Nothing's more effective for the health-conscious cause than dessert. If you can eat a plant-based cake that's just as delectable as its alternative, why wouldn't you? Yet most people won't even try it.
Annu Raw Vegan is all about sweets. The shop, a pop-up cake and milkshakery within Emack and Bolio's ice cream emporium on Purdy Avenue, is the effort of brothers Owen and Ian Pearson. Together, they're whipping up tasty, better-for-you treats.
Previously, the duo owned a juice bar in upstate New York. Not long ago, though, they headed down to Miami and started peddling their wares at farmers' markets. That's when they met the owner of Emack and Bolio's, who was interested in adding something different to his shop.
Owen is the cook; Ian is the researcher. Together, they create nutrient-dense sweets that would appeal to the palate of any omnivore.
Owen is self-taught. "It's really not like any training or culinary background. I've just always been into food, I've always been into eating good food. My older brother, who's my partner, he's like my guru. He like really studies all the info and gets all the knowledge and passes it onto me and I turn it into something special as far as the taste."
Special, indeed. We tried the carrot cake, and it was impeccable -- moist, rich and full of flavor.
Everything is made from scratch at Annu.
As far as the milkshakes: "I take fresh organic coconut meat and I whip it with coconut milk into ice cream. Then I lightly sweeten it with maple syrup and touch it with sea salt and vanilla," explains Owen.
He also whips the "ice cream" into a thinner layer, then strains it to make whipped cream -- so customers get the full milkshake experience.
"It's a little bit of a process but to me it pays off in the long run with the flavor. When you do it all from scratch and put your love into it, it tastes a little more special."
The shakes come in flavors including carrot, chocolate coconut , pumpkin spice and strawberry vanilla, among others. They run $7.99 for a large. "It's like a meal replacement," says Owen. "It has a high calorie content, but the calories are super digestible they don't lead to weight gain, they promote weight loss. It's a pretty special thing -- the coconut.
Cakes come in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, blueberry pie, banana cream pie and
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chocolate peanut butter, plus others. Slices are $4.75 each, and you can pre-order the cakes in advance for $35. Pop in for a slice and test their deliciousness for yourself.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahgetshappy.