Saturday, January 28, 2012

It's pricey to go vegan

Follow Your Heart - Vegan Gourmet Cheese Alternative - Nacho
Every once in a while, my mom reminisces about her childhood days growing on the farm and how they used to have pigs. And invariably she ends up talking about how cruel it is to eat those poor pigs. Closet vegan? She still buys ham and bacon and she talks about how pricey all that phoney meat stuff is.

And going vegan can actually be pricey. Like "Nacho Cheese", the "vegan gourmet cheese alternative" from Follow Your Heart. It retails at Karmavore in New Westminster for $5.89 for a 284g pack ($2.07 per 100g). Compare with, say, a Black Diamond Cheese Bar ($7.97 per 700 grams at Superstore, or $10.47 regular price; sometimes as low as $4.97 at No Frills).

Still, I wanted to let my mom try it. In case she really did want to act on her don't-eat-the-poor-pigs mindset.

This soy "cheese" from Follow Your Heart is wet like tofu but firmer. It's orange, so you might expect a strong cheddar flavour, but the taste reminds me more of nachos than cheese per se. I'm not sure if that's cheating or not. But another way to look at it is whether you miss cheese or if you're too busy enjoying the taste.
The taste is not bad, if you like loaded nachos.

It also melts. Wetter than cheese and without the same stringy cheese stickiness, but at least it melts, so you can retain that experience of cheese.

Overall, however, I'd have to say if you're not vegan, you're overpaying. If you are vegan, however, and still in the early stages where you crave all the goodies you missed, then this isn't bad.

Gardein - the Ultimate Beefless Burger
I also got a bag of 4 Gardein Beef Burgers. After trying the burgers from Loving Hut Express which uses this brand, I thought I'd give it a go. I settled on the Ultimate Beefless Burger (sometimes available from Karmavore for $5.29, but more often than likely sold out), in part because our family has been off red meat since forever.

The taste was almost eerily beef-like! Although there was a soy after-taste to it. Firmness and texture were also pretty good if you were comparing it to meat; although it was a beef patty, it clearly didn't look like ground beef.

Do NOT throw this onto a griddle or into a frying pan. It comes with a coat of sauce that will melt off and caramelize like melted sugar. Without this, your burger won't taste good.

At $5.29, however, it works out to $1.32 per patty -- each patty approximately 85g, or less than a quarter pound (which would be 113.398g). Compare with a slab of top sirloin grilling steak at $11.00 per kilogram (or a mere $1.10 per 100 grams) at Save-on-Foods this week.

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