Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Battle Of The Vegan Grocery Store: Veganz Versus Un Monde Vegan

Wall of Vegan Cheese
Two Full Cases Of Vegan Cheese!!!
    “Veganism is growing in popularity, especially in the cities – Berlin seems to be a vegan paradise filled with vegan shops and cafes. Berlin has 21 vegan restaurants, and more are opening all the time. Being vegan is definitely ‘cool’ right now in German cities. Everyone asks in the non-vegan restaurants ‘do you have vegan food?’ – there is huge demand and it’s quickly becoming more mainstream."-Veganz, Marketing manager, Ivonne Meyer (quoted from theallanimalvegan.com) 

     I've been sitting around procrastinating writing up the review of my European vacation, because that's what I'm good at. Then, Huffington Post wrote this terrible article about how France and Germany are some of the hardest places to be vegan. I'm actually quite shocked on how little research was done. It reads like trivia pursuit card and is exactly what's wrong with the "b" word (that's blogging for those not in the know. Perhaps the ugliest word in the English language. I'm kinda embarrassed I wrote it). I guess you should never trust an article without a byline.
     I dug up the pictures from our London, Paris and Berlin vacation. You know, actual research, and here is my response to that article (not to mention my two articles on San Antonio, Texas  cuisine Vegeria and Green. Texas was also mentioned in that terrible article). In short, Paris had one of, perhaps the second best place I've eaten, and Berlin is a vegan dream. Surprisingly, london was kinda of a disappointment foodwise. If I can shake this procrastination affliction as Ivonne illustrates. I'll post all the places I've visited and put them on a master page once everything is finished, but don't hold your breath. Until then, this is my cannon fire into the cloud of Huffington Post's misinformation; a battle of all vegan grocery stores, one in Paris and several in Berlin. It sure is hard to be vegan in these places. just do a simple search on happycow.net.

Eiffel Tower at Night
The stars are bright, deep in the heart of Paris!

     Well, I guess this is going to be a silent and picture less battle of Un Monde Vegan, but I hope you'll settle for the Eiffel Tower at night. Not sure what happened, but I didn't take any pictures in the store Well, at least I can't find them. Un Monde Vegan is a quaint little store with just one case of vegan cheeses. I'll post one of their videos below, it is in french, but gives a good look into the store. They did have vegan foie gras, but I'm too scared to open it and try it. Oh, and vegan croissants. One more time for the shameless too scared to put their name on the bylineHuffington Post author, Vegan Croissants. 
     The special one and I headed over to Un Monde Vegan prior to visiting the Eiffel tower. The idea of a croissant, baguette and cheese picnic sounded just the perfect amount of cliche. I'm not trying to rewrite the traveling guide book here. We ended up with croissants, cheezly cheese and these amazing vegan cheese slices from *gasp* Germany. They have a castle on the package, in case you need to find them. Along with enough chocolate, include white chocolate, to fill a suit. Oh, and gummy bears. Don't judge me. They had vitamin C, so I believe they were healthy. Plus, it's best to not get sick when traveling. Either way, if you're traveling to Paris, Un Monde Vegan is worth a visit. It's pretty impressive to visit. It's kinda of exciting to pick anything in a store and not read the ingredients! 

A Chain Of All Vegan Grocery Stores
     The leading photo should give you an idea of how amazing Veganz is. And guess what? There's three throughout germany. Still not impressed? They are expanding to London. Veganz is everything I thought a vegan grocery store should be and more, a fresh produce section, a crazy freezer section of fake meats, meals and ice creams that I've never heard of. Sometimes it was in German so I had no idea what it was, but the best part was I knew it was vegan. Since we only had one more night in Berlin, we skipped the frozen and fresh section and headed for the cheese. I was determined to try them all, those amazing cheese slices from germany, tofutti flavors I've never seen before, cheezly, daiya, vegusto and shreese. I settled for those another german cheese brand (jeezini), parmela and a chives cream cheese from shreese. If you're keeping score that's two all vegan cheese brands in the terrible for vegans country. 
     I've had shreese before thanks to the almighty cakewalk. Unfortunately, shreese is hard to get so it's been a while. Anyway, this was before the daiya cream cheese, but the shreese chives and onion was one of if not the best cream cheeses I've ever had. Yes, better than the daiya version. I hope they start distributing here again. Or perhaps, another trip to Berlin is order. Oh, I also loaded up on chocolate and an ice cream for the road, despite the downpour. I couldn't resit, the flavor was snow white.  The little baby boy ended up with a vegan pig ear as well.

Vegan Bounty
I Miss Those Cheese Slices.
     As if that wasn't enough to get a win. The veganz location I visited had a vegan shoe store, bakery and an all vegan Italian restaurant (Mio Matto)  from one of berlin's famed chef's Bjoern Moschinski. (I'll make that my next post. Since we had lunch there before visiting Veganz). I was in such awe of the vegan industrial complex that I almost walked away with some brand new vegan shoes from Avesu. I've never seen such an impressive collection of shoes. I can fully understand how women feel about shoes. I could've walked away with several pairs, but luckily for my wallet they didn't have my size. 
Avesu: A Vegan Shoe
So Much Selection, So Little Euros.
     After paying for my vegan bounty, the checkout line brilliantly feeds right into a vegan bakery and sandwich shop called Goodies with some of the hardest to pronounce pastries.  It was a point and head nod here, even though the workers spoke perfect English. It doesn't help with my Jersey pronunciation of bagel.  Again, vegan croissants (that's 3 times now Huffington Post!) were had along with some other sweets beginning with a w and a few zs in the middle of it. I wish I knew enough german to let you know what they were. 
     German pastries are everywhere in Berlin. Mainly because the city has the best subway system. Each station and even on the platforms are shops where you can get coffee, pretzels and other pastries. I was always drooling hoping for a vegan version to sample. Goodies was the cherry on top of the visit to the vegan industrial complex and gave me that german experience, even if I have a picture of a french pastry below.

Vegan German Croissants
     So I guess you're keeping score. It's fair to say that Veganz is the clear winner. The shop was bright, inviting and bustling. Pretty much a normal grocery store that happened to be vegan. But honestly an all vegan grocery story in Paris and several in Berlin (and soon to be London), we're all winners here. I declare that both get trophies. If you're in either city or both, be sure to visit. And get that castle cheese. 

Un Monde Vegan Video (yes, they have pictures of vegan croissants!) 

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

This is a really helpful entry, thanks! My husband and I are planning a trip to Europe next summer. We live in Korea now, where I'm about a 90% vegan (never meat, but I'm eating things with eggs and milk in them on occasion over here). I'm happy to see that it will be easier to eat vegan in Europe than in the non-Seoul parts of the ROK!