Gorilla Food, Take 2

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Vegan MoFo 2013 – Post #3

I don’t have much time for a full post today, so I just thought I’d share this meal with you that I had at Gorilla Food recently.

This was my second time enjoying a meal from Gorilla Food, an organic raw vegan cafe in downtown Vancouver. You can read about the last time HERE.

My lunch was the Mini Gorilla salad (it also comes in a larger size) with a BC Blue smoothie and a Gorilla Biscuit for dessert.

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The Mini Gorilla – “A combo salad packed with delish and nourishing leafy greens, veggies, chill almonds, sunny-pate, olives, sprouts, avocado, almond, super-food dressing.”
I absolutely loved this salad! It is super fresh and just has so much going on: lots of great textures and flavour. I really enjoyed the addition of sun-dried olives, which I’d never tried before. So good!

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Gorilla Biscuit – This is a raw cookie, consisting of a nutty layer, a chocolate layer, and coconut on top. This was the first treat I’ve tried from Gorilla Food, and I was really impressed by the texture of the cookie part. The combo of the three layers made for a perfect little dessert.
BC Blue smoothie – That’s my (awesome recycled paper) smoothie cup that the cookie is sitting on. This is a simple smoothie, but oh so good! Very fresh and refreshing!

If you’re in the Vancouver area, you should definitely check out Gorilla Food. And if it’s a nice day, I highly recommend taking your food the few blocks down to the waterfront. 🙂 Or, if you’re not in the area, Aaron Ash, the man behind Gorilla Food, also has a cookbook of the same name that includes recipes for almost everything on the menu, plus more.

You May Also Enjoy:
My Birthday Part 2: Wild Rice
Raw Vegan High Tea at Indigo Food Cafe
Lemon Coconut Energy Bites
Vega Chocolate Macaroons

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What I Ate Wednesday #136: Vegan In Victoria

I’ve got something a little different for this week’s What I Ate Wednesday post: I’m going to share with you all the awesome vegan eats from my trip to Victoria last week. And their really was A LOT!

Victoria is not far from where I live (just a ferry-ride away), very pedestrian friendly (I don’t drive so this is important), I hadn’t been since a school trip to the Parliament Buildings in like Grade 5, and I’d been hearing rumours of lots of great vegan food. So when I was trying to think of somewhere to go for a quick last-minute getaway before school starts, Victoria was on the top of my list.

I did some research before I went and made a list to take with me of all the vegan and vegan-friendly places in the downtown area that I was interested in. I was surprised at how big the list got, and was even more surprised when I discovered a few more places in my exploring of the city!

I found these sites very helpful in my research:
The Victoria Vegan: Vegan News and Resources
Vegan Mischief’s A Vegan Traveler’s Guide to Victoria
Sarah’s Guide to Downtown Victoria
The Real Meal’s Vegan Food in Victoria, BC

Now on to the food! I’ll just say here, so I don’t repeat myself a zillion times in the following descriptions, that everything I ate ranged from great to amazing and I would eat it all again, no problem. 🙂

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I was starving when I arrived, so I headed straight to Green Cuisine after checking in to my accommodations. Green Cuisine is a buffet, so I knew I wouldn’t have to wait long to eat. It is also 100% vegan and has lots of different options. Almost everything is paid for by weight, except for some items such as soup, bread, and desserts that are priced per each. Results of walking straight into line without looking at what was available first: a meal of things that don’t go together but all taste great: Thai noodles in sweet chili sauce, shredded carrots, cucumbers, steamed kale with sweet chill sauce I took from a tofu dish, tempeh in brown sauce, falafel, and lemon cheezecake. The standout here was that lemon cheezecake. It was so light and creamy and lemony!

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Dinner was the Carmanah Bowl from Cafe Bliss, an almost 100% raw (a few cooked things) vegan (except for honey used in multiple items) restaurant and juice bar that is pretty much the cutest place ever. Cooked brown rice, steamed broccoli, raw chard, cabbage, carrots, red pepper, avocado, sugar peas and red onion in a sesame garlic sauce and topped with sesame seeds and dulse flakes, plus a multi-seed cracker. I’ll just say that the combination of warm chewy brown rice and cool seasoned veggies was blissful! 🙂 I didn’t take photos, but on a different day we also tried the Hummingbird Juice (orange, watermelon, raspberry, lime) and the Protein Berry Burst Smoothie (banana, blueberry, rice protein, hemp hearts, acai, mylk). I thought it was pretty cool that if you get any of their smoothies or juices to go, you get it in a mason jar. You have to pay a deposit for the mason jar which you get back if you bring it back to the cafe. Or you can just keep them like I did.

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Breakfast from the downtown location of Shine Cafe, a bright little place with quick friendly service, that suited the name just fine. I stumbled upon this place because it was one block from where I was staying. This is the only marked vegan breakfast: it’s called Karin’s Brunch and you get to pick four items out of nine options. I choose the hashbrowns, multigrain toast, homemade bean and rice patty, and sauteed spinach,  mushrooms, and roasted garlic. Also included in your options are pecan cranberry granola with soy milk, sweet chill sesame tofu, refried beans, grilled tomato, and a fresh fruit salad. Whichever options you choose, its a tonne of food for the price tag! Perfect way to start a full day of exploring. I don’t normally have such big breakfasts, but as you’ll see, Victoria has lots of fantastic vegan breakfast/brunch options, so I had to try some out. Shine Cafe also has a vegan burger patty, a hearty vegan salad, and a few other items on the menu that could easily be veganized by removing cheese and/or mayo.

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The Creamy Almond Veggie Sandwich from the Hot & Cold Cafe (Cook Street location). This was an amazing and amazingly messy sandwich! Creamy almond spread, grainy Dijon mustard, cucumber, tomato, red onion, alfalfa sprouts, avocado, pea shoots, and red pepper on super soft house-made organic focaccia bread. This little cafe also had other marked vegan items on the menu, including a Red Curry Tofu Rice Bowl, Yellow Coconut Curry Soup, salads, and fresh-fruit popsicles.

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Almond milk latte and a fruit/seed/coconut ball (I can’t remember what they called it but it was tasty) from Solstice Cafe. Honestly, I would have preferred the latte to taste more like coffee and less like almond milk, but I’d still go here again. The place is huge and beautiful; definitely the kind of coffee shop you’d want to hang out in for hours. I was here in the early morning, but they have more vegan light meal and snack options later in the day.

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Brunch at Mo:Lé for me was tofu scramble, avocado, and pesto hash browns from the list of separate items. So good! That tofu scramble looks plain but it had great flavour and I’m still swooning over those pesto hash browns. Love this place!

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Jem’s vegetarian brunch was the Mo:Lé Benny with avocado and grilled tomato.

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A soy latte and a vegetable samosa from the BC Royal Museum Cafe. I was surprised how great both of these were! And I was happy to notice the soy milk was even organic!

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Personal pizza from The Joint, with vegan sundried tomato pesto, artichoke hearts, spinach, black olives, jalapenos, and Daiya mozza shreds. The pizzas were amazing, but the place was so warm that we couldn’t stand to stay and eat there. Like it felt like walking into a pizza oven warm. So we sat and watched the lights in the inner harbour as we scarfed down our pizzas. Oh well. 🙂 The Joint is very vegan (and gluten-free friendly). When we were there I was surprised to see that half of the flavours of pre-made cold pizza by the slice was vegan, and all of their made-to-order pizzas, calzones etc can be made vegan! Plus, they had vegan brownies!

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Another amazing breakfast, this time from Lady Marmalade. This Organic Tofu Scramble had scallions, spinach, bok choy, and shitake mushrooms, in a sesame soy sauce. Plus toast, potatoes and salad (or you can choose barley or brown rice). This was the only vegan breakfast option but it was packed with delicious flavour! Love seeing a different spin on a tofu scramble!

This was dinner (and lunch the next day) from Lotus Pond, a 100% vegan Chinese restaurant. The place was packed, with a line out the door and its easy to see why. There are a ridiculous number of dishes and they all sound great. It was so hard to choose what to get, but we finally narrowed it down to three. This was some of the best Chinese food I’ve ever had, and my sister Jem (who isn’t vegetarian or vegan) commented that it was better than most Chinese food she’d ever had!
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#47 Diced vegetables and mushrooms with cashew nuts. It also had some sort of faux-meat in there that tasted good, but we weren’t huge fans of the texture.

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#56 MaPo Tofu (soft tofu in spicy sauce)

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#80 Shredded vegetable and bean sprouts chow fun.

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Evening almond milk lattes from Wild Coffee, and a shared vegan gluten-free cinnamon roll. At least half of the treats and stuff in the showcase was gluten-free, and this was the sole vegan option. But it was a great treat!

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Last but not least, another Karina’s Brunch from Shine Cafe. This time I choose fruit instead of toast. Just as good as the first time.

You May Also Enjoy:
What I Ate Wednesday #134
What I Ate Wednesday #130
My Birthday Part 1: Veg Fest Vancouver
My Birthday Part 2: Wild Rice

Lemon Coconut Energy Bites

These lemony little gems were dreamed up out of necessity. I had three lemons in the fridge that needed to be used before I left for Victoria for five days. I had been meaning to try a raw lemon bar recipe with them, but I never got around to it. As lemon bars aren’t really portable I knew I had to save that recipe for another time. So I decided to use most of the same ingredients that would have gone into the lemon bars (lemon juice, coconut, oats, and dates) to make some energy bites for my trip.

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I have to say that I am very happy with how these turned out! Bright lemon flavour, a hint of coconut and nuttiness, and a natural sweetness from the dates and coconut. These lemony little bites of chewy goodness are perfect for travel and on-the-go snacks. Or you may just want to stand by the fridge and scarf a few down! Don’t worry, that’s okay too.

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Collage, lemon bars 1

Collage, lemon bars 2

Lemon Coconut Energy Bites (Yields 32 small squares)
1 1/2 cups oats
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup sliced/slivered/chopped almonds (raw or blanched)
Zest of 2 lemons
1 1/2 cups pitted dates (20-25 dates)
Juice of 3 lemons (about 1/2 cup)
Optional: 1/4 cup vanilla or berry flavoured protein powder (I like Vega One)

Notes:
If your dates aren’t soft then you should let them sit in a bowl of hot/warm water for at least 15 minutes before using.
I prefer to cut these into small squares because they pack easily into storage containers and I can choose the size of my snack better, however you could also make larger bars, or roll the dough into small balls. Totally up to you.
For gluten-free, just make sure your oats and protein powder are gluten-free.
For nut-free, use sunflower seeds or more oats, in place of the almonds.

Add the oats, coconut, almonds, lemon zest, and protein powder (if using) to a large bowl of a food processor and pulse until it is at your desired consistency: less if you like a chewier bar with larger pieces, or more if you’d like a finer texture.
Add the dates and process until they are in small pieces and mixed up with the other ingredients.
Add the lemon juice and process until everything is thoroughly mixed and clumping together. It may be crumbly, but should stick together when pressed.
Line a baking dish with parchment paper. I use a 11″x7″ pan, but the size doesn’t really matter as long as it is at least 8″x8″. Dump the mixture into the lined pan and press down until the top is relatively flat and even. With a sharp knife, cut into small squares or bars. Place the pan in the fridge for at least an hour, then transfer the squares or bars into an airtight container. Store in the fridge or freezer.
The energy bites will soften a bit when at room temperature, but they shouldn’t fall apart. Enjoy!

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I’ve shared this post with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays (8/27/13), Allergy Free Wednesday (8/28/13)Gluten-Free Wednesdays (8/28/13)Raw Food Thursday (8/29/13), Healthy Vegan Friday, Wellness Weekends (8/29-9/2/13), Gluten Free Friday #55.

Easy Hot & Sour Refrigerator Pickles

Crunchy. Juicy. Sour. Sweet. Salty. Spicy. These Hot & Sour Refrigerator Pickles cover all the bases. I find these seriously addictive!

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I made these the first time when I bought a bunch of smallish local cucumbers from the market and was looking for a way to make sure none would go to waste. No problem, thanks to these delicious pickles! I took a whole 1/2 cup container full of these with me to work every day for a week and those cucumbers disappeared pretty darn fast!

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Hot & Sour Refrigerator Pickles
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp organic cane sugar or coconut sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 medium-large cucumber (or a couple small ones), sliced 1/4 inch thick

Place all ingredients except for the cucumbers into a medium-size jar or container (it must hold at least 2 cups). Stir together until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Alternatively, if your jar has a tight fitting lid, you can put the lid on and shake it to mix the ingredients.
Add cucumber slices to the jar. You can stuff as many as you can into the container, as long as they are all mostly submerged into the liquid.
Close the jar and place in the fridge. The pickles will taste great even after 1 hour, and will continue to develop flavour the longer you leave them. I’d tell you how long they will last in the fridge, but mine disappeared within a week.
Enjoy!

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As you enjoy your pickles, you can keep adding more cucumber slices to the jar! And feel free to experiment with different vegetables. I tried carrots and they were also very tasty!

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These pickles pack a punch of flavour, so they are awesome on their own, but they are also a great addition to sandwiches, wraps, salads, and anywhere else you’d like a juicy spicy crunch!

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I’ve shared this with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays (8/13/13), Health Vegan Friday #56, Wellness Weekends (Aug15-19), and Raw Foods Thursday (8/15/13).

Raw Vegan High Tea at Indigo Food Cafe

Jem and I recently enjoyed a day of exploring in Vancouver (like being tourists close to home, for us Surryites) and decided to make raw vegan high tea at Indigo Food Cafe one of the stops along our way. I was very excited to discover the existence of vegan high tea somewhat close to home and I’ve been quite eager to try it.

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Indigo Food Cafe is a cozy little place in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood, owned by chef Lovena Galyide and her daughter Kat Galaida. It’s eclectic mix of decor, including antique-style sewing tables, brightly painted chairs, a 3D green lizard on the wall, and hanging framed photos of animals makes for a cute, casual, and charming atmosphere. I also loved that on a hot sunny day the front window provided enough light that the inside lights weren’t turned on, and the front entrance was kept open.

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Our choice of organic fair-trade loose leaf tea, I had Green Rooibos and Jem chose Pear Sencha, came in cute little coloured personal tea-pots and our food came beautifully displayed on a 3-tier glass serving tray. It honestly looked so good all together, that I was cautious at first to eat anything and ruin the display, but of course I eventually dug in. The hardest part was deciding what to try first!

Our tray was filled with kale chips, stuffed buckwheat crepes, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed tomatoes, raw pizza, coconut yogurt with berries and raw granola, chocolate ganache, lemon-goji truffles, mini berries cheesecake, and mini coconut cream pies, one of each item for each of us. Jem and I took our time and savoured everything, but I think we were both pretty full about half-way through. All together, all those little bites added up to quite a lot of food!

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Love those little tea pots and pretty dishes!

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Excited for high tea!

We both thoroughly enjoyed everything that was included in our high tea! Jem’s favourite was the raw pizza, but she commented (pretty much the best compliment a raw/vegan cook/chef can get from an omnivore) that she “wasn’t aware that I was eating vegan or raw food, it was just really good food”.

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Raw pizza bite.

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Tomato stuffed with macadamia cheese, with marinated mushroom, and a sprout.

I really don’t think I could choose a favourite, though the raw pizza and the coconut yogurt bowl were definitely standouts. The pizza crust had awesome taste and texture, and was perfectly balanced by the zucchini, tomato, and garlicky cheese sauce on top. I also loved every little bite of the home-made coconut yogurt, full of fresh berries, and covered in crunchy raw granola, and wanted to keep on eating it when my little bowl was empty.

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Enjoying a lemon-goji truffle.

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From the top right: mini berries cheesecake, chocolate ganache, and mini coconut cream pie.

And let’s not forget about the desserts! They were all amazing! The chocolate ganache was rich, creamy, with intense chocolate flavour, just as great chocolate ganache should be. The lemon-goji truffles, had a bright refreshing lemon flavour and were perfectly chewy. The berry cheesecake was a little soft from the heat by the time I ate it, so it was more like rich berry pudding, but it was delicious. And last, but not least, the mini coconut cream pie was delightfully cool and creamy.

This was the first time that I’ve ever been to Indigo and I think the high tea was the perfect way to start, as you get a wide variety of both savoury and sweet bites, most of which are also available as larger versions on the regular menu. The menu is mostly raw and gluten free, with a few cooked dishes including perigees (both savoury and dessert ones) and cabbage rolls, obviously an ode to Galyide’s Ukrainian heritage. I would definitely go back for the high tea again, and would also love to try some other things on the menu.

Raw vegan High tea at Indigo Food Cafe is available through reservation only. The cost of $27 per person includes your choice of organic fair-trade loose leaf tea and a variety of both sweet and savoury bites, around ten different items per person. More information on high tea, as well as the complete menu, and info for raw food classes is available on the website.

I’d highly recommend checking out Indigo Food Cafe if you are in the Vancouver area.

Also, just a heads up that you can now find my restaurant reviews in the ‘Dining Out‘ page under the menu heading ‘Reviews’. I’ve also created a new Pinterest board called “Vegan in Vancouver” where I’ll be sharing photos of vegan food I eat out, as well as links to my reviews.

Gorilla Food Review

Vegan MoFo 2012 Post #4

A couple of days ago Jem and I ventured into downtown Vancouver for some wandering and a bit of shopping. I knew we would be having lunch out so before we left home I wrote down the addresses of a few vegan and vegan friendly places in the area I’ve been wanting to try (I may have a bookmark category on my computer for keeping track of such places). Except for Japanese food, I don’t eat out often, so it isn’t really a big deal going somewhere that only has a couple of choices for me. However, it is awesome having a sister/friend who while an omnivore, is very open to trying new things and perfectly willing to eat vegan while she’s with me.

We ended up going to Gorilla Food for lunch, and I loved everything about it. Everything there is organic, vegan, and raw, and I was really impressed by the size of their menu. The large menu includes lots of wraps, sandwiches, salads, veggie burgers, pizza, a couple zucchini noodle dishes, and lots of sides. They also have a big selection of fresh juices, smoothies, milkshakes, and desserts. You can find the full menu here. It would take a lot of trips to work through everything I’d like to try.

It is a cozy little place on Richards Street, between West Hastings Street and West Pender Street; right in between Vancouver’s downtown shopping district, Gastown, SFU Harbour Centre, and the Vancouver Convention Centre. The decor was a great mix of bricks, stone, and different woods and I really like the open concept kitchen where you could see everything being put together. The space felt a little small and awkward when there was a line up, but you can take everything to go, and I think that’s how they probably do a lot of their business. Jem and I took our lunch down to the waterfront.

So, what did we eat?

I chose the Main St. Monkey Sandwich on veggie-flax bread. It was stuffed full of olive tapenade, avocado mash-up, zucchini hummus, cucumbers, and sprouts (and is also supposed to have tomatoes on it). And I had the Choco-Berry Gorilla Mylk Shake, which has blueberries, almonds, cacao, bananas, hemp seeds, date, and coconut oil.

I swear there is other stuff under all those sprouts!

This was the first time I’ve ever had raw bread, and it was really good! Totally satisfied my carb craving at the time! This was a really tasty sandwich and I would absolutely order it again. The smoothie was also really good; chocolate, nut, and blueberry goodness!

Jem got a slice of the Pesto Pizza, which had sun-dried tomato sauce, hempseed basil pesto, walnut ‘cheez’ crumble, and a fresh tomato slice. She also got the same smoothie as I did, only hers had strawberries instead of blueberries (you can choose).

Loved the recycled and recyclable containers that everything came in!

We both really enjoyed our lunch, and will definitely be keeping Gorilla Food in mind for when we are in the area and in need of a meal, smoothie, or vegan treat!

I should also mention that Gorilla Food sells a bunch of different raw crackers, granola, and flavoured nuts and seeds, as well as brown paper packages of raw food staples like raw nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. I may have picked up a couple of things to send in the next couple Vegan Food Swaps! I also bought the Gorilla Food cookbook, which should come in handy, as in a couple of days I will have a dehydrator for the first time. I haven’t tried anything from the book yet but it looks really great and I’ve noticed that it includes recipes for a tonne of items on their menu.

July’s Vegan Food Swap Reveal

This month I participated in the Canadian Vegan Food Swap. It is hosted by Meshell at Meshell In Your City.

I sent a box of goodies to Sarina at Earthgiven and received a package from Chris at And Mommy Makes 3.

I got some great vegan snacks in my package from Chris, all of which were new to me.

 

Raw Aura Gone Bananas Fruit Leather. Apparently this is a new product, and it is completely new to me. I’ve never tried raw fruit leather before but I really enjoy this. It is very chewy, fruity, with a pretty strong ginger flavour. I’ve been snacking on it all week!

 

Cocoa Kissed Savi Seeds. These only lasted about 2 minutes after I opened my package of treats. I’ve seen these around but hadn’t tried them yet. I really loved them! You can’t really go wrong with the combination of nuts (these are actually seeds but they taste more like a nut) and chocolate.

 

For the Love of Food Pumpkin Cheeks After GLOW. This stuff is totally addictive! It is crunchy, salty, and has a bit of spiciness that sneaks up on you. Very tasty! And also completely new to me.

 

Giddy Yoyo Organic Raw Ginger Chocolate Bar. More chocolate! This cute little chocolate bar was really good! I’ve never had chocolate with ginger in it or raw chocolate before, and I really enjoyed the combination!

Overall, I’d say this was a very successful food swap experience. I really enjoyed putting together a package for Sarina and it is always fun getting things in the mail (especially when its a mystery as to what they are)! I will not be able to participate in the food swap for August, but hopefully will be doing this again in September.