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Vegan Wines & Vegan Wineries

When considering wine one would think that all wines are vegan and vegetarian since they are produced from grapes. That is not always necessarily true and not always the easiest to find out. The winemaking process is what mostly defines whether wines are vegan or not vegan. In addition, it is also important to take a look at what types of fertilizers are used in vineyards as some may be animal based.

Some winemakers choose to let a wine take its natural slow process of self-clarifying by allowing the solids and sediments to sink to the bottom of the tanks. Other winemakers choose to add what are called “fining agents” to the process. There are animal derived products used as fining agents that include egg whites, gelatin, casein and isinglass. These agents when added bind to the molecules, such as proteins, tannins and phenolics. This makes them easier to be removed. These fining agents all play their own part in either brightening, clarifying the wines or removing “off” flavors.

There are vegan friendly agents that vegan wineries can also choose to use such as charcoal, silica and bentonite, which is clay based. Some of the aforementioned agents like gelatin are now also being produced from peas to become vegetarian. Plus, the cost of animal-derived fining agents is on the rise. It is possible more winemakers will move towards agents like bentonite.

So how does one determine whether a wine is vegan or not? There are some wine bottles that are labeled as “unfined” and “unfiltered”. Even natural or organic wines are the ones you’ll want to gravitate to. Since not all wines are clearly labeled as such it’s best to ask for recommendations. You can check with a knowledgeable wine shop or do some research online prior to a purchase. TuscanyWineClubTime is a respected directory online that will help guide you in the right direction.

 

Jennifer Martin

Vegan Cooking Recipe, part 2

You are just come back from your Vegan Vacation in Tuscany, well so  it’s time to relive your vacation again with wonderful Vegan Recipes!

  1. Pesto di Cavolo Nero (Kale Pesto)

A simple Vegan pesto, this option is simple to prepare and extremely taste! We use pine nuts, almonds and natural yeast to mimic the flavors of traditional pesto. This pesto is also excellent on bread as a spread for crostini. First, remove the stalks from the kale, and steam the leaves. In a mortar, put together the kale, pine nuts, almonds, and garlic (if you like it!). Add some (about 50 grams) of natural cooking yeast, salt, and lots of olive oil to achieve a smooth consistency. This pesto is good for two to three days in the fridge, so be sure to make an ample batch.

  1. Vegan Carbonara

Vegan carbonara is possible and can be achieved with the use of our favorite seitan, together with soy cooking cream. First, cut the seitan into tiny pieces and set aside. Do the same with some zucchini, and in a non-stick pan, heat some garlic in olive oil. Remove the garlic from the pan and add the seitan pieces together with the zucchini. Add some pepper and cook all together over medium heat. In the meantime, cook the spaghetti leaving it al dente. Put the soy cooking cream in a bowl and add turmeric. Mix them together so they are in a homogeneous sauce. Drain the spaghetti and put it into the pan with he seitan and zucchini. Add the cream with turmeric mixture together with some fresh thyme and mix well. Your carbonara is complete!

  1. Tempeh Ragu

Another option for a Vegan ragu is to make it with tempeh, instead of seitan. Tempeh is a protein made from the fermentation of yellow soy beans, and is rich in fiber, vitamins, and of course protein. As we did before, prepare a soffritto with onion, carrot and celery. Let it cook before adding the tempeh, and then clearing the pan with some white wine. Once the wine has cooked away, add the tomato, and let it cook down for 20 to 30 minutes. Add a little salt, and then choose what pasta you want to make! This sauce is really great with anything, and is also excellent on crostini, so make a lot and invite your non-vegan friends to see how vegan ragu can be just as good as the real deal.

These are just some suggestions to get you started with your vegan cooking adventures. There are lots of ways to eat meat-free, and we are here to help with ideas whenever you need them. Be sure to enjoy your pasta with an excellent vegan wine!