I’m so pleased to introduce Tasneem Dakri the owner of V:GD and an inspirational raw dessert marker. V:GD is a new company taking healthy desserts to the next level. Everything is vegan, gluten-free and tastes like heaven (I can verify this since I got to try samples of everything 2 weeks ago!). If you liked my mint-choc smoothie you’ll love her desserts.
After a quick chat with Tasneem on her stall at Sneinton vegan market I was curious to know more about V:GD, raw desserts and her approach to healthy living so I set up this interview.
Hi Tasneem, Thanks for agreeing to an interview. Can you tell us how V:GD got started?
For the past three years I have suffered with Coeliac disease as well as other intolerances. It became increasingly difficult for me to eat a dessert when I went out with family and friends. The desserts that were gluten free contained some form of egg in them, the ones that were dairy free contained some form of gluten or soya.
It became depressing and upsetting to the point where I opted to not socialise if it involved eating. Now I’m sure we all agree that is a sad day. So, in order to cheer myself up at home I took inspiration from the Australians who have managed to create a raw cake using no dairy, gluten, wheat, soy or refined sugars.
I created my own recipes and decided to launch a desserts range that would cater for people in a similar situation to myself. I also ensured that my recipes would be fully vegan as I admire the ethos and would prefer to support their way of life.
That is how V:GD was born. A Vegan and Gluten free dessert.
It sounds like the Aussies have been a big influence. Your cakes are absolutely delicious and look so beautiful, where else do you find inspiration for new flavours and designs?
I have always been very artistic and a little bit of a perfectionist. I love French Patisseries and even though I cannot eat them I do love looking at them. This has inspired me to create a beautiful individual slice so you can feel like you are eating something decadent even though you do suffer from intolerances. The flavours replicate the general flavours in today’s dessert world that I have missed over the past few years.
I aim to transform everyday dessert options and make them suitable those who are intolerant or follow the vegan lifestyle. Some upcoming flavours will include; Tiramisu, carrot cake, Mint chocolate.
Wow. That’s a massive range of flavours! What’s your secret tip for making raw cakes work perfectly?
A secret tip of making the perfect raw cake is PATIENCE. The nature of the ingredients are very diverse therefore they need time and patience to be able to be used correctly.
Making a raw cake is far from easy; if you’re measurements are not correct then the cake will not set properly.
It is vital to use high quality ingredients and keep them raw in order to gain the maximum nutritious benefits.
What’s next for the business?
I am working on further recipes but at the moment I am building public awareness by attending vegan fairs and food festivals. I am currently stocked in two places in Leicester but am keen to reach further parts in order for more people to choose V:GD.
You must be very busy. How do you stay healthy and psyched?
Since following a plant based diet it is amazing how much extra energy I have. I start my day by infusing two litres of water with lemon and cucumber; I sip this throughout the day and I find this is a great energizer not to mention the detoxing aspect.
I also drink plenty of raw smoothies with beetroot, spinach, kale and other wonderful ingredients.
Being a full time mum and running a business is very demanding but the rewards pay off when I receive amazing customer testimonials where they also had not eaten a dessert for a number of years and mine was the first that agreed with their dietary restrictions.
I have mothers coming to my public events seeking out my dairy free cookie dough pops for their child who has been diagnosed with certain allergies and they are so happy in the knowledge that they can buy a ‘treat’ for their child.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Eat healthily even if you don’t suffer from intolerances. I didn’t always suffer; it just crept up on me after the age of 30. If I had eaten a balanced diet I may never have faced such dietary problems. Being intolerant is not fun, it’s not trendy and it is difficult as there are not enough options out there for us to choose from.
That’s good advice. I believe plant-based diets, with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables are the key to good health. What are your favorite fruit and veggies?
Beetroot, all the way and anyday. Also Avocados in guacamole.
For details of other fairs where you can find V:GD and to order online for home delivery (within 10 miles of the manufacturing address only) check the website.
The pictures in this post were supplied by V:GD. Check out my instagram for some yummy pics I took at the market.