The Living Apothecary Explores Almond Milk's Roots

Fresh nut milks that will have you ditching the box

Almond milk only seems newly fashionable.

Medieval nobility prized almond milk's refinement, adding princely flavorings such as saffron, cinnamon and rosewater.

There's an echo of the luxurious past in The Living Apothecary's Vegan Milk No. 2 ($7 for 12 ounces), an almond-cashew milk whose delicate chocolate flavor is accompanied by a whiff of roses.

Owners Shari Stein Curry and Traci Hunt have included a plain almond milk in their juice-cleanse packages since the Oakland company launched last June. But Curry and Hunt enjoyed experimenting with nut milks so much that in October, they created a line of them, each flavor numbered in the order of its creation.

The pair begin by soaking almonds from Big Tree Organic Farms in cold water for several hours. They purée the mixture and strain it through finely woven cloth, discreetly sweetening the milk with agave syrup or dates.

We loved the fresh aromas of ginger and vanilla in No. 4, and found No. 6 (coconut, flaxseed and almond milk) so rich, it replaced the cream in our coffee.

An off-label substitution, perhaps, but made with noble intentions.

Available at; the Sunday Temescal Farmers' Market, 5300 Claremont Ave. (at Cavour St.), Oakland; or on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Three Stone Hearth, 1581 University Ave. (at California St.), Berkeley, 510-981-1334 or