Wherever I am in the world you can guarantee that I'll be searching for the best desserts and holy wow, I really hit the jackpot in Taipei. Vegan Heaven started out in Jiaoxi, a small town about an hour away from Taipei, but recently expanded to include a location in the capital. This has been a great move for two reasons, firstly it means that more locals and travellers can sample their delicious world class baked goods and secondly more people get to meet Li, the baker and business owner behind Vegan Heaven. Li's infectiously cheerful personality really made my day every time I visited the store and her passion for baking means that she's really invested in getting her product line spot on.
Now I've eaten at a lot of bakeries during my travels so the first thing that struck me when I walked into Vegan Heaven was that there was almost nothing there that I'd seen in a vegan bakery case before.It was so exciting to see new things - delicate tarts, macarons and delicious looking mini cakes rather than the usual cupcakes, cinnamon rolls and carrot cake slices which, don't get me wrong, I love, but new things are fun too!
As you can see Vegan Heaven's macarons look gorgeous and they taste incredible too. One thing that I've seriously missed out on whilst travelling this past year or so is the whole aquafaba chickpea water macaron / meringue / everything you'd bake with eggs craze and everyone's Instagram pictures and blog posts have been making me hella jealous. I wasn't able to try every single flavour but I did sample the Vanilla Chocolate, Matcha, Sesame, Lemon, Blackberry, Rose, and Coffee Hazelnut macarons. They also had Mango available but it never appealed.
The rose flavour and the hazelnut coffee flavour were my favourites by miles. I adore rose flavoured drinks and desserts and the combo of rose with a berry filling that really popped was fantastic. I could quite literally eat a hundred! Coffee hazelnut is a classic dessert combo and one that works perfectly in this format. Vegan Heaven's macarons are super light and delicate and, despite having to cast my mind back almost two decades, genuinely just as amazing as I remember the egg based versions being.
Tarts are a favourite sweet of mine, I love that they feel fancier than a cake somehow, and there are plenty to choose from here. From fruity Pear to tart Lemon all the way to mousse filled Blueberry Chocolate and Salted Caramel Chocolate Vegan Heaven has you covered whatever your preference.
The Chocolate Tart (pictured above) with it's cheesecake-esque layer hidden inside was my very favourite closely followed by the super tart lemon tart. If cake is more your thang then the Apple Caramel Cream Cake is off the charts delicious. I shared one of these with Nick and I've never regretted anything more! Why oh why didn't we get one each?! Moist sponge, caramelised apples, caramel and a perfectly delicate mousse-like cream to top it off. I'm desperate for another!
Vegan Heaven's tiramisu was another firm favourite. It's by no means traditional but it is both light and fluffy. Comprised of layers of chocolatey sponge cake and a rice and soy based whipped cream which is light and flavourful without ever veering into cloying territory it's a heavenly dessert but one in which I didn't sense even a hint of coffee. Traditional or not I could eat this anytime anywhere, and I have because it comes in a cardboard cup and with a little cardboard spoon. Perfect for vegging out on the sofa, munching on at the cinema (that's a-ok in Taiwan!) or even nibbling on as you walk down the street. What more could you want? Maybe a second one.
Vegan Heaven also has you covered if you need to grab something for breakfast or to take on your hike up Elephant Mountain to gaze out at Taipei 101. The individually wrapped pineapple cakes, a Taiwanese speciality, are a must-try and the super light tea infused banana bread made more than one excellent breakfast.
Vegan Heaven also sell the best lemon drizzle cake I've ever tasted, I wish that I had the skills to make a lemon cake that's so perfectly light and flavourful - one day! I can't wait to swing by their super central location one last time before I head to Hong Kong on Tuesday, getting to eat two or three more delicious desserts is going to be a great way to say goodbye to Taiwan but most of all I'm excited to see Li again! She might be the nicest person I've ever met and I don't think I'll ever be able to repay her generosity - free baked treats aside she gifted Nick and I with noodles and Taiwanese snacks to see us through the new year period (she was worried that stores and restaurants would be closed and finding something to eat might be tricky - she was right!) as well as the most delicious jar of homemade lemon jam. Her and her partner even bought Nick and I lunch from their favourite local take-out spot on more than one occasion! She's basically the sweetest (and the most excitable!) person you will ever encounter and I would urge you to visit asap so that she can fill you with both joy and delicious treats.
Top tip: Go early! Vegan Heaven opens at 12:00 and closes at 6:30 and they're super popular so if you arrive late in the afternoon there'll be less goodies to choose from. Oh and grab a ginger soy milk, you won't regret it!
Have I sold you on a trip to Taipei yet? I have one more (noodle filled) post coming up next week and then I'll fill you in on my trip around the Taiwanese coast.