Monday, May 25, 2009

V is for Vegan, and Vegan is for me.

I work in a law office, and as you might imagine it's not exactly a haven of vegans. I, in fact, am the only veg*n there. The truth is that in daily life the only other vegan that I regularly encounter is my partner. Pretty much everyone else I interact with at all is omni, and as we all know, the general public can be more than a little confused by the choice of veganism. Inevitably the subject of my diet comes up from time to time, and when I describe veganism to office mates who've never heard of it before, there's a question that I get pretty frequently. It goes something like this:

"How can you live without chocolate and cookies and cupcakes and stuff?"

When I hear this, I panic for a split second. The die-hard three-year-old sugar addict in me thinks, oh no, what have I done! But then I come to my senses (remembering the pint of ice "cream" I inhaled just the night before), and realize that the vegan world offers up enough sweet treats to make any responsible mom faint on the spot. I myself am a pretty darn good vegan baker - more than once my vegan cupcakes have become the talk of the party, even among people who swore they wouldn't give a chance to a vegan cupcake. But my rudimentary stylings can't compare to the delectable delights on daily offer by the Vegan Etsy team.

Wanna see what I mean? Yeah, I knew you did.

A relatively new addition to the Vegan Etsy team, we have Sweet Fritsy - and when it comes to awesome vegans making awesome vegan sweets, the more the merrier for sure! Her shop has some truly gorgeous offerings, and I really must give these Maple Candied Pecans a whirl. Candied pecans are a sacred food of my people - you know, the ancient tribe of the New Orleanians. And hey! It just so happens that we've just decided to have our wedding in New Orleans. I may need to inquire about bulk orders...

For us cupcake lovers - and we are legion - Sweet Fritsy also whips up gorgeous cupcakes and provides a variety of amazing little toppers for them. These are my favorite: mushrooms! You can have a little bit of woodland forest magic for you birthday, your wedding, or just any ol' day you see fit. They're shipped with icing on the side along with a piping bag, so that you get to get crafty when they arrive and end up with picture-perfect cakes. Totally freaking awesome, yes? Yes!

Got a thing for cookies? Then Vegan Propamanda just might be the shop for you. (And can I just say, hilarious shop name? Right up there with Melt Briana.) She offers the every-household classics like chocolate chip and oatmeal, as well as more quirky offerings that I recognize as regional specialties (what with her being in Jersey, me being in Queens, and all) like pignoli cookies topped with pine nuts, and these GORGEOUS black and whites. A vegan black and white cookie? Dude, I'm soooo there.

Cornerstone team member (Holistically) Heather says it all with the name of her sweets shop: For the Love of Vegan. She tends to add emphasis too - the LOVE! Here she offers up an eclectic grouping of edibles that must be seen to be believed... including some chocolate of an "adult" theme. Don't worry though; the shop is very tastefully presented and you'll have to intentionally peek behind the curtain to get a look at some shapes you never thought chocolate would come in. And then we have these babies - ever had a vegan pumpkin brownie with chocolate chips? Now's your chance!

Leigh Conner, another Vegan Etsy newbie, is cooking up cookies like yer mom used to and shipping them right to your door. Her shop name tells us a lot about how she feels about baking, and how she feels about us: it's called Vegan Love. How adorable are these lemon sugar cookies? Not only do they look completely delish, but with the sweet heart shape, luxe icing, and darling packaging, you can rest assured that these goodies were made with love and care. Leigh, we heart your cookies, and we heart you too.

Me, I used to be a big sucker for those oatmeal cream pies. You know the ones - made of nothing but chemicals and packaged in those awful little plastic bags. But I'm a chocolate fiend, and this offering by Kt's Kitchen looks far more amazing than those franken-cookies ever could. And of course, these are vegan! This here isn't mass produced junk like those ones in the box neither - this is the real deal folks. Kt calls this The Integrator, a substantial name for a substantial treat. She's yet another new addition to the team - I'm telling you, this team gets better by the minute!

Kt is also in the cupcake game - you could even call them *specialty* cupcakes. These babies are sure to make any vegan's eyes bug out just a lil' bit - you know, cartoon style with accompanying aah-ooh-ga sound effects. Much like the above pies, this version of the classic treat is lightyears above and beyond those mass-produced things sold in boxes at the grocery - what are those things made of anyway? Petroleum products? For the time being these tasty cakes are only available in Ohio, but i'm holding out hope that soon they'll be going WORLDWIDE. So, uh, Kt, I got this wedding coming up...

Listen, I've got to come clean. I've been holding out on you. I know it was wrong.. but sometimes, something is just so good that you want to keep it to yourself.

Are you a chocolate purist? Alright. Come with me; I have someone I'd like you to meet. Her name is Jhenn, her awesome shop is called Choco-a-Go-Go, and she creates some of the most perfect, amazing, melt-in-your-mouth heavenly chocolate that I've ever eaten. And poppets, I've eaten some chocolate. Our first encounter was in the very early springtime when I ordered two chocolate and peanut butter bunny rabbits from her shop - purportedly for Easter. Well, I ordered them several weeks before they holiday, they were promptly shipped, and... they didn't make it to Easter, either of them. So I then needed more chocolate for Easter weekend, and so ordered her fancy Springtime -n- Easter box, which was beautiful and superb. Even my man, who's so not about the sweets, was truly impressed.

Most recently I purchased four of Jhenn's Gogi and Almond dark chocolate bars, largely because for the month of May she is donating all profits from this item to the American Cancer Society in memory of her dad. Well, on the Thursday that I received them I had four bars. On that Saturday I had, uh, one bar. Suffice it to say that in order to prevent me from inhaling Jhenn's delights, they have to be physically taken away from me and hidden. Well. In other words, I recommend them highly. There's still a week of Jhenn's donation month left, so go order some gogi bars now!

So, you've got a sweet tooth? Welcome to the wonderful world of vegan. Not only will we satisfy you - we'll do it with quality ingredients that will leave your conscience clear. If you can tell me what's better than that, I'll give you a dollar. (And you're so not getting that dollar.)

Until next Monday...

Melissa Bastian.


Johanna said...

OMG, I'm drooling right now... this stuff looks sooo yummy!!!

melissa bastian. said...

Dude, I know, just leave it to the team to make you freakin' drool all over yourself right? I have no idea how I lived for so long without these people!

VeganCraftastic said...

Oh my yumminess! I really need to stay away from the blog when I'm this hungry :)

Anonymous said...

The American Cancer society is a horrible charity to be supporting as a vegan. They TEST ON ANIMALS, PEOPLE!! Honestly, Jhenn's chocolates look good, but I will NOT buy them knowing that my money would go towards torturing poor, innocent animals! Why would a vegan choose cuh a charity?

melissa bastian. said...

Well, Anonymous, I can't address you properly because you haven't left a name. Jhenn is donating to that charity because she lost her father to cancer two years ago, and it is the charity she felt was doing the most significant work toward finding cures. So please try to have a little empathy, and please try to keep your comments and judgments to places where they can actually lead to productive discussion rather than just cause hurt.