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Zukay Live Foods

Tested: Kvass and Salad Dressings

When I was asked by xgfx to write a product review for Zukay kvass and salad dressings, I said “sure!” and then immediately wondered, “What’s a kvass”?

After some cursory googling, I learned that kvass is a lacto-fermented beverage originally made from stale rye bread, which became popular among the peasant population in Russia during the middle ages. Why exactly was the peasant population lacto-fermenting beverages from stale bread anyway? Turns out it was inexpensive, had medicinal and healing properties, was easy to make and safer to drink than water at the time. .. all very good reasons!

Today, there are literally thousands of recipes for kvass that don’t require a rye or wheat base and therefore provide great xgfx options. The folks over at Zukay Live Foods make various types of kvass and salad dressings that, in addition to going through the fermentation process, contain lovely probiotics. If you are wondering why these two things are important, Zukay provides a great overview on their website. All of these products are vegan, gluten-free, contain no preservatives and are raw and unpasteurized.

These are the Zukay products I tested. Did I enjoy them? Let’s find out!

Beet & Ginger Kvass
INGREDIENTS: Water, organic beets, organic ginger, celtic sea salt, live active culture.
This was my favorite kvass flavor. The color was rich and deep, and looked like the end product of a bunch of beets having a fight. I got some on my hand and it actually stained it a little it was that potent. Not surprisingly, it tasted exactly like fresh beets, with a little kick of ginger at the end. I felt like a superstar after drinking this stuff! I’m kind of obsessed with it now.

Carrot Ginger Kvass
INGREDIENTS: Organic carrots, water, organic ginger, celtic sea salt, active live culture.
I liked this flavor of kvass. It tastes like a bunch of vibrant, freshly juiced carrots. Although it contains no lemon, it did have a pretty strong and tart lemon taste, but I couldn’t identify any ginger flavor. Like it’s beet cousin, it has a bright and potent color, so much it almost glows.

Veggie Medley Kvass
INGREDIENTS: Organic tomatoes, water, organic cucumber, organic carrots, organic cabbage, organic celery, organic kale, organic parsley, celtic sea salt, live active culture.
This medley, packed with seven kinds of vegetables, was magnificent. Unlike the beet and carrot variety, this kvass was clear, but still had a wonderful depth of flavor. Cucumber was the most dominant taste, and it contained none of the acidity of the other two. It was light, refreshing and had a little fizz to it—I was kind of sad taking the last swig! I would strongly recommend all three of these juices.

On to the salad dressings!

Tomato Olive Salad Dressing
INGREDIENTS: Organic tomato, water, kalamata olives, organic garlic, celtic sea salt, herbs de provence, pepper, live active culture.
I really like the simplicity of this dressing. It reminds me of a fresh tapenade. The kalamata is the clear star here, while the tomato and garlic make brief appearances here and there. I really loved this dressing and wouldn’t change a thing about it. It was my favorite Zukay dressing.

Sweet Onion Basil Dressing
INGREDIENTS: Organic sweet onion, water, organic turnip, organic garlic, celtic sea salt, basil, pepper, live active culture.
When I first popped open this dressing, I immediately smelled a rich and pungent scent of sweet onions. You can actually see and identify most of the ingredients in the dressing when you first pour it out. The texture works well in a salad—it also provides a good tang at the end. On the bottle, Zukay suggests adding your own olive oil to make a vinaigrette, which I did. This totally transforms the flavor and texture. I actually like the addition of olive oil better than the plain dressing. It just adds a little more body and rounds it out a bit.

Red Pepper Cilantro Dressing
INGREDIENTS: Organic red pepper, organic tomato, water, cilantro, organic garlic, celtic sea salt, pepper, live active culture.
This reminded me of a Bloody Mary. It had a rich tomato flavor and a little zip at the end. I’m not sure that this would taste great on a salad—the taste is very dominant and would overpower instead of compliment a salad. I did enjoy the very slight hint of cilantro and this dressing fills the room with a wonderful aroma upon opening it.
Where to find Zukay products and how much $$$ it will cost you:
I am from Boston and I have never seen these products anywhere, which is a shame, because I do enjoy them! I did a ?store locator search on the Zukay website and found out I’d have to travel 20 miles to West Concord (the closest location to me) to find their products. But because I am lazy and gas prices are high, I’ll just shop online. You can get a 6-pack of kvass for $30, which includes shipping. Salad dressings run from 7.50-9.00 a bottle, which also includes shipping fees.


  • Delicious and simple— unique products and flavors
  • Healthy and fresh


  • A bit pricey
  • Products are hard to find in certain regions

Reviewed by Erin Wysocarski

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One Comment

  1. bitt
    Posted June 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    wow, you are the first person I have heard of who like these drinks! i knew there must be a certain type of person who they were made for. just too strong for me.

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