What's one of the best things about going on holiday? It's the vegan food, clearly. What's one of the worst things about coming back from holiday? Knowing that it'll be a long, long time before you ever get to enjoy that same lovely vegan food again.
When I was in Valencia last year, I picked up a jar of Streich spread - and an excellent sandwich filling it made too. Making vegan readymade sandwich fillings seems to something that a lot of European countries do really well. Apart from Vbites' excellent Brussels pate, England isn't one of them.
Upon my return, I ideally searched to see if anyone sold Streich over here and stumbled upon a German online shop called Violey that sold all sorts of fun vegan stuff and shipped to England. It seemed rude not to experiment with all the vegan delights that Germany had to offer, so I stocked up.
Here's what I picked up:
That white jar at the top was a vegan version of crab salad, slightly sweet and full of mayonnaise - something I've never tried before either as a vegan or, for that matter, in my dim and distant pregan days.
The dunkle sauce was packet gravy, and therefore brilliant - a bit of baked tofu, some roast spuds, and a big slick of dunkle sauce and I'm a happy bunny. To be honest, a big bag of chips and some gravy and I'm in heaven. In England, there seems to be something of a cultural divide on the subject of eating your chips with gravy: in the south, such a dish is a weird culinary confection, in the north it's a hearty tea. Having spent several years in a small northern city, I went native and completely believe chips and gravy are good and right.
While gravy from a packet is reliably good, packet soup is a bit hit or miss, so I didn't have high hopes for the powdery tomato weirdness I'd acquired.
Here's how it turned out. It really was surprisingly good! Consider all my soup-based preconceptions thrown on the floor and jumped on a bit by this tomaten creme suppe. If they stocked this down my local Tesco, I'd definitely be getting a few packets in for those can't-be-arsed-to-cook days.
The packet caramel dessert, which is something along the lines of angel dessert, also happily paid out, especially when topped with caramel sauce and sprinkles. Granted, that combo was never going to be a bad thing in anyone's vegan books, but still, a it was a credit to 'desserts eaten by adults pretending to be kids' genre.
The pasta? Well, that was an easy win too. When I was a student first time around (in a decade that wasn't this one) and lived in France, I'd survive on pasta just like it - it came in two flavours, cost around £1, and you could squeeze two meals out of a pack. Granted, it was dehyrdrated pasta, so you had to get past the fact it was weirdly tiny and hard enough that it could kill a man if used as a projectile weapon. Still, I was a student, and 50p for dinner seemed fair enough. Maybe it was nostalgia, maybe it was actually that it tasted good, but I'd eat that pasta again too. It's the sort of thing that would be good to chuck in your bag when you're arriving in some place where the vegan options are few and far between late at night and you still need dinner - pull this out, add a bit of sauce, and you'll not feel let down.
Of course, it all had to go wrong somewhere, right? That somewhere was packet hollandaise sauce.
Yeah, I know, you're wincing already. Packet hollandaise sauce? We could have told you that would be like drinking the drip tray at closing time. Well, yes. It tasted mainly of lemon, and not at all what I'd expected.
Still, not every day on holiday is perfect, and not every food holiday is nothing but sunshine and unicorns -- and I definitely couldn't complain about my culinary soujourn in Germany. This is one destination I can't wait to get a return ticket to.