sustainable gifts foodies 8shades

8Shades’ Gift Guide: Sustainable Gifts For Foodies

The choices we make as consumers have a big impact on the planet, so this holiday season, let’s try to be as discerning as our foodie friends and family. When it comes to gifting, choosing local and sustainable giftss will not only bring smiles to their receivers, but to Mother Earth as well. 

In our latest 8Shades’ Gift Guide, delight the gourmands in your life with our selection of gift ideas for foodies, all sourced from companies in Hong Kong that are doing their part in making sure we are meeting the needs of the present, without compromising the future.


1. Biodynamic Wine Box

Source: La Cabane

Wine connoisseurs will appreciate La Cabane’s extensive selection of natural and biodynamic wines, made without chemical treatments, sulfites, and with minimal technological intervention. The Bubbly Wine box is perfect for holiday gatherings, featuring six different types of sparkling wine,  including Ari Pét-Nat 2021, from Travis Tausend Wines in Australia, Bubulle 2014, from Domaine Jousset in France, and Crick 2018, from Lammidia in Montepulciano, Italy. 

Available at lacabane.hk


2. Plant-based Christmas Cheese, Crackers and Dip

Source: Garden Hill

Garden Hill, a plant-based creamery founded by professional chef Jan Yeung, following her work with Grassroots Pantry and Nectar, has put together a Christmas Hamper with all their top sellers: aged sharp cheese from cashew and coconut cream; feta cheese, truffle mayo and herbed cream cheese from tofu; black cumin and rosemary crackers, shortbread, and Everything Cashew dip, packed in a Garden Hill tote bag, for HK$520/set. The company delivers free around Hong Kong for orders over HK$400. Please order hampers three days in advance. 

Available at gardenhillhk.com


3. Ethically Sourced Chocolate

Source: Conspiracy Chocolate

Founded by a Swiss and Israeli couple who met in Hong Kong and have a passion for experimenting with food, Conspiracy Chocolate is a small-batch, bean-to-bar craft chocolate company with its own licensed creation lab in Wong Chuk Hang. They use hand-sorted cacao beans from a single farm in Dak Lak province in Vietnam, and the tasting notes of the cacao are earth, spicy and fruity with a full-bodied finish. Conspiracy Chocolate’s vegan bars are 75% cacao or higher, and do not contain anything besides cacao and minimal amounts of organic, raw cane sugar.

Popular chocolate bars include Genmaicha, CBD and Salt and Caramel. For the holidays, Conspiracy Chocolate have created  limited-time-only Christmas specials, including Maple Pecan and Christmas Pine chocolate bars, and coated caramelised almonds. Order online or visit their pop-up at Freida Club in Sai Ying Pun from 28 November to 12 December. 

Available at conspiracychocolate.com

4. Vegan Christmas Cookies

Source: The Vege Lab

The Vege Lab, a pastry shop founded by passionate vegan baker Yuki in 2018, is dedicated to creating beautiful and delicious desserts that are made from 100% plant-based ingredients, free from dairy, eggs and animal products.

This year’s special Christmas Cookie Box includes melt-in-your-mouth Wasanbon Shortbread, fruity Candied Lemon Earl Gray cookies; crispy Kochi Yuzu Pink Pepper Frosting Cookies and Strawberry Chocolate Sandwich cookies made with Valrhona’s vegan cookie filling. The box also contains Tieguanyin Tea Almond Snowballs and flavourful Caffe Mocha Pecan Cookies. Each box is HK$320, but order two or more for a 10% discount.

Available at thevegelab.com


5. Green Platter 

Source: The Green Platters

A ‘Green’ Platter or Grazing Table would be the best gift for friends who love to host parties. A typical platter would include artisanal cheese, organic fruit and dips, freshly baked bread and a variety of savouries that can be customised based on the receiver’s preferences.

The Green Platters company ethos focuses on the use of sustainable and fresh (locally sourced, if possible) food, eco-friendly packaging, and giving back to the community, therefore all their suppliers are ethical and packaging is biodegradable or plant-based. 

Available at thegreenplatters.com


6. Vegan Baking Gift Hamper

Source: The Vegan Baker

Gift Hampers Hong Kong is a great place to find a variety of gourmet hampers for the holidays, and in case you’re in a rush, the site offers same day delivery.  The Vegan Baking Hamper is the perfect gift for a friend who has just started experimenting with the oven. It includes a chef’s apron, novelty kitchen timer, organic tea, extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut butter, gluten-free marble cake mix, baking cups and cookie cutters. 

Available at gifthampers.com.hk


7. Green Forest Hamper

Source: Le Fromage

Le Fromage, founded by Chef Tina Barrat, who is also behind the recently opened fine-dining restaurant Ma… and the Seeds of Life, is dedicated to creating hand-crafted plant-based cheeses using nutritionally dense ingredients like cashews and almonds. Le Fromage offers at least 20 different types of vegan cheeses, among which the bestsellers are truffle-infused Shamembert, and creamy and flavourful Brie: Pink Peppercorn, both made with cashews. The online and K11 Musea stores also carry keto breads, gluten-free crackers and mushroom faux gras.

The Green Forest hamper includes a mix of Le Fromage’s signature vegan cheeses such as the Shamembert (235g), Sharp Cheddar (160g) and artisanal treats like fig chutney, almond flour keto bread; and comes with a bottle of Absolute Zero Nectar Alcohol-Free sparkling wine.

Available at lefromage.com.hk


8. Coffee Starter Set 

Source: Impact Berry

Another ethical company born out of romance, Impact Berry was founded by a couple who met while volunteering in then earthquake-devastated regions of Indonesia. Timo and Sonja started looking for ways for the villagers to create new streams of income, discovered their rich heritage and expertise in coffee, and brought this to Hong Kong.

Impact Berry now helps communities in Indonesia and Vietnam by sourcing all of their coffee beans from these areas and making sure the beans are grown, processed and distributed in a responsible way, and with their carbon footprint low.

Coffee lovers will enjoy Impact Berry’s Coffee Starter set, which includes three assorted blends of coffee beans with tasting notes, a hand grinder and French Press Coffee Maker, letting you brew delicious coffee without any other equipment. Their Coffee Bean Tasting Set is also a great way to get acquainted with their medium roast coffee beans (use the code SANTACALLING! to get a HK$50 discount).

Available at impactberry.com.hk


More gift guides:

Sign up for the 8Shades weekly newsletter to get our top stories in your inbox!

The Best Vegan Cakes in Hong Kong

Thinking of going vegan but can’t quite give up your sweet tooth? Yes, traditional desserts are usually made with eggs and dairy, but the good news is that more and more bakeries are offering vegan options too.

Whatever your reason for going plant-based – health, environmental or ethical – vegan bakeries are exploding in the 852, meaning you don’t have to go far to indulge in your favourite desserts. Here are our picks of the best vegan cakes in Hong Kong and where to get ’em:


1. The Cakery

the cakery
Source: The Cakery

If you have a sweet tooth but want to satisfy it healthily with vegan cakes in Hong Kong, look no further than The Cakery. They make scores of amazing keto, gluten-free, paleo, low sugar and – of course – vegan sweet treats, including croissants, swiss rolls and bespoke cakes. With their focus on health, The Cakery takes the “guilt” out of “guilty pleasures!”

Our fave: Black sesame cotton cake.

The Cakery, Shop 124, Lee Garden Two, Causeway Bay and Shop 303, Landmark, Central, as well as selected City’Super locations, Landmark shop: +852 6683 3833; Lee Garden Shop: +852 2816 1838


2. Bien Caramélisé

vegan cakes hong kong
Source:Bien Caramélisé

This Kowloon bakery is committed to creating their confections with natural ingredients and no animal products, while sourcing produce from local small businesses. Many of their creations are topped with edible flowers, making for ethereal desserts!

Our fave: Chocolate, banana and hazelnut cake.

Note: They only accept orders through Whatsapp/ Email and orders must be made at least 72 hours before collection!

Bien Caramélisé, Shop D, 1/F, Hentiff Building, 160 Prince Edward Road West, Hong Kong, Whatsapp +852 5239 5198, jessica@biencaramelise.com


3. Koke Lab

koke lab vegan cakes
Source: @koke.lab.hk on Instagram

Koke Lab is a Hong Kong online-based vegan pastry shop founded in 2018 that offers a range of vegan cakes. According to the founder, her treats are inspired by nature, which is seen in the earthy tones of many of the creations, and are the stuff of dreams.

Our fave: Three-layered vegan sesame mocha mousse cake.

Koke Lab, Flat 12, 10/F, Shing Yip Industrial Building, 19-21 Shing Yip Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon (their studio), + 852 5722 4452


4. Vege Lab

the vege lab
Source: The Vege Lab

After becoming a vegetarian and then learning to make desserts without eggs and dairy, founder Yuki created The Vege Lab to not only create delicious foods, but also to share the concept of caring for the environment. The team creates their tarts, cookies and cakes with organic ingredients, making them a top choice for vegan cakes in Hong Kong.

Our fave: Vegan Victorian Earl Grey Cake.

The Vege Lab, Room S, 10/F, Everest Industrial Centre, 396 Kwun Tong Road, Kwun Tong, +852 5332 6500 (Whatsapp only).


5. Sweetpea Cafe

sweetpea cafe vegan cakes hong kong
Source: Sweetpea Cafe

Sweetpea Cafe creates a plethora of jaw-droppingly sugar- and gluten-free beautiful cakes, and while not all of them are vegan, those that are happen to be some of their most popular cakes.

Our fave: Sweet potato and coconut cake.

Sweetpea Café, 4 Shin Hing Street, Sheung Wan, +852 3689 7269


6. Vego Coffee

vego coffee
Source: @vegocoffee on Instagram

While this cafe offers brunch options, their Hong Kong vegan cakes are the cherry on top. The selection changes daily, but you can safely assume that whatever you’ll get will be delicious and planet-friendly. Plus, the cafe is pet-friendly!

Our fave: Vegan durian cake.

Vego Coffee, Shop 7B, 154–156 Austin Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, +852 6808 3768


7. JOMO Coffee & Cakes

Source: JOMO Coffee & Cake

JOMO makes traditional cakes, as well as vegan cakes in Hong Kong. Their range of vegan cakes are simple, but no less yummy – made without animal products and refined sugars, they’re sure to please even the most adamant of chocolate lovers!

Note: Place your order three days in advance! 

Our fave: Vegan carrot cake.

JOMO Coffee & Cakes, Shop D, 3 Sam To Lane, 4 Water Street, Sai Ying Pun, +852 2762 0258


8. Sweet Secrets

sweet secrets
Source: Sweet Secrets

Started in 1999, Sweet Secrets is a stalwart of the Hong Kong confectionary scene. They offer food for a variety of diets, including keto, gluten-free and vegan. They have an extensive menu of cupcakes, cookies and cakes which are free of refined sugar, soy, eggs, nuts and dairy. Plus, they’re happy to make anything on order. They’re now only available online. 

Our fave: Beetroot chocolate cake.

Sweet Secrets, Room 1203, Wing Lee Industrial Building, 54 Tong Mi Road, Mongkok, Kowloon, Hong Kong (by appointment only), +852 9371 9089, info@SweetSecrets.com.hk


9. Bake to Basics

Source: @BaketoBasics on Instagram

Bake to Basics make classic dessert items like cakes and cookies, but they’re by no means ordinary. Made without animal products and refined sugars, and low on the Glycemic Index (GI) scale, Bake to Basics offers healthy (and delicious) alternatives to dessert foods, including delicious vegan cakes in Hong Kong.

Our fave: Vegan Hojicha black sesame cake.

Place your order through their official website.


10. Bomb Cakes Hong Kong

Source: @bombcakes.hk on Instagram

Bomb Cakes makes handcrafted vegan cakes that are jaw-droppingly gorgeous and colourful. They take classic flavours like chocolate and vanilla and turn them into cakes that are anything but classic. In short, their rainbow-coloured vegan cakes are the bomb (sorry, we had to)!

Note: Pre-order your cakes three days in advance!

Our fave: Vanilla dreams rainbow cake.

Email order@bombcakeshk.com to place your order, or send them a Whatsapp message at +852 5334 7784.


Sign up for the 8Shades weekly newsletter to get our top stories in your inbox!

See also: The Best Vegan Burgers in Hong Kong

kim_kardashian_banner

Is Kim Kardashian Vegan?

Hot off the heels of her Saturday Night Live appearance, Kim Kardashian West has been making headlines for her stellar performance, proving that the social media queen isn’t afraid to poke fun at herself – and her family.

Kardashian West has also been in the news for her plant-based diet, with many still wondering whether she’s gone vegan for good.

kim kardashian-west plant-based diet
Source: Instagram

According to various sources, Kardashian West began removing animal products from her diet in 2019, and in that year, she announced on Instagram that she actually eats completely plant-based foods at home. Shortly afterwards, the celebrity offered fans a peek into her kitchen and pantry, showing off fruits and vegetables, rows of plant-based milks and a freezer full of Beyond Sausages. Her family has also joined her in her quest to be plant-based, except for her daughter who eats fish.

She continues to regularly share her favourite vegan dishes and treats, which includes Oreos, sea moss smoothies, vegan tacos, zucchini chips and Beyond Burgers.

Later in 2019, she discussed her decision to stick to a mostly plant-based diet, saying that it came down to her experience with psoriasis, an autoimmune disease that commonly causes red patches on the skin, and how she changed her diet to minimise flare-ups. 

The benefits of going plant-based

There are plenty of health benefits to adopting a more plant-based diet, which include lower rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and even certain types of cancers. In those people who suffer from psoriasis, eating a plant-based diet can help manage flare-ups because it is naturally low in inflammatory foods, like red meat.

Besides the health benefits, cutting out meat reduces greenhouse gases significantly – food production accounts for as much as 37% of global annual greenhouse gases, with meat representing 60% of this!

Whilst Kardashian West is not fully vegan – occasionally indulging in non-vegan treats like dairy ice cream – her decision to be mostly plant-based will no doubt encourage many of those who are undecided about cutting back on meat or ditching it altogether. 

Follow Kardashian West’s lead and challenge yourself to eating just one plant-based meal a week, or even better, one plant-based meal per day. There are so many yummy recipes out there and with products like Impossible and Beyond Meat, cutting out meat is easier than ever!

See also: Meatless Monday: Impossible Japanese Potato Croquettes Recipe

impossible pork hong kong

Where To Find Impossible Pork in Hong Kong

Are you a fan of Impossible burgers? Then you might just love Impossible Pork, the company’s newest addition to their plant-based meat range, which will be available in Hong Kong from the beginning of October.

Just like its competitor and some might say, predecessor, OmniPork, Impossible Pork can be used in any recipe that calls for actual ground pork, including spring rolls, meatballs, dumplings, xiao long bao, siu mai or sausage links, making it easier than ever to cut down on your meat consumption!

Source: Impossible Foods

To celebrate the launch, you can now try delicious Impossible Pork dishes at the Tong Chong Street Market in Taikoo Place from now until the end of October.

Also, from 4-8 October 2021, Impossible will be giving away 100 free Impossible Pork Bento Boxes daily from 15 participating restaurants. These boxes will feature a different theme each day, from Dim Sum and Classic Chinese, to East Meets West and South-East Asian, and each will have three tasting portion dishes from popular restaurants including Tim Ho Wan, Good BBQ, Bloom by Wong Jia Sha, Indonesia 1968, Check-in Taipei, Kyoto Katsugyu and Years

After this initial phase, from October 4, more than 40 partner restaurants will continue serving Impossible Pork dishes alongside their normal offerings. Some of these dishes include the Eggplant and Impossible Pork Casserole at MX, Pork Meatballs in an Italian Tomato Sauce with Linguini at Ruby Tuesday and Impossible Suckling Pig served with steamed lotus bread at My Meat Run Laboratory.

You’ll also be able to buy ready-to-cook dishes made with Impossible Pork at selected PARKnSHOP stores in Hong Kong from October onwards. These dishes include Impossible Pork Dumplings with Chinese Cabbage, Impossible Deep Fried Bean Curd Roll, Steamed Impossible Pork Patty with Preserved Vegetables and Impossible Pork Cube Stir Fry with Mixed Vegetables. 

The Benefits of Impossible Pork

Alternative meat products are more sustainable than their traditional counterparts, but in particular, Impossible Pork uses 85% less water, 82% less land and generates 73% less greenhouse gas emissions than traditional pork products. 

impossible pork
Source: Impossible Foods

The rising popularity of alternative meat products is making it easier than ever to give up meat, or simply eat less of it. You can use Impossible Pork to make your usual favourite meals, or gather your friends for a Meatless Monday meal and experiment with different recipes! Here’s some inspiration for Meatless Monday recipes.

See also: 8 Benefits of Going Meatless

honey banner

The Truth About… Honey

Ask a vegan why they made the lifestyle shift and often they’ll tell you that it’s to minimise animal exploitation and cruelty. We know that vegans avoid eating animal products like meat, eggs and dairy, as well as foods made from these products. However, what about foods made from insects, like honey? Are bees harmed to satisfy our sweet tooth? 

Honey is a controversial food among vegans and is probably the product most frequently mistaken as being vegan-friendly. There is a common myth that honey bees make their honey especially for us, but this isn’t true. 

honey

To make the most money, many commercial bee farmers use unethical business practices, including clipping the wings of queen bees to prevent them from fleeing the hive and killing off entire colonies to prevent the spread of disease. 

Essentially, honey farming exploits bees and threatens their health. Honey is intended to provide bees with carbohydrates and other essential nutrients like antioxidants, amino acids and natural antibiotics. Bees store honey and consume it over the winter months, helping them to stay healthy and survive during cold weather. When it is sold, the honey is taken away from bees and is often replaced with sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup. However, this doesn’t provide bees with the nutrients found in honey and these artificial sweeteners could harm the bees’ immune systems. 

honey bee

The number of bees worldwide is declining rapidly; just in the US, honey bees declined from about 6 million hives in 1947 to 2.4 million in 2008, a 60% reduction! With the planet getting warmer, and human development damaging bees’ habitats, this number is likely much lower now. 

Bees are vitally important for us and our health; they pollinate plants when they collect nectar, allowing plants to produce fruits and seeds so that new plants can be made. When bees thrive, plants thrive, and that’s important for us to have a sustainable source of food!

Vegan Alternatives for Honey

Here are some of the most common plant-based options that can replace honey:

  • Maple syrup – made from the sap of the maple tree, maple syrup is a healthy option, containing several vitamins and minerals with more than 20 protective antioxidants.
  • Blackstrap molasses – this comes from boiling sugar cane and is a thick, dark-brown liquid. Another healthy option, blackstrap molasses is rich in iron and calcium.
  • Barley malt syrup – with a golden colour and a flavour similar to that of blackstrap molasses, barley malt syrup is a sweetener made from sprouted barley. 
  • Brown rice syrup – this is made by exposing brown rice to enzymes that break down the starch found in rice to produce a thick, dark-coloured syrup. It’s also known as rice or malt syrup.
  • Date syrup – as the name suggests, date syrup is made by extracting the liquid portion of cooked dates. You can make it at home by blending boiled dates with water.
date syrup

The next time you have a smoothie or cup of tea, consider drizzling it with one of these plant-based options instead – the future health of bees (and humans) could depend on it! This is arguably the easiest thing that we can do in our personal lives to protect the future of these vital insects. Many of these plant-based options are identical in taste and can be used in the same way, so there’s very little extra effort needed on your part! 

See also: 8 Plant-Based Milk Alternatives

net-a-porter between

Is This Hong Kong’s Most Fashionable Eco Coffee?

Do you love coffee and fashion? Then you’re in luck, because luxury fashion retailer Net-a-Porter has partnered with Between coffee in Hong Kong to launch a sustainable food set. Through the partnership titled ‘Net Goes Green’, Net-a-Porter hopes to “inspire consumers and support a positive culture around broader elements of a more-sustainably-minded lifestyle.” 

The limited-edition food set is made using locally-grown vegan ingredients and features three items: a plant-based Katsu Sando that uses locally grown sweet potato and kale, complemented with togarashi mayo and served on charcoal bread; and tofu cream cheese tarts with white chocolate icing. To drink, customers can choose from two of Between’s signature options: the Sesame Mountain – made of black sesame paste and coconut milk – or the Direct Trade Coffee, which has notes of ginger lily, lemon and oolong tea. 

net-a-porter sustainable food set
Source: Net-a-Porter

The set will be available exclusively at Between’s Tai Kwun location and via their online delivery service from 27 August to 26 September 2021. 

The “Net Goes Green” food set is an expansion of Net-a-Porter’s “Net Sustain” initiative, a curation of eco-conscious fashion and beauty products. For a brand to be considered for the initiative, it must go through an assessment that takes into account human, animal and environmental welfare. It also has to align with certain criteria, like the materials used, ingredients and processes to reduce waste. Net Sustain currently houses 153 brands. 

Also from August, Net-a-Porter is introducing Digital ID technology in certain products, which allows customers to track a product’s life cycle, from design to resale and recycle. 

As more and more of us question the sustainability of the materials and life cycle of the products that we buy, retailers like Net-a-Porter are adjusting their practices accordingly. Consumers have the power to dictate to brands what they want to see in products, so let’s use this power for good!

Remember to head to Between at Tai Kwun from 27 August and 16 September 2021 to get your hands on the Net Goes Green set.

Between at Tai Kwun, 2/F, JC Contemporary, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, open daily from 11am to 8pm

See also: Louis Vuitton Releases its First Sustainable, Unisex Shoe