Weekend in Turin – Vegan Food Spots

Hello and happy Wednesday!

This past weekend I was in Turin for the first time, pre-celebrating my 4-year anniversary with my boyfriend, while enjoying both the cultural & culinary offerings of this beautiful northern Italian city.

Confession: The culinary aspect definitely weighed into my vote for this destination. My boyfriend was quite surprised when, a few days after he had suggested Turin and a few other places – and received a noncommittal response from me – I sent him an excited message that I’d love Turin, along with my hotel suggestions. He was (rightly) suspicious about this sudden excitement, and only when I later told him that Turin is one of Italy’s most veggie-friendly cities did a look of understanding (and amusement) cross his face. (He just laughed and – again, rightly – told me not to focus my Turin research on just restaurants 😀 )

We had an absolutely wonderful weekend and perfectly combined exploring the city (a really great free walking tour the first morning provided us with an overview of the sights as well as interesting insights into the history and culture) with fueling our explorations while trying some of the amazing vegan options.

Here are my recommendations for vegan food in Turin:

Soul Kitchen

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This place is not to be missed. It offers true Italian fine dining in a really stylish, but also homey atmosphere – and it happens to be all vegan! (It also has a menu section with raw dishes). My boyfriend and I each had a primo piatto (pasta with a broccoli cream sauce for me and spinach gnocchi in a mushroom sauce with slivers of truffle – divine! – for him), then shared a secondo (a chickpea tempeh dish with pear and endive) as well as a dessert (chocolate mousse with buckwheat granola and dried persimmon). The whole evening was an absolute treat and really inspiring! Really can’t recommend this enough. Just make sure you have a reservation ahead of time, as it did fill up quite quickly. (Luckily I’d already made us a secret reservation days before our trip 😉 ).

Location: Via Santa Giulia 2, 10124 Torino

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Flower Burger

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This vegan Italian burger chain (also located in Rome, Milan and Monza) has a cool vibe and a really fun burger menu. You can literally eat the rainbow here with buns ranging from charcoal black (ok not really a color of the rainbow, but you get what I’m saying) and turmeric yellow to cherry pink like the “Cherry Bomb” burger my boyfriend tried. I went for the “Cheesy Chico” which was a chickpea based patty full of herby flavor and a wonderful cheesiness. Also definitely go for the potatoes – we shared some and these little wedges were so delicious and not too greasy.

Location: Via Antonio Bertola, 29/c, 10122 Torino

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Coox

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This was one of the places on my radar, so when we accidentally passed it after our walking tour, on our way to Flower Burger, I had to have a quick look inside. And, of course, you can’t have a quick look and spot tasty treats without also grabbing something to go. I spotted some croissants, including a charcoal one and ended up going for a  wholewheat croissant with a blueberry jam filling for breakfast the next day – it was so delicious! I wish I could have gone back for a proper meal, but at least I got to try something 🙂

Location: Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 8, 10123 Torino

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Ratatouille 

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This vegan Italian restaurant, deli and PASTRY SHOP is also not to be missed in my opinion. It’s located slightly outside of the touristy center, but you can take a scenic walk back to the main attractions along the river Po, while digesting all the pastries you couldn’t resist. We went there for lunch on the second day and both ordered pizza – which was so satisfyingly doughy and thick, and really tasted like regular non-vegan pizza. Afterwards we kept the employees busy and entertained, ordering lots of items from the deli counter to take on the train with us as well as pastries and treats to bring home, in a mix of Italian (my boyfriend) and English & the odd mispronounced Italian word (me), while constantly asking what things were and changing our minds amid the never-ending options. I’ve never been to a fully vegan pastry shop, so this was truly a kid-in-candy-shop experience for me 🙂

Location: Corso Tortona 2, 10153 Torina

Note: What’s also great about this place is – unlike many others – it’s open on a Sunday!

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There were more places I would have liked to try, so I’ll mention these too:

  • Mezzaluna – we had a peek inside on our way to Soul Kitchen, and it also has a little shop at the back
  • L’Articiocc (it wasn’t yet open when we wanted to check it out, unfortunately)
  • Il Gelato Amico – vegan gelateria! Need I say more?

And finally, one last tip is the health food store Ditta Ceni – which is right behind Mezzaluna. Here we found dried carob pods and I am now obsessed. They are so delicious and definitely worth stocking up on if you’re nearby!

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Hope you enjoyed reading, and please let me know if you’ve tried any of these places or have any other recommendations!

xoxo

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Pumpkin Pies with Cacao Pecan Crust

Hello and happy Thursday!

Chilly weather, cloudy days (at least where I live) and early darkness all feed the desire for something warm and comforting, like a cup of tea. Or even better: a cup of tea with a slice of pie. Or better yet: A cup of tea with a whole (mini) pie to yourself 😀

These little pies are such a delicious treat, perfect in the afternoon with a cup of tea or coffee, or maybe even a hot chocolate 😉 They’re also packed with wholesome ingredients that make them a nourishing indulgence and a steady source of energy.

This recipe came about as a replacement for my old pumpkin pie recipe from my pre-plant-based days. (We all need a good pumpkin pie recipe right?) And while I was at it, I decided to play around with the pie crust, adding pecans and cacao for extra goodness.

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Ingredients (makes 6 muffin-sized pies):

Crust:

  • 120 g wholemeal spelt flour (or buckwheat flour, for a gluten-free version)
  • 30 g pecans, ground into flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 pinch salt

Filling:

  • 1/2 can of puréed pumpkin (i.e. 213 g)
  • 3 medjool dates (if dry, soak in boiling water for a few minutes)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter (unsalted, smooth)
  • 2 tbsp full-fat coconut milk (the kind for cooking)
  • 3 tsp ground flaxseeds
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of cloves
  • pinch salt

Optional (but trust me you want this): dark chocolate for on top

Method:

  1. Line a muffin tray with 6 paper cases.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the crust (first with a spoon and then using your hands) and press the mixture into the cases. (Start with the base, then press bits onto the sides until they’re all covered. This takes a few minutes, but can be quite therapeutic/ a good chance to practice some mindfulness 😉 ).
  3. Blend all the ingredients for the filling and distribute the mixture equally among the 6 pies.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 ° C for ca. 25 minutes. (Oven times vary, so keep an eye on them). I covered mine after 20 minutes to prevent the crust getting too dark.
  5. Let cool in the tray for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
  6. BEST WAY TO ENJOY THEM: When they are still warm, place a square of dark chocolate on top to gloriously melt (or break the chocolate into little chunks and press them into the pie for a gooey chocolate chip effect). If already cooled, heat the pie(s) up in the microwave first. Too indulgent for words.

Note: the pies freeze easily, so you can always have some on hand to heat up (and top with chocolate, if desired 😉 ) for the perfect autumnal treat.

Enjoy!

xoxo

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Vegan Advent Calendars

Hello and happy Monday!

Yes, we’re almost half-way through November, and before we know it we’ll be exclaiming how we can’t believe it’s already December and that the Christmas countdown has begun.

I’m definitely not one of those people who has their Christmas shopping completed weeks ahead of time, but this year I’ve already taken care of one important thing: my advent calendar!

Last year, while still living in London, I scoured the shops in eager anticipation, sure I’d find an amazing vegan chocolate advent calendar – in vain. I did find a dark chocolate one at Whole Foods, but it contained the exact same chocolate for every day, which – for someone who eats plain dark chocolate on a daily basis, all year round – is not very exciting.

I mentioned this plight to my wonderful friend Jordan – founder of the vegan treat business Leitchy Creates – and I’m ecstatic to say that she has created the most amazing looking advent calendar, with 24 completely different Christmas-themed, plant-based artisan pralines. They are currently available for pre-order in the UK – till Friday, November 17 – for £16.50 right here. This would definitely also be a wonderful gift for someone.

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In the meantime, I’ve also discovered some options here in Switzerland (some of which are also available in other countries, like Germany, Austria and the UK). I definitely would have gotten one if I didn’t already have my Leitchy Creates one to look forward to 😉

 

Zotter Adventskalender (Chocolate)

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This one has several different chocolate flavors – from white to dark to coconut to a fantastic sounding Superfood chocolate (with acai, chlorella, green tea, reishi and maca)!

Price: CHF 24.90

Found in: Migros Alnatura (Löwenstrasse, Zurich); also available online to order from Switzerland for CHF 24.68 (here). The same brand has other chocolate advent calendars, including this one, with wilder flavors, also available to order online from several countries, including Germany and the UK.

 

Govinda 24 Adventstage (Energy Balls)

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This calendar contains eight different flavors of mainly date-based energy balls.

Price: CHF 26.90

Found in: Egli Bio (ShopVille, Zurich main station); also available online to order from several countries, including Switzerland, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Belgium and Spain, for EUR 18.80).

 

And, for all the tea-lovers:

Sirocco Tea Advent Calendar

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This calendar contains 24 certified organic tea bags, with flavors such as Green Jasmine, Winter Moments, Pina Moringa, Japanese Sencha and White Christmas, and you can use the case long after Christmas has passed.

Price: CHF 45

Found in: Globus (Zurich)

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these calendars, and please let me know about any other exciting options you come across!

xoxo

 

 

Guest Recipe: Vegan Banana Coconut French Toast by Bianca Zapatka

Hello and happy Sunday evening!

It’s time to share with you another guest recipe – one that I can’t believe I’ve lived this long without: Vegan French Toast! This is something I didn’t think I would be eating after going plant-based, and it completely slipped off my foodie radar. Until, that is, I discovered Bianca Zapatka’s blog full of beautiful, mouthwatering recipes – including an irresistibly simple and incredibly delicious version of French Toast, using ingredients you probably have on hand.

I’ve made it twice this past week and it’s made me so happy both times 🙂 I’ve had it topped with sliced banana, berries/ chia jam, a drizzle of peanut butter and some maple syrup (this was more for decoration purposes, as the toast is perfectly sweet enough without it). Definitely give it a go, and don’t forget to tag @fitness_bianca if you share your toast on instagram 😉

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices toast (I used wholewheat)
  • 1/2 ripe banana (you can slice the other half for decoration) 
  • 75 ml plant-based milk (I used unsweetened rice milk)
  • coconut oil for frying
  • Optional: vanilla, cinnamon, desiccated coconut
  • Ideas for toppings: berries, sirup, granola

Note: I also added 1 tsp of ground flaxseed (for extra nutrition) and 1 tsp lucuma (for extra sweetness), both are completely optional however.

Method:

  1. Mash banana in a deep plate. Add milk, (vanilla and cinnamon) and stir. (This is also where I added the ground flaxseeds and lucuma). 
  2. Spread coconut flakes on a baking paper. (The recipe also works without coconut).  I omitted them, but if you’re a coconut lover, go for it! 😉 
  3. Heat up coconut oil in a pan.
  4. Dip the toasts into the “banana milk” mixture and coat with coconut flakes.
  5. Fry for about 3-4 minutes from each side on medium heat until lightly brown.
  6. Place your french toasts on a plate and drizzle with agave syrup. Serve with berries, granola, remaining coconut flakes or other toppings as desired and enjoy!

 

Happy French Toasting!

xoxo