Find smoked tofu, soya wax lip balms and more at the city's first vegan lifestyle store
Earth Story, the city’s first ever vegan lifestyle store in Alwarpet shelves every solution to a potential craving
Whether you’re curious to try something new or feel an inclination to get healthier for the new year – going vegan in Chennai just got way easier. From dairy-free butter to supplement your dairy needs to smoked tofu that is as good as ham (almost) – Earth Story, the city’s first-ever vegan lifestyle store in Alwarpet shelves every solution to a potential craving. Don’t miss their inspired skincare selection consisting of walnut butter either or upcycled tyre tube handbags to replace the hide on your arm.
A bite of vegan
As a non-vegetarian, I enter the store with much scepticism. I don't intend to turn vegan but with a majority of my friends being vegetarian and on the precipice of turning vegan, I understood why it was so difficult to find the right place for all their vegan requirements.
Dhaval Chandarana from Chennai, the founder and owner of the store had the foresight to open an all-vegan store that had, not just food and spices, but also cosmetics, apparel and accessories. "I worked in the garment industry before this and at one point I asked myself, 'what good am I doing for the earth?'" says the 31-year-old. "I always wanted to get into the vegan store business, but it finally came through now." Dhaval volunteered at a reforestation project for a year in Pondicherry, travelled a lot and learnt the many nuances of the trade. Showing us around the store and their best products, Dhaval reaches out for a slab of, what looked like meat, for a taste. "It's smoked tofu," said Dhaval with a smile. Take a bite and to my surprise, it almost tastes like smoked ham. The tofu is directly sourced from Aurosoya in Auroville, an organisation that is dedicated to promoting healthy living through organic eating.
From butter to bags
Dhaval sourced a lot of his products from brands from around the country, most of whom were his friends. It's been only three months and the response has been tremendous. It's safe to say it has been a fulfilling experience too." Dhaval now has a range of products like herbs, tea, salt, handcrafted dairy-free butter, snacks, cotton candy (that's right!), scrubs, lip balms, moisturisers and even menstrual cups.
Their upcycled products include wallets, bags, table runners and mats. He takes out a wallet and asks me to guess what it was made of. "It's made out of car cushion covers," says Dhaval with a grin. "And the other wallets are made from dog food covers and upcycled tyre tubes. We have runners and table mats made from tea bags,"
The charming store also has a few unique products up their sleeve like Tempeh from Indonesia - fermented soybeans which are very healthy. Dhaval believes they're the only store in Chennai to have it. There's also cholesterol-free ice cream in mango, butterscotch and chocolate from Whitecub, another range of products that Dhaval says is unique to Earth Story. As of today, Earth Story only functions in Chennai but he hopes to expand to ECR.