We all know what 2020 is most likely to be remembered for and whilst it’s been a bit gloomy for some, it’s been a cracking year for vegans in many ways!
The Vegan Society reports that 2020 became the year that every one of the top UK supermarkets (by revenue) had their own vegan range. Similarly, every one of the top UK restaurants / food-to-go outlets had a vegan or plant-based offering.
With the numbers of vegans in Great Britain having quadrupled between 2014 and 2019, estimates suggest that by 2025 a quarter of the population will be vegetarian and vegan.
Vintage Roots are proud to have been identifying which wines are vegetarian and vegan suitable for thirty years and today, 95% of our wines are vegan suitable.
Is wine vegan?
Whether a wine is vegetarian or vegan suitable is determined by the agents that are used to fine the wine. Not all wines are fined and so are vegan suitable.
In the fining process products such as casein (the proteins found in milk) , gelatine (the protein that comes from boiling animal bones in water) and egg whites can be used. Even though these don’t stay in the wine, their use makes them unsuitable for vegans.
Happily, there are commonly-used alternatives such as pea protein, carbon and clay-based ingredients. These get the vegan thumbs up!
To find out more about vegan wines and organic vegan wines, please read this blog.
What do Vegans eat at Christmas?
Lots of delicious things! Keeping pace with the increased interest in veganism and plant-based diets, a flurry of gifted chefs and cooks have been putting veg centre stage with an increasingly diverse array of dishes.
Vegan Christmas Dinner Ideas
A possible vegan Christmas dinner starter
One of the most gloriously decadent and delicious soups that I’ve ever made is the Ottolenghi Pistachio Soup. It’s a winner with everyone who walks through the door – vegan or otherwise! You can find the recipe in the book, Jerusalem
- Best vegan wine to pair with Pistachio Soup: Ouch, tricky this one! Look, we know you might find it a tricky concept but a dry sherry is just a really yummy match. Try Piedra Luenga Fino which has the necessary dry, salty taste to work with the pistachios.
Vegan Christmas Dinner Main Courses with Wow Factor!
Olive Magazine published a recipe for the showstopping Giant Vegan Wellington in 2018. Festive in looks – thanks to the beetroot, kale and red pepper filling – it’s also thoroughly delicious too.
- Best vegan wine to pair with Vegan Wellington: It simply has to be Rioja! The only challenge is which Rioja do you go with?! Of the Ijalba selection, the Rioja Graciano is perhaps the finest fit but any of their wines will be a top-notch partner.
Although listed as a vegetarian dish, it won’t take too many tweaks to turn Ottolenghi’s Roast Winter Vegetable Platter with Walnut and Barberry Salsa into an entirely vegan affair. Just like the Vegan Wellington, it looks the picture of Christmas.
- Best vegan wine to pair with Ottolenghi’s Roast Vegetable Platter: Can we make two choices here? First is the white Terrace Edge Pinot Gris from New Zealand which has the ripeness and richness to work really well with the veg. For those that want a red wine with the main course, the Beaujolais Villages La Sambinière will work beautifully.
Jamie Oliver has also put on his vegan thinking cap and has a great recipe for Whole Roasted Cauliflower with a Thyme and Paprika Rub. We like that it’s one whole glorious vegetable being rightly put centre stage.
- Best vegan wine to pair with Whole Roasted Cauliflower: A fairly rich white with a touch of spice is what you’re looking for here. The textured and distinctive Wild Ferment Verdejo from Bodegas Piqueras is just the ticket.
If you are a fan of beetroot, the BBC Good Food website lists a five-star rated Beetroot & Red Onion Tarte Tatin. The idea of tarte tatin is oddly frightening but needlessly so … definitely worth a shot!
- Best vegan wine to pair with Beetroot Tarte Tatin: We like something fairly full-bodied with beetroot dishes and think you’ll find the Côtes du Rhône from Château Rochecolombe very hard to beet (beat!).
We cannot help but feel this idea needs a better name but we love the idea of Vegan Pigs in Maple Parsnip Blankets, as supplied by Meatless Farm. You’ll need vegan ‘sausages’, 2 large parsnips, plentiful maple syrup and oil. Oh, and cocktail sticks too!
- Best vegan wine to pair with Vegan Pigs in Blankets: If you’re serving these little beauties as a snack or to nibble on before the main event you don’t want anything too heavy and you’ve also got to mindful of that sweet maple syrup. Our suggestion? A mulled-wine made with the Arrogant Frog Ribet Rouge Cabernet / Merlot.
Another Christmas must-have is stuffing and there are lots of vegan stuffing recipes to be found. The Edgy Veg (delicious name!) has what they call, the “best vegan stuffing ever!”. Mushrooms seasoned with thyme, basil and marjoram certainly sounds very yummy indeed and would work very nicely with the Vegan Wellington!
A Vegan Christmas Pudding
Given its strongly British origins I am slightly surprised to be recommending the American website, The Veg Space, and their Christmas Pudding. However, it’s a lovey recipe and you’ll find the vegan stout and vegan sherry you need right here at Vintage Roots!
- Best vegan wine to pair with vegan Christmas Pudding: Every year it’s the same recommendation … because it is the best! Torelli’s Moscato d’Asti – lightly sweet and bubbly and a refreshing partner to your rich pud.
Best Christmas Wines for a Vegan Celebration
With 95% of Vintage Roots’ wines suitable for vegans, there’s no shortage of choice but here’s a vegan case of six of the best wine for a vegan Christmas
Champagne Fleury Blanc de Noirs … Multiple award-winning and long-term favourite with Vintage Roots customers. As stylish as it is delicious.
Chenin Blanc is a white wine that has a good affinity with root vegetables, particularly when they’re roasted. Our new South African Chenin Blanc from Longridge Wine Estate is great choice. Another white wine that has good texture and is very vegan food friendly is the lees-aged Verdejo / Sauvignon Blanc blend from Spain.
This naturally fermented Chenin is just off dry, it has notes of fresh straw, honey, pineapple and stone white fruit, with understated oak and a hint of almond paste.
The Italians love their vegetables and many of their red wines are just made to help the flavours of our plant friends sing! The cracking Barbera d’Alba from Camparo di Mauro Drocco would be gorgeous wine to have at the Vegan Christmas table this year. Pinot Noir is another grape that can have the sort of earthy, fungal notes that make it good with vegan dishes. We love the irresistible Meinklang Pinot Noir.
We have vegan friends with a sweet tooth, so for them and anyone who loves a sweet wine we suggest the Sauternes from Château Dudon