Vegan Divas 08/18/2010
I have to admit, if given the choice of black and white cookies or tortilla chips, I tend to choose salty snacks over the desserts every time.  However, I do splurge now and again when I get cravings for a sweet treat, and finding great vegan pastries and desserts was not an easy task...until now!

A high end line of baked goods that are vegan, organic and kosher, have arrived in the big apple thanks to the Vegan Divas.  Two of the city's top gourmet markets, The Butterfield Market (1114 Lexington Ave) and Francois Payard Chocolate Bar (714 Madison Ave) are carrying this  dairy- and cholesterol-free line of products, which are also free of refined sugars.  The Vegan Divas’ mission is to blend a commitment to high-quality baking and presentation with vegan food AND, despite how it may sound to the skeptics reading this entry, they've succeeded! (The chocolate chocolate chip cookies and macaroons are my personal favorites so far.)

The concept for Vegan Divas originated soon after Fernanda Capobianco, a native of Brazil, who owned the Payard Restaurant and Pastry shops in Rio de Janeiro met Joelle Obsatz, the co-owner of The Butterfield Market and Catering.  In Brazil, Capobianco, herself a vegan for 15 years, opened Payard Organic catering, using fresh, organic ingredients. Capobianco, along with the renowned Pastry Chef Francois Payard, developed delicious pastries without eggs, with less sugar, healthier ingredients and exotic fruits as well as vegan sandwiches and mousses.“It has been my dream to create gourmet pastries with the quality, taste and presentation similar to those offered by the best gourmet bakeries such as Payard but as vegan baked goods,” said Capobianco.

Joelle Obsatz, co-owner of Butterfield (along with her father and brother) has thankfully allowed me to be the taste-tester on many of these items.  She said: “Our customers at Butterfield have sophisticated palates and don’t want to sacrifice taste when looking for healthy alternatives...Vegan Divas are committed to offering that alternative.”For those of you who are not vegan, or who feed or entertain people who aren't, be sure to check out the many other delicious foods and catering options Butterfield offers, and the desserts at Payard are a must ~ pure decadence!

Veg and the City