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The cow should not have the monopoly on milk

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With an ever-growing list of vegan products, restaurant chain Hiltl and tibits offer tips on going 'dairy-free'.

Milk alternatives are abundant. They are made from spelt, oats, rice, quinoa, amaranth, soy or almonds and are available in wholefood shops, and increasingly in supermarkets and corner stores. There is no formula as to what milk is right for you, but this can also be a good thing: it’s a lot of fun to find out which of the very different aromas and consistencies of each product you like the best from the large range. For vegans, we recommend milk drinks that are enriched with calcium and vitamin B12. Spelt, oat, rice and almond drinks have a low protein content. If you prefer soya drinks, we recommend those which are made from organic soya so that you are sure that the product is GMO-free.

Admittedly, strawberries and cream are a wonderful combination. However, you do not necessarily need cream made from cow’s milk for this. Those who love sauces and soups refined with cream can turn to cream alternatives such as soy, rice, oat or spelt cream without a problem, or, as in Southeast Asia, to coconut milk. This, however, has a strong taste which you have to think about when seasoning each different dish. Vegan double creams are available in wholefood shops, but often also in the supermarket.

Back to the strawberries: vegan whipping cream and squirty cream in a can may be found in many health-food stores and in wholefood shops. When buying vegan whipping cream, you should check whether the product will need a cream setter.

Butter to spread on bread can be replaced with vegetable margarine without a problem – in most cases. It is worth checking the list of ingredients carefully. Sometimes traces of milk protein, yoghurt or fatty acids can be found in supposedly vegan margarine. Also, vitamin D, which is often made from lanolin, is sometimes an uninvited guest in products which otherwise originate purely from vegetables.

When you bake, do not just replace the butter with margarine, but use vegetable oil as well – nut oil, rapeseed oil and olive oil are not only fit for purpose, but also add to the wonderful smell of the baked goods.

Yoghurt lovers can find a wide range of similar soy-based products in specialist shops. Many of these are produced with bacterial cultures and come in many different flavours. Rice-based yoghurt alternatives can also be bought, but only in better-stocked shops. Those who love set yoghurt as a dessert can strain natural soy yoghurt or vegan cream cheese using a sieve or towel in order to obtain a firmer texture. Thicker textures are often excellent for dips and spreads.

The powerful, unmistakable taste of cheese can also be produced nowadays without using milk from animals. There are many types of vegan cheese, from hard cheese to creamy mozzarella and everything in between, the taste of which is impressively close to the original. Vegan types of cheese, however, contain neither calcium nor protein, which must be considered along with its nutritional value.

If you are looking for a vegan replacement for grated cheese (for example for pasta or risotto), dried yeast flakes are suitable for this, which have a full, rounded taste – and which additionally contain useful B vitamins.

Cheesecakes that are made with tofu have some particularly tempting results – that is with a mixture of natural tofu, which has been puréed with silken tofu. This mixture is then seasoned with sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract and baked on vegan shortcrust pastry. It is definitely worth a try: even hard-core cheesecake lovers won’t notice that their favourite dish has been made in a different way.

This is an excerpt from Vegan Love Story by Hiltl and tibits, recently published by New Internationalist, to celebrate World Vegan Day.

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About the author

Kelsi Farrington is the Book Sales and Marketing intern at New Internationalist. She is completing her Masters Degree in Publishing at Oxford Brookes University and holds a First Class Degree in Journalism.

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