Veganz Berlin, the city’s first vegan supermarket, opened in July. I pottered over there today to have a nose around. It was cooler than I expected. I ended up stocking up on locally grown vegetables (pictured above), discount-bin yogi tea and a supply of the world’s most unappetisingly named foodstuff, nutritional yeast.

These guys set up shop in Prenzlauer Berg with the slogan We love life. There was a good bit of life going on there on this chilly Monday morning. The path outside the store was cluttered with tattoed dog owners eating vegan cake while their assorted hounds napped beneath tables. No doubt the humans in the above scenario appreciated that the place sells vegan pet food. I wonder how the animals feel about their presumably vegetal diets. While it seems jarring to decide on your dog’s behalf that he’ll be a vegan, it would be fairly incongruous if someone who ate strictly vegan was piling tins of horse-derived dog food into their shopping bags. So I guess it makes sense.

There was a good vibe in the supermarket. There’s a sentiment I’ve never expressed before. I know it can’t be a coincidence that organic supermarket staff seem a lot more upbeat than those in your average fluorescent-lit discount supermarket dive.

I found carob bars, a chocolate replacement I’ve been looking out for since I read about this strange substance while Wwoofing. A book I found at the farmhouse explained the various reasons chocolate is to be avoided. What I remember most clearly from the book is that chocolate often contains significant amounts of insect parts.

Carob is made from the roasted pods of the carob tree, and is roughly the same colour as cocoa but not as bitter – so you don’t need to add as much sugar. I have to say, the particular concoction I picked up today (“Carob with Soya”) was not a delight for the taste buds. Perhaps its visual similarity to a bar of Aero caused my brain to expect sweet, light, melting chocolate, after which point the arrival on the tongue of a slab of musty carob could not be anything but a disappointment. Carob, I like the idea of you, and maybe in the future we’ll have good times together, but right now I think it’s better if we don’t see each other for a while.

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