Happy Valentine's Day Photo By LallHave a vegan sweetheart this year? Make sure your Valentine’s Day is vegan proof ! On top of the typical flowers, you can wow the vegan in your life by making a few great choices! We have quickly put together some great Valentine’s Gift Ideas for your vegan sweetie. Single this Valentine’s Day? Don’t let it get to you! Why not treat yourself to any of the  suggestions below and indulge in your freedom?!

1) Vegan Chocolates and Sweets: You can never go wrong with great and delicious chocolate. There are many companies that make vegan chocolate, however in the spirit of the holiday, why not go all out? You don’t have to stick to the regular chocolate bar. There are tons of great heart shaped boxed candies filled with vegan chocolates including strawberry cream, coffee flavored, and and even vegan truffles! Check out the gift boxes from Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe, Pangea (they’re having a sale), Vegan Essentials, and Rose City. If your lover isn’t into to chocolate, consider getting them a vegan cookie basket instead. There are gift sets at the above sites, as well as at Vegan Karma, This Chick Bakes, and Allison’s Gourmet.

2) Vegan Restaurants: On top of the flowers and chocolates, most couples spend their Valentine’s night with a nice dinner out. There are plenty of romantic vegan restaurants to choose from. In fact we have done many restaurant reviews in cities such as San Francisco, Chicago, New York and DC. But also check Moo Cow for a listing of vegan restaurants near you. And don’t forget to make reservations, as that night is busy busy! We suggest chosing somewhere with a romantic atmosphere, like San Francisco’s Millenium or New York’s Candle Cafe.

3) A Vegan’s Night In-Wine and Candles: Instead of heading out for dinner, what’s more romantic than a candle lite dinner with wine? Well, why not do it vegan style?! Fix a great vegan meal, there are thousands of delicious recipes out there, including some of our own.  Get you and your honey a great bottle of vegan wine from companies such as Frey or Organic Wine Company. Check out this great Vegan Wine Guide, you can search by variety, color, country, and company. Don’t forget the candles to set the mood! Soy based candles are carried at many health food stores including Whole Foods and most local co-ops. You can buy soy candles online at the websites mentioned on vegan chocolates.

4) Vegan Romantic Getaways: Maybe you want to do a little more than one night of romance. There are plenty of great weekend getaways that a vegan can enjoy. There are a few fantastic all vegan bed and breakfasts spread throughout the country including The Ginger Cat in New York, The Shady Hallow Inn in Massachusetts, The White Pig in Virginia and The Jewel Box in California. These are just a couple, there are several throughout the US, find the closest one to you!  If you can’t locate an all vegan b and b in your area, try calling or emailing any bed and breakfast in your desired area! Most places are family owned and willing to accommodate any diet, as long as you plan ahead.

5) Vegan Late Night: And no matter if you are staying in, going out, or leaving for a long weekend: remember to end your night safely. Give your lover a vamped up VDay by giving them a pack of all vegan condoms and vegan/organic lubricant. Even if you don’t give them as a gift, bring them along for a fun way to end the night! We are sure your vegan lover will be impressed with you choice of vegan lubricant and condoms! Now hang that DO NOT DISTURB sign and enjoy the night!

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The August heat waves are now sweeping the country and although we normally post recipes for vegan food dishes, we thought we’d mix it up with something a bit more refreshing. What better way to beat the summer heat than with Sangria! Not only is it refreshing, it makes a great item to bring to parties and cookouts or to enjoy on your back porch. This recipe only takes a few moments to make, so get out of that sun and RELAX!

Peach-Raspberry Sangria

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

  • 2 (750 ml) bottles of organic and vegan Riesling wine
  • 1 cup Peach Schnapps or Peach Liquor 
  • 1/2 cup of Lemonade
  • 3 ripe peaches
  • 1 cup of fresh raspberries
  • 1 sliced orange
  • 1 sliced lemon
First slice up the peaches, orange, and lemon into slices. Next pour the liquid ingredients into a large pitcher. Add all of the fruit and mix thoroughly. Place in the fridge for at least an hour to let it cool or serve over ice. If raspberries are not in season, Granny Smith apples also work well! 

A smooth, flavorful glass of wine will calm even an over-stressed soul. But have you ever wondered what is actually in your wine? For those of us who choose not to consume animal products this a question that may come up often. For many vegans there are products that border on the line of being vegan, such as honey or silk. These products are not as veganistically simple to decide on as a steak, and wine is a classic example.

So you are thinking: What? Of course wine is vegan, its made out of crushed grapes, right? Although, grapes and other fruits may be the main ingredient, the fining process of wine is not always vegan. Depending on the winery, wines can be filtered through a number of ways. Some wineries use animal products such as gelatin (made from cow or pig bones) or casein (derived from milk) or even chitin (fish bladders). However, some wines are processed using vegan friendly and non animal bi-products such as plant derived casein and certain types of clays. If you’re curious about learning more about the vegan filtering process, we recommend that you check out Veggie Wines, a UK-based vegan information organization, or the May 2006 article on the topic by Vegetarians in Paradise.

So what about organic wines? Many of them boast a non filtered or organic natural fining process, but are they necessarily vegan? Since organic wine requires the product to be produced with organically grown grapes and must not contain sulfites (usually added as a preservative and is what causes that pesky morning-after headache), it would seem that organic wine would also refrain from fining with animal products. This however, is not always the case, so make sure you read the fine print.

Organic wines that are completely unfiltered are usually vegan and will most likely state this right on the label. We recommend the oldest organic vineyard in the country and multiple award-winner Frey Wines (which was also very popular at our World Fair Trade Day organic wine tasting earlier this month!). Or you can check out the vegan sampler from The Organic Wine Company which is a great value and a fun way to taste test vegan organic wines!

The best way to know if an organic (or non organic) wine is completely vegan, is to contact the manufacturer. Luckily, as most vegan products go, someone has already done this work for you! Check out the comprehensive vegan wine guides by Vegan Connection and the blog Taste Better.

So, when choosing your next bottle to share with friends and family, whether you or vegan or not, remember: organic wines are easier on the environment and, best of all, will not leave you with a throbbing wine-over the next day!

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