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  • Vegan freakshakes in Canberra

    30th April, 2016

    Freakshakes! They originated from Canberra’s very own Pâtissez, and burst from Australia, onto the world stage, with great media hubbub in July 2015.

    …and now there’s a vegan-friendly version at both Canberra stores! It’s now going to be a permanent fixture on the menu but the flavour option might change every month or so.

    Currently, the Vegân Freak is:

    “Lychee coconut shake – raspberry coulis – coconut vanilla bean mousse – coconut chips – lychee, raspberry & coconut icecream pop (holy mother of vegans this thing does not taste vegan).”

    Vegan freakshake at Patissez Manuka, Canberra, Australia

    So sweet, so coconut

    I had a Vegân Freak yesterday (not quite as sexy as it sounds! But almost…) at the Canberra Manuka store.  I was a bit worried about the lychee element as I’ve tried to avoid eating them after seeing a particular scene in We need to talk about Kevin. But they were tricky to detect in the shake, so that was for the best.

    I had told the staff I found out about the Vegân Freak from Vegan ACT. I heard them saying to each other something like, “It was through a secret vegan society!”. I’m sworn to secrecy regarding whether I can confirm if SVS exists or not.

    Oh the shake was so overwhelming. So much sweetness, so much coconut (this has also been mentioned by others, too). I was determined! I was hardcore! But I failed (softcore). I had skipped lunch but it still didn’t work, and I was so hopeful that I’d do better than my last competitive eating foray. But I just couldn’t finish it, so very sad and I so hate food waste. My gameplan was based on the architecture, starting at the top. I ate the icecream pop, then 50% of the mousse, then super-sculled most of the liquid. And then I felt as overly sweet as Shirley Temple (the child actor, but I guess also her namesake beverage). The shakes are the smaller size compared to the “origin” freakshakes, but there’s still so much in a serving! The description describes it as “not tasting vegan” – I don’t know what to say about that, but it does have a really overt cream-fat kind of taste, so it’s kind of accurate?

    I appreciate that Pâtissez now offers a vegan freakshake option, and it’s also encouraging for there to be an something for those with dairy allergies. Apparently Pâtissez are developing a vegan chocolate freakshake for Winter – which is so good, we don’t need everything to be fruit-based! (there are some other great flavour suggestions on their facebook page). It would also be beneficial to have some vegan beta-testers. I volunteer as tribute!

    When I went to pay, they said, “1 vegan freak?”, and I said, yes, thinking of Bob and Jenna Torres’ book, Hello my name is vegan freak: being vegan in a non-vegan world.

    Vegan burger at Patissez, Civic, Canberra, Australia

    Best vegan burger ever! (sorry Mum)

    Today’s follow-up (quality assurance!) visit was to the Canberra City (Civic) store, I had the only vegan main option, the Veg Head burger with fries and Pâtissez special sauce:

    “Herby chickpea, corn & sweet potato patty, charred zucchini, roast capsicum, grilled eggplant, roasted red pepper, vegan aioli, house marinated fetta cheese.”

    Damn, it was the best vegan burger I’ve had (in case my Mum’s reading, it’s not as good as your bean-patty one! But if you’re not reading, then it’s the best). Like, even better than the one at Red Lime Shack in Adelaide. It was so good. I did ask the Pâtissez staff a lot of questions, and confirmed that the chips were fried in cottonseed oil, and that the aioli is done on a soy base (not sure if this is a fortified type, though). Staff were obliging, but I think that there needs to be a quick FAQ or better team-briefing, given that many people with allergies will often opt for the vegan menu item and have questions.

    Vegan freakshake at Patissez Civic, Canberra, Australia

    The beast, legend & challenge.

    My friend E had the Vegân Freak, so we could compare it with my yesterday-version at Manuka. I sternly warned her that I couldn’t even complete it, but she said she was “born for this”.

    And annoyingly, she truly was! (but reassured me that it was due to my coaching). The evidence is as follows…

    Completed Vegan freakshake at Patissez, Civic, Canberra, Australia

    Damn, she did it

    Yesterday, I found that the trick after my shake-fail was to get some vegan chips from Grill’d to get a good savoury/salt balance (very soon after!).

    As a modified version of the ye olde technique of McDonald’s dipping chips in a sundae, E utilised some of my Pâtissez burger side-fries as freakshake dippers. I think we need to register this an innovative concept for the IDEAS BOOM. I hope Pâtissez will think it’s a good idea to start serving a tiny cup of chips with freakshakes! (you’re welcome!)

    Freakshake Google trends graph showing interest over time

    Freakshake Google trends graph

    It can be tricky to find out about freakshakes, as I think the term has now been copyrighted or trademarked by Pâtissez, and they recommend tagging with #Patissez and #FreakShakes

    When I was trying to get a trend graph from Factiva, I found it a bit complex (because of the terms) and experimented with advanced search commands like freak and shake* near each other, or dessert-topped shakes, but I didn’t really get anything satisfyingly representative, so the image above is from data source Google trends. You can see the clear peak in popularity in July last year, and then it all gets a bit muddied with the varying names, etc. …and it didn’t seem to allow truncation symbols, so I used both freakshake and freakshakes, in addition to Pâtissez. Even if the interest doesn’t continue over time, it looks as though the cafe is continuing with innovative food offerings – I’m hopeful that will result in more vegan options, too!

    The freakshake phenomenon is just part of the Frankenfood portmanteaus, and it could possibly be compared with the vegan Plant-based Disgrace in Sydney. I’m keen to try the Disgrace, but given my lack of success in finishing Vegân Freak, I might have to share it with a few other people.

    As always, this post isn’t sponsored and all food etc. is at my own cost. I’d love to know if you also thought the Vegân Freak was super intense! Or if you’ve been lucky enough to eat the Disgrace.

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