Imagine you’re charged with bringing dessert to a gathering. In most of America, you could probably slide by with a sheet cake and a gallon of ice cream—but this is Portland, and you know all that gluten and dairy will leave many of your fellow partygoers feeling, yet again, very left out.
The solution? Raw, vegan, organic, gluten-free, Portland-made sweets. You’ve got plenty to choose from—in additions to local favorites like Divine Pie, Rawdacious, Pixie Retreat, and Eatin Alive, two new plant-based players have recently entered the market: Nibs & Greens and Cibo Vivo.
We know what you’re thinking: “How can a vegan and gluten-free dessert possibly taste good?” Rest assured, we held taste tests, and our carnivore-filled office devoured three cakes in ten minutes flat. Because you know what doesn’t have gluten or dairy in it? Chocolate. Peanut butter. Sugar. And what else do you need in a dessert, really?
NIBS & GREENS
Meet them: Badass twin entrepreneurs Hallie and Reya Tobias spent a year producing L’il Puddins at Pixie Retreat before leaving to start their own raw sweet company in 2014. Raised vegetarian, the 26-year-old twins were inspired to adopt a fully plant-based, gluten-free diet while studying exercise science at Willamette University. Working out of a commercial kitchen in Northwest Portland, the duo supply treats to local health food havens like Prasad and Kure, and will debut a raw dessert platter in Providence Park for the 2016 soccer season.
Eat them: The fledgling company has already perfected a dazzling array of desserts, from matcha macaroons and maca balls to rich fudge brownies and three-layer caramel mocha bars made with Stumptown cold brew. If you’re feeding a crowd, spring for an ultra-rich raw cheesecake, available made-to-order in three sizes and nine mouthwatering flavors—think white chocolate caramel swirl with cashew lucuma crust.
Find them: Prasad, Harlow, Kure Kitchen, Papa G’s, Providence Park, online
Meet them: The son of raw food authors Thomas and Gabrielle Chavez, Chiminh King-Chavez and his wife, Rian, spent many years working side by side at Beaverton Bakery before founding Cibo Vivo Fine Foods in February 2015. These days, the husband-and-wife team whips together creamy cashew-based cakes from organic, fair trade ingredients. Cibo Vivo takes its ethos seriously—even the almond milk is made in-house, and all components are consciously sourced, including the packaging.
Eat them: Cibo Vivo calls its raw treats “cashew decadence”—although one co-worker called them “vegan ice cream cakes,” which also seemed to fit. Dig into indulgent (and truly decadent) flavors like peanut butter chocolate or vanilla coconut, made with wholesome ingredients like organic almonds, cashews, coconut oil and agave. If you’d rather start small, pick up a trio of bite-sized bonbons … but trust us, you’ll totally want a whole cake.
Find them: Zupan’s Market, Vtopia Cheese Shop, Beaverton Bakery, online