The spread of goodies at VeganVee’s grand opening party November 18, 2011
Vegan Bakery Now Open in Sylvan Park
By Susie Coleman
If you sometimes travel through Sylvan Park on its main thoroughfare — 46th Ave. North between Charlotte Avenue and McCabe’s Golf Course — you can’t help but remember the small, clean, white building with a swinging sign that reads: The Classic Handyman. No, the company is not moving out, for those of you in the neighborhood who depend on this reliable fix-it business owned and run by Jim Peatman. It’s just scooting over a tad to give some extra space to Peatman’s wife, Vivi, who has maintained a licensed commercial kitchen in the building since 2008. The two have lately begun remodeling an area to accommodate a display case and a few tables and chairs for those who wish to drop by for one of Vivi’s awesome vegan sweet rolls and a cup of organic coffee.
The VeganVee is now open for walk-in business, mostly to make it easy on the growing number of folks picking up or ordering custom-ordered vegan and vegetarian bakery items. Vivi has promised to keep a small selection of fresh, tasty cookies and expertly-crafted sweet rolls on hand each day for those of us who are thrilled to have such delightful healthy goodies on the West side of Nashville. The Wild Cow Vegetarian Restaurant in East Nashville serves Vivi’s cinnamon rolls, donuts and pastries each week, but this brings her luscious creations 20 miles closer to me.
Vegan (pronounced vee-gun) is a diet that avoids the use of all animal-based products. That means no eggs, no milk or cream, no cheese or sour cream. Instead, Vivi uses ground flaxseed, applesauce, banana and even mashed potatoes to bind a batter together, reducing saturated fats to nearly nothing yet keeping the resulting delicacy moist and full of body.
Last November, my husband and I hosted a 50th birthday party for one of our friends; my Mr. Wonderful went to Vanderbilt with both Jim Peatman and the birthday boy, and Vivi thoughtfully brought along one of her gorgeous cakes to add to our pot luck dinner. Though there was a large, lovely sheet cake inscribed with Happy Birthday sitting there, our guests literally fought over Vivi’s Almond Cake with Ganauche Frosting. It was hands-down the most delicious thing on the menu. Folks who attended the party are still raving about that cake a full year later.
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Photos by Susie Coleman
“I’d like to change peoples’ minds about the way they think vegan food tastes,” Vivi says. “In almost every case, people can’t tell that it contains no eggs or dairy products. Lots of times, I don’t even tell folks it’s vegan. They only know they are eating something that has a much fuller taste, and much more satisfying.
“I love to look for challenging recipes and see if I can create a vegan version. I particularly love to take the old German recipes and “vegan-ize” them. It doesn’t always work out, but over the years I learned how to use things like egg replacements, silken tofu, and butter substitutes (I especially like the Earth Balance brand). I shop a lot at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s to get the best quality. But I also visit Kroger for some of the more standard ingredients to keep costs down. I believe that if you use cheap ingredients, you just end up having to use more sugar. I prefer my pastries sweetened but not overly sweet.”
While vegan ingredients are more expensive, a vegan cake or pie might contain agave or maple syrup, almond meal, coconut flour, high end chocolate, organic vegan sugars and organic whole wheat flour. “I also make gluten-free baked goods, though my kitchen is not completely gluten-free.” She has recipes for wheat-free, soy-free, and nut-free foods, and other hard-to-find foods as well. The VeganVee’s current menu offers, but is not limited to:
- Cupcakes (filled, frosted, dipped, giant, mini)
- Sweet Breads
- Cinnamon Rolls
- Cake Pops
- Candies (truffles, caramels, etc.)
- Nut Brittle, Chocolate Brittle
A lifelong defender of animal rights, Vivi Peatman has been a vegetarian since she was 16. She went full vegan in 2000. She says it gives her more energy and a brighter, happier mental state. Everyone in her family enjoys remarkably good health. Next to Vivi’s bakery space is a small yoga studio she and Jim built for their personal use. Vivi’s thinking of using the studio’s small stage to host intimate songwriter nights and other musical events in 2012. And she’d bring out the goodies, of course!
Well, I can tell you one thing. I plan to become a frequent flier at The VeganVee. I promise you, you can taste the love…
About the VeganVee
Location: 306 46th Ave. North, Nashville, Tennessee 37209
Please allow a minimum of 24 hours notice per order (48 hours for cheesecakes and party platters).
Free delivery in the Sylvan Park area / $25 minimum order applies