Veganism has enjoyed its fair share of publicity recently, with top outlets such as The Economist reporting that 2019 is “the year of the vegan”. Come join us as we take a deep-dive into its new-found popularity and why even the most enthusiastic of meat-eaters could be surprised by one of the fastest-growing food trends.
In recent years, there has been a boom in plant-based offerings. While the community continues to grow and teeters on the edge of entering the mainstream, it has turned around the tired misconceptions of tofu-only meals and mushroom burgers as being the only options for vegans to enjoy on a night out. Frankly speaking, in the past veganism has seemed nothing short of Boring, with a capital “B”, but nowadays vegan eateries could give the most extensive mainstream menus a run for their money.
Besides the environmental incentives that come with a plant-based diet, the fact is consumers have more to choose from, and even the pickiest, meat-loving palate could find a vegan meal that satisfies their desires – if they would just let it.
Veganism is for Everyone
You don’t have to be a vegan to enjoy vegan food, so don’t be put off of trying out a new restaurant or meal because it’s something you wouldn’t normally choose. Foodies love to try new things, and if the right chef has played a part in making the meal that finds its way to your table, trust that even a vegan meal could blow your mind.
Veganism has enjoyed a boom for this very reason: variety. The days of lettuce cups and falafel pitas as the only vegan options are long behind us, and we guarantee that you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what is on offer. Adding to this, vegan options are no longer limited to only being available at Farmers’ Markets and day-trips to the countryside. Instead, you can now enjoy a meal in popular districts and suburbs – all the way from Cape Town’s trendy Woodstock area to Johannesburg’s bustling Sandhurst.
Convenient locations and vast menus aren’t where the trend ends: the popularity of vegan wine has skyrocketed in recent months, and even Woolworths has expanded their vegan wine offering. What makes certain wines vegan? It all comes down to a process called “fining”. At an earlier stage in production, wines are hazy due to tiny molecules such as proteins, tartrates, tannins and phenolics. Although none of these are harmful, many wine-drinkers prefer clear wines that are rich in colour. In order to combat this, fining agents such as milk, egg and other animal proteins have been used as processing aids. However, it’s important to note that these are not additives to the wine, and are filtered out with the aforementioned haze molecules. Today, however, many winemakers use clay or charcoal-based fining agents to “fine out” unwanted proteins. Another method is to leave wines to self-stabilise and self-fine.
With so much variety as far as food, wine and locations go, why not give this 2019 trend a try? Even if you think a plant-based meal isn’t for you, it might actually be. Here is a list of trendy spots to try if you’re up for something new:
- Lexi’s Healthy Eatery
- Conscious 108
- Leafy Greens
- Greenside Cafe
- Free Food*
- Lekker Vegan
- The Hungry Herbivore
- Earthmother Organic Café
- It’s All Good Cafe
- Govinda’s Pure Vegetarian Restaurant
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