If you live in Melbourne, you’ve most likely heard of Vegie Bar, one of Fitzroy’s most popular vegan/vegetarian-friendly eateries. But what you may not know is that the same team has recently opened a fantastic 100% vegan sweet shop right next door. Since Girls & Boys attracted such massive crowds around their stand at Melbourne’s Big Vegan Market, I stopped by to taste their treats for myself.
Fitzroy is a Vegan Paradise
Over the last five years, Melbourne has undergone a great transformation in vegan innovation and Fitzroy is at the heart of the action, says head pastry chef Jackson. He welcomes this as a creative challenge, experimenting with delicious vegan and gluten-free dessert recipes for both Vegie Bar and Girls & Boys. For Jackson, it’s all about seeing people enjoy themselves. This is a great gig because he loves to see families with dietary restrictions really appreciate specialty desserts at his vegan sweet shop.
What makes this place so special you may ask? Vegan soft-serve ice cream which can be dipped in melted chocolate (choc top) for one. Gelato croissant sandwiches for another. Plus, Girls & Boys’ sweets are homemade without refined white sugar, and avoid processed ingredients wherever possible. What does that mean? It means you can have your cake and eat it too in terms of trying to maintain a healthy(ish) diet even when you feel like indulging!
Pimped Out Flavor of the Month, Vegan Sweet Shop Style
With vegan gelato, sorbet, AND soft-serve on the menu, the choices can be a little overwhelming. As you may know from personal experience, vegan soft-serve is about as rare as a unicorn sighting. Although the other two choices of the “pimped out” soft-serve looked amazing (chocolate raspberry or baklava), I decided to go for the flavor of the month, apple pie. The ice cream base is made with coconut milk, resulting in a light coconut flavor that isn’t too overpowering. To induce those soul-soothing autumn feels, warm cinnamon apple pie filling with sweet raisins, oat crumble, and an upside-down waffle cone all come together to form one majestic dessert. As a big fan of comfort food in dreary weather, I classify this dish as a taste of heaven on a plate.
Aside from being obsessed with ice cream, I’m also a certified doughnut fanatic. I got the spelt flour doughnut dusted with cinnamon sugar. I mean, you only live once right? Not too dense or overly sweet, just perfect for an afternoon snack with a coffee. My theory is that Melbourne probably has the best vegan doughnuts anywhere and this place proves it.
Did Someone Say Pie?
To top it all off, I left Girls & Boys with a little taste of home. Jackson insisted on a decadent piece of classic autumn pumpkin pie. Soft and light with a hint of spice, this cashew-based dessert has a texture reminiscent of a raw vegan cheesecake with all the flavors of autumn. One bite was all it took to remind me of cozy Thanksgiving dinners at my grandma’s house.
Girls & Boys also boasts an impressive display case full of take-away gourmet treats. Imagine white chocolate tarts and maca fudge bars, alongside a wide selection of smoothies and breakfast bowls. This cute little sweet shop is perfect anyone looking to brighten their day. Next time I’m feeling adventurous, I’m going after that croissant gelato sandwich!