Monday, August 9, 2010

A trip to Panacea

I've been hearing about Daiya vegan cheese for several months and fantasizing about eating a hot, gooey pizza with melted cheese.  It's one of the few foods I do occasionally miss eating a plant based diet but I know those darling baby cows and their mamas are worth it.  Apparently, not only does Daiya taste great, but it's supposed to shred, melt and stretch like regular cheese.  So when I recently discovered that Toronto had an all vegan store called Panacea (at Bloor and Bathurst Street), I gathered together my little family and off we went in search of this miraculous product.  We arrived and were immediately offered assistance by the owner Ken Bontius and his business partner.  Not only were they incredibly friendly and helpful but they also engaged us in delightful conversation.  We spent an enjoyable 45 minutes wandering the aisles and chatting. My daughter was offerered an organic lollipop upon entering the store and then spent quite a few minutes contemplating the treat section at the front. There is a little bit of everything including organic vegan groceries, snacks, cosmetics and personal care items, cookbooks and reference materials and organic fair trade clothing and accessories. The shelves and displays are as tidy and clean as can be.  I will gladly stop by and shop whenever I'm in the area.  

I have also been searching for vegan graham cracker crumbs all over the city without any luck and was hopeful that I would find them there.  Alas, I was informed that this product was nowhere to be found but Ken told me he had contacted the owner of Sweet and Sara who makes handmade vegan marshmellows and treats in the U.S. in order to source them.  After taking a quick look at the Sweet and Sara product page and ingredient list I notice that they use graham flour and not premade graham cracker crumbs which makes sense so I think some further investigation is in order.  

Ken Bontius - owner of Panacea

M outside Panacea


  1. Have you tried making your own graham crackers? I'll look for a recipe!

    I tried making marshmallows once, but it was a mess and a disaster! What we do for our kids! :)

  2. Did you buy the cheese? They carry it at my local coop store. I'm curious how it tastes.

  3. Can you find vegan graham crackers? All the brands I've looked at are vegan. Making the crackers into crumbs is the easy part. :)

  4. Wow, you tried making marshmellows! That's great. The Sweet and Sara ones looked really good but we are not marshmellow people so I didn't buy any. Maybe one day for a recipe.

    We did buy the Daiya and it's in my fridge right now!

    And I can't find vegan graham crackers. All of the ones I've looked at have honey in them. The wonderful people who work at Panacea can't find them either and they tell me others have come looking. I may have to make my own one day.

  5. Duh! I'm sorry! I forgot about honey! I'll keep looking...

    Health Valley, which is part of Hain Foods, has vegan graham crackers. But, Hain does not sell Health Valley crackers in Canada, just their soup. :(

  6. Okay, Lee, here is this week's challenge! :)

  7. Cool! Good find Jeannette! It looks like I will be making my own and then smashing them up to make pie crust. Hopefully it will be worth it. I have a number of recipes with a graham cracker crumb crust that I'm dying to try.