Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Quest for Vegan Wine

For Mother's Day I usually like to get my boyfriend's mother a bottle of wine - a nice gift to show that I recognize the importance of the day and the amount of time she has spent as a part of my life, but without going so far as to rise to the level of gifts she might be getting from her own children.  But because I'm vegan this year, I thought I would try to balance her love of European reds with my interest in vegan production methods. 
Unfortunately, this was a lot easier said than done.  I know Barnivore is a great resource for finding out which beers, wine, or liquors are vegan, but it's not all that useful when you walk into a liquor store and find yourself starting at literally thousands of options.  Short of looking up each one individually to find out if it's vegan, you're pretty much out of luck.  And then of course there's the fact that there are no vegan labeling requirements, so even wines that happen to be vegan aren't usually labeled as such. 
At my chosen liquor store, The Wine Source in Hampden, I hoped the staff would be able to help me locate a good vegan wine.  Also easier said than done.  I asked if they had a list of vegan wines, but unfortunately they don't maintain one.  They knew of a couple of vegan wines from California, but as I said above I was hoping for something European - specifically Italian or French.  Finally, after looking at a few bottles, one of the sales people landed on this bottle of Beaujolais that said on the label that it was not filtered or fined - pretty much your best bet for determining whether a wine is vegan without knowing specifically whether it is.  (Filtering and fining are the processes during which wines would typically use animal products.)  Not the most perfect method for finding a vegan wine, but at least it got me out of the store with a bottle of wine this time. 
And lucky for me, when I gifted the bottle my boyfriend's mom seemed thrilled and said she has enjoyed Beaujolais in the past and was really looking forward to this one.  *Phew!* 
When we left my boyfriend's parents' house we went rock climbing at the gym and followed that up with a fast food dinner at Baja Fresh.  I ordered my usual random mix of basic ingredients: beans and rice (sans cheese) and a side of guacamole, and hit up the salsa bar for hot salsa, pico de gallo, and jalapenos. 
When you mix everything together it basically turns into a burrito bowl, but you get to decide the exact proportions of everything, and you can always go back to the salsa bar to heat up the dish as much as you want!  Plus this is always so much food that I end up with half leftover for lunch the next day.  It's pretty much the perfect fast food meal. 

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