Raw. Vegan. Tasty. Treats and Tonics from Gouter.

by Gena on November 9, 2012

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For the last few months, I’ve been hearing all about a local raw and vegan snack and elixir brand called Gouter—French for “to taste.” The company was founded and is run by a husband and wife team, V and Steve, who are devoted to bringing the highest quality raw, vegan snacks, elixirs, and education to the D.C. area (and, I hope, beyond!). D.C.’s raw food scene right now is pretty modest—Elizabeth’s Gone Raw for fine dining, and some options at Great Sage, but not too many dedicated eateries—so I was really thrilled to hear that a company specifically specializing in raw and vegan cuisine was emerging here in the District.

Now that I’ve met the charming and energetic V, and tasted Gouter’s treats, I am even more excited to watch them grow. V and Steve are dedicated to wholesome and healthy food and drink, but they are also—as the name of their brand suggests—absolutely committed to good taste. Their chocolate barks, macaroons, and tonics are some of the tastiest I’ve tried, and the products are also highly progressive, using new ingredients and techniques, rather than drawing from the standard pool of raw food methods. I love when purveyors of raw and vegan food are as culinarily inspired as they are attentive to health!

Steve and V’s mission is to “bring a new approach to healthy foods by making it accessible to everyone, keeping it simple and most important, tasting delicious! We want to educate the community and make people realize that healthy food can be good for you and taste great too.”

This philosophy is evidenced in their efforts to do local outreach, teaching raw cooking classes via LivingSocial, and even participating in D.C.’s “growing healthy schools” week:

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The Gouter tonics are full of energy-boosting nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins—fresh turmeric, goji berries, kale, and aloe. They’re made with alkaline water (alkalinity of 9.5). I’m not a big believer of the health benefits of this, but I will say that Gouter is one of the few companies who offers it, and whether you believe it or not, the resulting drinks are absolutely delicious and healthful for reasons that go far beyond the alkaline water. As you’ll see in a second, V and Steve are using ingredients and a technique that is totally unique. The drinks work beautifully before a yoga class or work out, as an afternoon snack, or a dessert, and the company also offers packaged “cleanses” (not my favorite word, as you know, but Gouter does offer food and elixir packages in addition to all liquid).

When V reached out to me recently and offered me a sampling of treats and tonics, I wrote back enthusiastically saying yes. I was grateful when she offered to deliver them to me, but hardly surprised: I had seen photos of her delivering her packaged food bundles to clients right as Sandy struck D.C.!

Photo: hurricane sandy can't stop us from delivering the best cleanses around;)

And I’ve seen many images of her perched on her bike, poised to deliver food to her local clientele:

Photo: we're off....deliveries are en route!)

I’ve noticed that everyone who meets V gushes about her, and now I’m one of those people. She’s lovely:

Photo: cleanses, cleanses who wants a cleanse? start your weekend off right with our easy options;)

V arrived at my place last Friday, bringing with her a wonderful sampling of Gouter’s products: 3 of the healing tonics, a container of macaroons, a container of raw-nola, and a container of raw chocolate bark. Lucky, lucky me:

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I’ve had a chance to sample some of the Gouter products already; they are sold at my D.C. yoga studio, Epic Yoga. I’ve tasted the kale tonic, which is touched with a hint of lemon and ginger and totally delicious, and I’ve also tried the raw-nola, which is crunchy, chock full of tasty goji berries and buckwheat, and sweetened oh-so-subtly with coconut nectar (which is the Gouter sweetener of choice, rather than agave) and cinnamon. V gave me the three tonics I hadn’t yet tried: anti-age (a goji and cinnamon tonic), stretch (a turmeric and cardamom tonic) and digest (an aloe, mint, and ginger tonic).

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Honestly? They’re all amazing. The truest indication of my enthusiasm is the fact that I savored every sip of “digest,” having readied myself to hate it. I have despised aloe juice every time I’ve ever drunk it, no matter how beneficial it is to digestion, and I was shocked to find that I loved a drink that featured it. That said, the “anti-age” and “stretch” were tied for first place in my book. The goji is sweet and appropriately autumnal because of the cinnamon; the turmeric tonic is a little sassy, warming, and spicy. It’s a nice complement to my recent enthusiasm for turmeric, and my turmeric and pumpkin seed pate, which is now a favorite!

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V and I had a chance to chat a little about the tonics, and she mentioned that, when they were developed, she and Steve had wanted to offer something a little more unusual than the standard vegetable juices—something medicinal, she said, featuring potent and healing herbs and superfoods. As someone who really adores juice, I actually could not agree more that it’s refreshing to see a different kind of elixir, which can feature ingredients (like nutrient dense berries or spices) that don’t necessarily lend themselves easily to juicing at home. The drinks feel exotic, energizing, and, when you consider the healthful ingredients, they feel like good medicine indeed. Speaking of medicine, they saw me through some long and lonely hours this week:

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Of course this review would not be complete without a mention of Gouter’s tasty sweets! The chocolate bark, which came in two flavors, a superberry bark (raw cacao with gojiberries, goldenberries, and mulberries) and a bark with buckwheat. They were both melt-in-your-mouth smooth and delicious:

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And the macaroons were also a delight (they went fast, too!). There was a chocolate chip flavor, a vanilla bean flavor (specked with real vanilla) and a chocolate. I noticed that all of the macaroons were sweetened just enough to be dessert, but not enough to tasty sugary. Turns out, they’re sweetened with date paste, which explains why it was such an organic, subtle flavor.

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The delicately flavored barks and macaroons are a far cry from your average chocolate or cookie; even by creative raw food standards, they stand out.

In all, I couldn’t have been more impressed by my Gouter gifts. I am so grateful to Steve and V for their generosity in sharing, and I hope this will be the first of many chances I get to sample Gouter’s innovative raw and vegan cuisine.

It’s worth saying that, though Gouter doesn’t have a website quite yet, they are extremely responsive on Facebook and Twitter (@heygouter). If you’re local (or even if you’re not), go ahead and reach out, requesting more information, asking questions about a raw food or drink package, or to find out which yoga or fitness studio is going to carry Gouter next. I hope you’ll check the company out, and be as delighted as I have been to get to know them.

xo

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Brittany November 9, 2012 at 11:40 pm

You do such thorough reviews Gena! Gouter sounds absolutely amazing – the anti-age tonic with goji and cinnamon sounds lovely and the superberry bark looks delicious. I love superberry trail mix blends so I’m sure I would adore the bark.

Have a lovely weekend!

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Rebecca November 10, 2012 at 7:33 am

Thanks for letting us DC folks know about Gouter. As you mentioned DC is limited in raw food options but that is slowly changing. Have you been to Puree in Bethesda? On another note my husband and I are in Philly this weekend and had an amazing meal last night at Vedge! Thanks to your review we decided to try it and it was fantastic!

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Gena November 10, 2012 at 7:37 am

Yes, Purree is great! And I agree, Rebecca: I think this is the start of a happy new trend in the DC area :) So glad you liked Vedge; I can’t wait to go back.

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Lauren A November 10, 2012 at 7:55 am

Have you been to Khepra’s on H St NE? Going in there makes me feel like the raw scene in DC has arrived.

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Gena November 10, 2012 at 8:02 am

Funnily enough, V and I have made plans to go (I’m dying to try it). Between now and late January, I’m in a particularly hellish stretch of academic work, so I’m not really leaving the library much, but I look forward to much more exploring this spring — Khepra’s, Hawthorne Market, and more.

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Lauren November 10, 2012 at 9:08 am

Great review! I wish they were local!!

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Allysia November 10, 2012 at 11:37 am

Ha ha, I had a dream last night about juice bottles that looked like these! Of course, I tried to turn the liquid into powder (I think to preserve the juice forever). Anyway, everything looks awesome, hopefully they expand their products beyond the DC area at some point. :)

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Lisa @ Lisa the Vegetarian November 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm

This sounds like a great organization not only providing delicious-sounding, truly nutritious juices, but I love how they also are reaching out to the community. Great review!

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Nicole November 10, 2012 at 5:53 pm

What an awesome pair those two! I would love to buy from them and try their creations. All of it sounds delicious and refreshing!

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Hannah November 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Oh how I wish I could snaffle up the raw chocolate bark to add to my growing collection of raw chocolate reviews! I’m slowly starting to believe that raw chocolate really can be quite, quite wonderful.

I wish you could have these tonics and treats on hand every time the study tries to strand you in strugglestreet. xoxo

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Jade November 10, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Wow, those are some tasty looking treats. It’s always great to see more and more people getting involved in raw and high raw lifestyles–new businesses like this are proof that there is a growing number of people who are “raw curious”!

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sylvia van alphen November 11, 2012 at 1:34 am

I would love love to be able to try these Gouter products!I live in South Florida so it may be awhile before it gets here but I would like to keep in touch with your site and kept abreast of this product and many more exciting products recipes etc. for eating raw!

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Heather @ For the Love of Kale November 11, 2012 at 11:30 am

Gouter sounds like an amazing company with incredibly, high-quality foods. Awesome review, Gena!

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Lia November 11, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Their products sound really nice! Wholesome, creative, and fresh! I never felt any interest in visiting DC again, but through your blog, I’ve become curious to go back to visit some of the places and try some of the goodies you talk about on here. Thanks for the great review!

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Lia November 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Oh, and I featured a version of your pumpkin pie for my Vegan Fall Feast workshop yesterday, and everyone LOVED it! 23 people came to watch, learn, and eat. I’ll be e-mailing them your recipe linking over here! Thanks for that. I always had issues getting pumpkin pie consistency right, and this was perfect.

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Jay November 11, 2012 at 9:18 pm

This made me more hungrier than when I first got to this site. Yummy!. Those juices and choloate look delicious. Great blog

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Jen @ Existential Evolution November 13, 2012 at 9:57 am

Wow, Gouter sounds amazing! I shouldn’t have read this on an empty stomach:-). Maybe they want to open a satellite store in Minnesota??? Thanks for sharing their products with us!

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Mary November 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm

So…a tonic is kind of like a juice but with more medicinal ingredients and spices? Interesting! I was confused at first because I haven’t really heard of modern tonics before (only remember when some medicines used to be referred to as “tonics”).

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Joelle November 14, 2012 at 6:31 am

How do the juices/tonics stay fresh? I keep reading that juices have to be consumed as soon as they are made.

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keishua November 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm

everlasting life cafe has raw food, too. it’s not high end but the food is amazing. i would love to get into juicing more, so i will check it out.

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