikkoman Coffee flavoured soy milk(US and Pacific) and Edeka Vanilla flavoured soy milk (Austria and Georgia).
Runner up – I love all flavoured soy milks, so everyone is a runner up.
Winner – Alpro Soy Yoghurt, raspberry flavour (UK).
Runner up – The many soy yoghurts in the USA are edible and taste somewhat like real yoghurt.
Nothing available in Australia, France, or Austria come anywhere near a passable yoghurt-ish favour, and most suffer horribly from an overwhelming soy-boiled-in-plastic taste (I’m looking at you, Soy King).
Winner – Cheezly, the French version (France). Hard cheese style, soft and creamy, and tastes just fantastic.
Runner up – its a tie between Daiya Cheddar flavour (US) and Redwood Cheezly Mozarella (NZ, Australia). Daiya is good for the meltyness it brings, and it buttery flavour, but Redwood Cheezly continues to be my favourite for use on pizza and in canneloni, lasagne, etc.
An Honorable Mention must go to Sheese (UK, Australia) for having so many flavours, even though they do suffer a little from the overwhelming-soy-flavour problem that plagues so many mock dairy and mock meat endeavours.
Winner – Fry’s Beef-style strips and chicken style cutlets (UK, Australia) ties with the Valsoia vegan chicken croquettes and meat balls available in nearly every freezer section in every supermarket in Italy.
Runner up – Tofurky vegan pizza with Daiya Cheese (USA), and Amy’s for having such a range and ensuring some options for the gluten free peeps.
Winner – Pizza rosso with chilli from all the take out “by the slice” places in Rome (Italy). It is deep dish style, oily, warm and fantastic. This stuff is so good, yo don’t even miss the cheese. Not to be confused with pizza from pizzerias or restaurants, which is the thin, crusty, less flavoursome kind.
Runner up – Vegetarian pizza with vegan cheese from Eat Pizza, Melbourne (Australia). Their vegan lot is pretty good too. Tied for second are the frozen Tofurky pizzas with vegan cheese, available in freezer sections across the USA.
Honorable Mention – Goes to the vegan pizza at The Rusty Anchor on Pohnpei, even though we’re probably the only people who have or will ever order it.
Winner – Tartex, all flavours, seems to deserve its reputation and price point. I tried many other vegan spreads with similar ingredients while in the UK, France and Austria, but none of them lived up to the full flavour of Tartex.
Runner Up – Eggplant with Cinnamon and Walnut (badrijani da darich’inis) (Georgia) and Ajika, a local chilli paste (Georgia).
Honorable Mention – goes to coconut jam in Pohnpei.
Winner – Turtle Mountain Peanut Butter Zig Zag flavour. Its chocolate ice cream with peanut butter caramel fudge swirls. This stuff is incredibly addictive, and maybe the tastiest ice cream in a tub I have ever come across.
Runner Up – Well, I have tried vegan gelato in Italy now, and I can honestly say that the flavours to be had at Melbourne’s own Casa Del Gelato trump anything else I’ve come across in my travels. Eat up, fellow Melbournites!
Two Honorable Mentions – One for the vegan soft serve at Eden Bakery in Portland, Oregon, and another for Ice Kechang in Singapore. Ice Kechang isn’t ice cream as such, but it is a fantastic iced dessert for vegans on a hot day. No brand as such, its shaved ice, covered in many flavours of syrup, crushed nuts, and swimming in sweet red beans, syrup and lychees. Watch out, it is usually topped with sweet milk (condensed), so vegans need to ask for milk-free.
Chocolates and Sweet junk
Winner – Sajak’s almond and Sajak’s hazelnut filled chocolate cups (USA). These are just too good to pass up, mostly because of their lovely, creamy, praline centers.
Runner Up – Newman’s filled chocolate cups, particularly the hazelnut or peanut butter versions (USA). Also, all their vegan biscuits. Note, not everything in this brand is vegan.
Honorable mention goes to Justin’s Chocolate Nut Butters, which taste like a lolly, but are protein packed and come in packets which are really good if you are traveling and can’t carry bulky jars.
Plain Chocolate (Block form)
Winner – Organica Vegan Diets Swiss Courveture (UK) is the very best vegan chocolate block I have ever tasted. I wish very much that I had bought more of them to take with me across the globe. As it was I had one, and it disappeared in one sitting – it was that good. I have a feeling it would make the very most fabulous chocolate desserts, and I feel a little sad that I don’t have access to it in Australia. Its fair-trade, of course.
In Australia, I continue to advocate for Plamil Milk-style Chocolate (UK, Australia), however wishing doesn’t make it as good as the Organica stuff.
Bathroom and Cosmetic Gear
Toothpaste – the winner here is the Red Seal Baking Soda toothpaste (NZ, Ausralia), however The Cooperative Freshmint Vegan toothpaste (UK) is a pretty close second.
Deodorant – My new favourite deodorant in the whole world is Tom’s Of Maine solid deodorant (USA). No stains on shirts, it seems to work for long periods, and it smells good.
Face Wash – I have itchy skin most of the time and am allergic to soap and just about every scent ever put in a cream, but I love the Lavera cream face wash (rose) I got in France. In Australia, Nature’s Organics gets the top points for being vegan, soap free and cheap.
Sunscreen – Natio will always win this one for me. Aussie, vegan, no animal testing, and available everywhere in Aus. The two bottles we took with us still haven’t run out.
So What have I missed? Leave your favourite vegan products for 2011 in the comments.