A Vegan Weekend in Berlin

Hello and happy Sunday!

I’m back with another post. Yes, it’s been a while … (!) It felt right to take a bit of a break, as writing blog posts was becoming just another item on my expanding to-do list and one that I just wasn’t mustering up the motivation for. Add to that an increasingly sluggish laptop and a cell phone breakdown that resulted in lost data (note to self: regular backups are a must), spending more time staring at a screen and piecing together posts after work or on the weekends just wasn’t what I wanted to be doing. Nevertheless, my passion for plant-based eating is as strong as ever (check my instagram account @blueberrysmiles22 for my foodie ventures), and I’m happy to continue sharing experiences, thoughts, recipes and recommendations as much as I can 🙂 I hope you find this helpful!

At the end of March I enjoyed a short but sweet weekend break to Berlin – a city I’d heard much about but never quite made a priority to visit. However, when a friend suggested a change of scene, it was the first city that came to my mind. Short flight from Switzerland, lots to see and … amazing food. Berlin has a reputation for being the vegan capital of Europe and, after having been there, I can definitely see why. (After a year in London, I was skeptical: could Berlin be more vegan-friendly than the home of Vurger, Farmacy, FED by Water etc.?* Turns out the answer is yes!). At the hotel reception I discovered the first sign: a packet of freeze-dried smoothie snacks (these ones from Frau Ultrafrisch – a company from Hamburg). Not being able to resist inspecting anything that looks healthy and delicious (especially in pretty packaging) I picked it up and was immediately encouraged by the receptionist to take it (incidentally the moment I realized I already liked this hotel a lot 😉 ).

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Dinner was a 20-minute walk from our hotel (Hotel Indigo Berlin – East Side Gallery) through Friedrichshain – a neighborhood in eastern Berlin with a cool, slightly grungy charm.  In case we had any doubt as to the vegan-friendliness of Berlin, the chalk-written activist messages we came along on our way completely wiped these out. (I clapped my hands in delight and immediately whipped out my phone, while my friend subtly edged away and pretended not to know me).

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1990 Vegan Living

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Dinner was at a fully vegan Vietnamese restaurant that had been recommended to me. Luckily I made a reservation after arriving at our hotel, as they’d only had one table left for an early dinner (definitely recommend a reservation, especially if you decide to go on  a Friday evening like we did). The menu contains lots of little dishes that you can go crazy with and combine to your heart’s delight. Super hungry after a busy morning at work followed by traveling we ordered a wide array of dishes to share. The flavors were absolutely stunning – particular highlights being the fried seaweed balls with wasabi (in the spoons), the vegetable and tempeh dish and the green dumplings (don’t quite remember the name, I wanna say Shaolin Dumplings?). This is definitely a place I would easily go back to again.

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Cupcake Berlin

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After our delicious Vietnamese feast we were on the hunt for some dessert. We didn’t walk far before I stopped in my tracks at the words vegan brownies . While there were only three vegan options (mini chocolate cupcakes, banana bread and brownies), I would absolutely recommend going here just for the superb vegan brownies! Enormous, thick, fudgy and generously topped with walnuts, we were in heaven, sharing this back in our hotel and trying not to get crumbs everywhere. The chocolate cupcake was nice, but a bit too sweet for our taste and nowhere near as satisfying as the brownie.

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Brammibal’s Donuts

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If in Berlin, this is another must-try! On Saturday morning we headed here after a matcha latte at Superfoods & Organic Liquids (was originally planning on having breakfast there, but the location we went to was more of a takeaway place and didn’t have the açai bowls I’d seen on the online menu). All the flavors are vegan, but the choice for a chocoholic nut-butter addict like me was clear: chocolate peanut fudge (of course!). My friend went for irish coffee. We sat outside in the sun and savored each bite of our fluffy and gloriously indulgent donuts. Food for the soul 😉

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After sunny walks through central Berlin, appreciating the must-see sights, we found ourselves hungry and near one of the places I’d flagged on my Google maps app:

Beets & Roots

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We were craving something slightly more nutritious than our breakfast treat, so this seemed like the perfect place. The avocado bowl (avocado, beluga lentils, sweet potato, baby spinach, pomegranate seeds, coriander, chickpeas, yuzu dressing and nut mix) I had was a real winner! It sounded like the standard kind of bowl I’ve probably had before in some other health food place, but it blew all of those out of the water. The flavors were amazing and the textures (that sweet potato!) were perfect. This was one of the best bowls of this kind that I’ve had in a long time – I could get this again and again.

Also, if you hear the staff shouting Tom Hanks! and think it’s you’re lucky day, running into a celebrity in Berlin, don’t get your hopes up. When you order, they assign you a different celebrity name (I was Brad Pitt and my friend Julia Roberts).

Fueled we stopped by the nearby ice cream shop Süsse Sünde, where we were impressed by the looong queue. The vegan options are marked and I really enjoyed the dark chocolate sorbet, while relaxing in the Volkspark am Weinberg.

Goura Pakora

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While Indian food can be very veggie- and vegan-friendly, an all-vegan Indian place is a rare find and all the more special. While the food took a long time to come (you order and pay, then wait until they ring up your number), it was absolutely worth the wait: we shared a thali (plate filled with small portions of different warm and cold dishes) as well as an insanely large dosa filled with tofu, veggies and peanut sauce. We were in heaven! Lots of flavors, lots of textures – so much goodness! Another place I’d definitely be going back for more if I lived in Berlin.

Kaffee Ingwer

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Finally, for our last meal in Berlin on Sunday morning we gave the nearby Kaffee Ingwer (literally: Ginger Café) a go. It was very cute, very small and bright and the staff was friendly. They didn’t have quite as many options as I expected (they didn’t have a smoothie bowl that day), but all the options are vegan and they had everything from smoothies and lattes to croissants and cakes. I’d definitely pop in again if I was in the neighborhood (maybe for a cake and latte), but would try out something new for breakfast if I was in Berlin again.

Finally, one further highlight I’d like to share with you is the:

Veganz Supermarket:

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We came across this by accident, as we walked to dinner on the Friday night, and I was beyond excited! A FULLY-VEGAN-SUPERMARKET! And not just one of those tiny shops where you can barely move and feel awkward if you spend too long picking everything up while only buying a protein bar – a proper, decently-sized shop starting with the open fruit and veg section and then leading onto almost everything you could possibly want: from the requisite nut butters and sweet and savory treats to all kinds of vegan replacement foods (such as vegan cheezes, meat alternatives, vegan “caviar”, special seasoning for scrambled tofu, readymade pizza). They also had a section with vegan toothpastes, body, skin and haircare products, cosmetics etc. I definitely restrained myself and went for only a few old favorites (some products I already knew from the UK, such as the loveraw nut butter cups and Engevita nutritional yeast) and a few new products (vegan “chorizo”, kala namak salt, cream for whipping etc.). Having such a shop in Zurich would be the dream – hopefully, places like this are the future we’re heading towards, as the demand for plant-based options increase.

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I left Berlin with a weekend-full of memories and half a suitcase full of vegan goodies (obsessed with the Rookies – wish I had more!). On a non-food note, I discovered an organic vegan skincare brand: Bio Végane Skinfood. I’m loving the smell of the açai serum and green tea face wash and the feel of the açai cream and baobab anti-pollution and blue-light-blocking spray!

That’s all from this trip. I hope you enjoyed reading. Let me know if you try any of these places or have further must-visits!

Celine

* For London check out my Ultimate Guide as well as Part II, Part III and Part IV.

 

London Vegan Guide (continued III)

Hello and happy Sunday!

After an extended weekend in London, I’m back with another post about awesome plant-based food in London. If you’ve missed my previous posts on vegan eating in London, feel free to check these out too:

As all my trips back to London, this one included catch-ups with friends over as much delicious vegan food as possible. I always have fun trying to fit in as many new places as possible, although there are always favorites I could go back to again and again.

Here are some further places I can warmly recommend:

The Blacksmith and the Toffeemaker

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How much more British can you get than a pub with a quirky name? This newly vegan pub near Angel has a special place in my heart, as I used to live 5 minutes away from it. I can’t tell you how many times I walked past it, and how gladly I would have stopped by for some vegan pub grub! (Probably this way turned out better for my wallet and waistline 😉 ).

All the items on the menu sound so tempting, from the “halloumi” kimchi burger and “mozzarella” sticks to the EPIC Green Mac N “Cheese” & Marinara Sauce Grilled “Cheese” Sandwich – this is serious comfort food! I absolutely fell in love with that sandwich and the bread (they get it fresh from a bakery) was so satisfying. I also tried the polenta fries, which were nice and crispy on the outside and soft (but just a tad bland) on the inside. Not exactly health food, but on the other hand it wasn’t very greasy and didn’t leave me feeling gross after. I definitely recommend! Maybe also stay for a pub quiz sometime? 😉

 

The Canvas Cafe 

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I found out about this cute little all-vegan place off of Brick Lane because of its freakshakes, and I’m so glad I fit it in my “schedule”. I’d just had an amazing vegan burger for lunch (next recommendation) and was feeling pretty full, not gonna lie, but I knew I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. I had the option of raspberry or blueberry (no surprise which one I went for), and was told the shakes are made of bananas, frozen fruit and a bit of sugar and topped with a brownie. This was quite a pleasant surprise, as I’d assumed they’d mostly be made from some sort of super-processed vegan ice cream. The smoothie tasted quite wholesome, not overly sweet, and the fudgy brownie really was the perfect cherry on top! The only regrets I have is being to full to have any of an insane-looking chocolate fudge layer cake (that we all agreed looked like the one Bruce Bogtrotter from Roald Dahl’s Matilda was forced to eat).

We sat outside in the little backyard and soaked up some sun. I found it a really cheerful place with friendly staff and amazing things on display – a great place to also just grab a coffee and little bite of something sweet. Another one I’d go back to again.

 

The Vurger Co

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Ok, now this isn’t technically new, as I’ve had these delicious plant-based burgers in the past from pop-ups and Wilderness festival, but this was my first time at the permanent location in Shoreditch that opened recently. There are four soul-satisfying burgers on the menu, although I’ve only ever tried one (it’s that good): the MLT ❤  This is a mushroom, borlotti bean and parsley patty with tomato, rocket, ketchup, cheeze and the best sundried tomato and walnut pesto and is IN-credible. I practically forced my carnivorous friend to try one and she admitted it was pretty darn good. They also serve fries (sweet potato and regular) as well as mac n cheese and coleslaw. If you’re craving something sweet, there is Miiro ice cream and housemade shakes – including an oreo one! If I hadn’t planned on having a freakshake after (see above), I would definitely have given this a try – maybe next time 😉

 

Yeotown Kitchen

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Ok, before you think this post is only about vegan “junk” food (which, I’ll admit, it kind of is) let me introduce you to a more nutritious place. Yeotown Kitchen in Marylebone is not vegan, but serves many vegan options in a relaxed environment. My friend and I went for breakfast, for which I had matcha pancakes (gluten-free) with banana, toasted walnuts, maple syrup, coconut yogurt and blueberries – divine! I also tried a pine pollen latte, which had a really mild, comforting flavor. The list of savory dishes also sounded super tempting – like the Power Poke Bowl (Hawaian style BBQ jackfruit, glazed aubergine, avocado, edamame, coriander roasted corn, cucumber, marinated seaweed, radish, shaved cabbage, nigella tomato and rocket with vegan poke turmeric dressing), lemon hummus and roasted vegetable sourdough panini or the vegan lentil burger.

This place not only nourishes your body, but also your mind, with its meditation pods on the lower floor. Here you can chill out after your meal and listen to guided meditation – how cool is that?

 

By Chloe

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This originally American restaurant/diner chain has finally come to London and of course I had to try it. (There is one in Covent Garden and one opening at Tower Bridge).

I’d heard good things about its burgers and mac n cheese, but I was honestly just too full from my burger and freakshake to verify these claims. Luckily they also have salads, so I got the Detox Kale salad from the grab-and-go section. It was just what I needed, but probably the least exciting thing on the menu, so I’d definitely recommend giving their signature dishes a go. My friend really liked his burger, and we both agreed that they had the best sweet potato fries ever!

 

Rudy’s Dirty Vegan Diner

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Ok, more fast food – I couldn’t help giving this place in Camden a try, as we just don’t get vegan food like this in Switzerland! My friend (check her out for more vegan food recommendations in London: @brixtonfoodfiend) and I went all out, ordering a hot dog, corn dogs, mac n cheese, the meat ball sub (their current special) and fries – a true vegan fast food feast! Although not something I’d generally be super tempted to try, the meat ball sub was SUPERB. The combo of (I’m guessing jackfruit-based) “meat”-balls on a soft roll with a delicious, flavorsome sauce and “parmesan” was just the dream – as were the fries. I can’t explain how good this was! My friend wasn’t too blown away by the hot dog, but those corn dogs were definitely something! (She also really enjoyed the mac n cheese, but personally I’d 100% say go to Wulf and Lamb for that cheesy pasta fix – trust me). This is definitely the place for some dirty vegan grub, and perfect for showing your skeptical friends how indulgent and unhealthy vegan food can be 😀

 

Pitch Coffee (at Dog House Fitness, Balham)

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On Sunday, my friend (@_lifeofleila) and I decided to go sweat it out in a boxing class at Dog House Fitness – and boy did we do that! This cardio-intense HIIT-style boxing class was an absolute killer, so we were in need of some serious refuelling after. Luckily there is a cute little health-food joint within the gym, where we were able to treat ourself to something nourishing and refreshing. I had an açai bowl with an iced oat mylk matcha – the perfect post-workout breakfast that wasn’t so filling as to ruin my appetite for burgers later 😉

The coffee shop is really relaxed and I can also recommend the gym itself (they do box, spin or stretch classes).

 

Crosstown Doughnut Cafe

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While, again, not technically new (I used to get the odd Crosstown donut at Leather Lane Market on a Friday, if the vegan ones weren’t already sold out), Crosstown recently opened a cafe with only vegan donuts, close to Selfridges. I went here for a relaxed breakfast on my last morning in London and enjoyed the peanut butter one with blackcurrant jam (the best bit was biting into the jammy center and having that epic PB&J flavor combo). I had my donut with some ginger-ginseng-lime tea from ZigZag, which was wonderful – I definitely need to stock up on some the next time I’m in the UK.

It was the perfect satisfying yet slightly naughty breakfast – and I really enjoyed chatting with the woman working there, exchanging recommendations for vegan food (her favorite is the Black Cat Cafe in Hackney – on my list!) and hearing about the local companies, such as ZigZag and Jarr Kombucha, that they work with.

Other places I went to that are in my previous recommendations are: Raw Press Co. (where I had a delicious PB&J smoothie bowl and pitaya rose latte, and picked up a healthy takeaway for the airport), Planet Organic (for a rainbow bowl, Moju Acerola shot and a cookie to eat in a park) and Whole Foods (still obsessed with their tofu!).

That’s it for this time – stay tuned for further recommendations, both in Zurich, Switzerland and back in London sometime in the hopefully-not-too-distant future.

Have a lovely evening!

Celine

 

Vegan Food in Salzburg

Hello and happy Sunday!

Last week my boyfriend and I made the most of a long weekend and took the train to Salzburg. We spent two nights in the beautiful Austrian city that is the birthplace of Mozart and the backdrop to some of my favorite scenes from The Sound of Music (I couldn’t help breaking into song until my boyfriend – who hasn’t seen the movie – was able to sing along too 😀 ).

True to my foodie nature, I picked out some vegan-friendly places I wanted to check out. Gabriel, my boyfriend, doesn’t even pretend to try and influence our choice of restaurant anymore – he simply asks me where we should go, and when one place was unexpectedly closed [to say I was disappointed to miss out on vegan Wiener Schnitzel and Knödel at Restaurant Milton is an understatement] he immediately asked me what else I knew (and yes, I did have a backup).

We weren’t there long, but I think we definitely made the most of the vegan foodie scene in between enjoying the cultural offerings of Salzburg. If you ever visit this city – which I definitely recommend for a short city break – you should seriously consider checking out these places:

The Green Garden

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This vegetarian place has a young and fresh vibe with quirky plants hanging down from the ceiling inside lampshades. Vegan options are clearly labeled and plentiful enough to ensure indecision. Gabriel went for a wrap while I had the asian buddha bowl – fresh greens, courgetti, avocado, pomegranate, sprouts, radish, seeds, two rice paper vegetable rolls and a delicious dressing – as well as the sweet potato sashimi. The “sashimi” was very intriguing and actually tasted a bit like sushi in combination with the pickled ginger and beetroot wasabi – we both agreed this was stunning. We had to wait a while for our food, as one of the servers had forgotten about one of the dishes, but it was all well worth the wait.

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For dessert we couldn’t resist (ok, mainly couldn’t resist) checking out the Green Garden vegan ice cream parlor right next to the cafe. I had a scoop of blueberry ice cream and a scoop of the best peanut ice cream I’ve ever had! Their ice cream is made with rice, coconut or oat milk and is full of flavor – Gabe enjoyed his more savory-tasting pumpkin seed one.

 

Spicy Spices

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This Indian organic restaurant-and-health food shop is the place to hit up for some good, honest veggie food. Nothing pretentious about it and it seem to operate like a canteen. Our food (dhal with veggies and basmati rice) was brought to us within minutes. They also have a variety of organic teas and juices – my boyfriend went for an unsweetened pomegranate juice, which made him pull a face while drinking 🙂 The guy serving us came several times to see if we were alright and even filled up Gabe’s plate a second time (no extra charge), after asking if he wanted some more.

After our meal I also bought us some Vivani chocolate bars from the store section. If we’d stayed in Salzburg longer I definitely would have come back here again for more Indian comfort food.

 

Heart of Joy Cafe

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This was one of the places I’d chosen for breakfast. I was quite interested by the variety on the menu – from vegan ham to superfood muesli, it caters to a range of vegan desires. I was about to go for porridge, following my boyfriend’s order, but made a snap decision to get one of the chocolate cupcakes displayed along with raw vegan cheesecakes and other goodies – a decision I certainly did not regret. It was wonderfully chocolatey and not sickly sweet – perfect with my oat mylk matcha latte, which was better than any of the recent ones I’ve had in Switzerland. Gabe was happy with his fruit-laden porridge, but had to adopt a competitive attitude to finish the whole thing (it was a very generous serving!).

I was also excited to see they sold my favorite Primal Pantry protein bars (I was addicted to these back in London). I couldn’t resist getting a cacao brownie one for snacking on at Hellbrunn Palace later that day.

 

Organic Pizza

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This place was not originally on my must-eat-at list, but I suggested it after we saw that Restaurant Milton was closed. While it by no means offered us the novelty of eating vegan Austrian food, it was a very satisfying meal all the same. They have a pizza menu with a section for vegan pizzas and offer regular or spelt and flax dough (which I went for – the lower one in the photo). The only minus points this place gets is due to the fact that it was understaffed – the poor guys working there barely had time to come over and let us pay, and had to clean cutlery by hand as they had run out. Definitely a good sign though, if a small pizza place like that is packed.

 

GustaV

 

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Last but by no means least: our last meal in Salzburg was breakfast at fully plant-based cafe GustaV. Overeagerly arriving 15 minutes before it opened (9 am on Saturday), we soaked up some sun at one of the tables outside while studying the menu. When I saw french toast, the path ahead was clear – while vegan pancakes are (thankfully!) becoming more common, vegan french toast is still somewhat of a rare find. Gabe ordered the muesli with a beetroot latte, which he waited to try until everything was set out and photos had been taken (I’m very impressed by how he’s gone from eye-rolling to actually taking my food photography somewhat seriously). I had a delicious oat mylk hot chocolate with my epic french toast that was topped with banana, apple, orange and maple syrup. Apparently they make a batter using lupin flour and water, then pan-fry the toasts. Definitely one to try at home kids 😉

Judging from the menu this is also a nice place to go for a light lunch – sandwiches, soups, salads and cake etc. I would have loved to try more here.

After GustaV’s we headed to the station and from there took the train to Innsbruck, where we spent a few hours wandering around the old town. The little health food places that I’d wanted to eat at were sadly closed, so we ended up going to Ludwig’s which is a burger joint with locations in both Innsbruck and Salzburg. We both had the vegan burger and sweet potato fries, which were nice, but not something I’d go especially out of my way to have. Back in Salzburg there is another burger place offering a vegan burger (Bio Burger Meister) which we passed, but didn’t try.

That’s it for this trip – as you can see, I really did try to make the most of every meal 😉 And I have to say, I found the options for plant-based eating in Salzburg very impressive.

I hope you enjoyed reading, and please let me know if you have any other recommendations for Salzburg!

xoxo

 

Plant-Based Eating – Zurich, Part II

Hello and happy Monday!

I’m finally back with some more plant-based food recommendations.

Work and moving has meant less time and energy for hobbies. But eating as much good plant-based food as possible is still very much a passion, so here are some more recommendations for vegan food in Zurich (for the first part of this series check out this post).

 

For every daySimply Soup

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This has become one of my favorite go-to’s for a quick & healthy lunch during the week. Their aim of making ‘delicious but healthy fast food available to everyone, everywhere at any time!‘ and their belief in fresh, seasonal andhomemade food definitely comes across in their dishes. Besides the obvious option of soup (always including a vegan choice, such as ‘lentil green-curry’ or ‘indian dhal saba’) they have salads, sandwiches and – the main attraction for me so far – their buddha-bowl style bowls. Currently they have a ‘Crunchy Kale Quinoa Bowl’ that I haven’t yet tried, as I’m too obsessed with the ‘Asian Soba Noodle Bowl’ (soba noodles, edamame, mango, avocado, carrots, broccoli, sesame seeds and a wonderfully flavorful sweet tahini dressing). They also sell delicious sweet snacks by Joeli’s (@hellojoelis) in cute little tubs: Raw Brownie Bites, Coco Kisses and Cacao Energy Balls (super yummy and they went down well with my work colleagues).

I like the bright interior, the positive and healthy vibe and the fact that Simply Soup is active on social media so you can always see what’s going on and what new items they have

Locations: There is one near the tram station Kalkbreite/Wiedikon (Kalkbreitestrasse 10), one near Stauffacher (Hallwylstrasse 24) and the most central one at Pelikanstrasse 19 (haven’t been to that one yet).

 

For special occasionsMarktküche

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For vegan haute cuisine/fine dining this place is a MUST! All-vegan and all out amazing, this place is worth the hefty price tag. I took my boyfriend here to celebrate getting the job I wanted, and we were in heaven eating 5 courses of beautifully arranged dishes that were absolutely bursting with creativity and flavor. The service reflected the high quality of the place and added to our experience. If you’re visiting Zurich or have something to celebrate definitely make a reservation and let yourself be delighted by the amazing combinations of tastes and textures. (On the last Friday of every month they’re also open for lunch).

Location: Feldstrasse 98 (near Bäckeranlage)

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Vegan buffetVegelateria (The Sacred)

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I first found out about this fully vegan eatery and gelateria (!) via my HappyCow App, but only ended up going when one of my work colleagues mentioned it recently. Once there I kicked myself for not going earlier – this place is like a less stylish version of trendy vegetarian eatery Hiltl, but more exciting. The buffet is fully vegan and, while smaller than the one at Hiltl, has all kinds of interesting dishes (once you’ve been to Hiltl a few times, you tend to recognize most things). I was in heaven walking around, deciding which items to pick and piling a bit of everything on my plate. A serious highlight was also the chocolate truffle I got for dessert – the most satisfying chocolately experience I can remember. There are also cheesecakes and all kinds of other sweet treats, not to mention a large array of vegan ice creamsthat I can’t wait to try, now that the weather has gotten warmer.

Location: Müllerstrasse 64 (near Helvetiaplatz)

 

Le Cèdre

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If you like Lebanese food, you should definitely give this a go. This place is quite well-known, and I’ve been loving it since before going plant-based. I went there again recently after my graduation ceremony, and was hit again by just how delicious everything is. There are many nice Lebanese places in Zurich, but this is the best in my eyes. My favorite thing is to order vegetarian mezze (most of it vegan, and they’ll tell you which ones are not) to share and then feast on the creamiest hummus, delicious falafel, moutabel etc. Be sure to make a reservation, to be on the safe side.

Locations: one near the tram stop Bellevue (Schifflände 5) and one near the stop Bezirksgebäude (Badenerstrasse 78)

 

Neni 

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Now while Le Cèdre (above) is definitely the place to go to for Lebanese food, I have to mention the delicious (!) hummus and falafels I had at the Neni (within the 25hours hotel Zurich). Some friends and I originally went there because we’d heard they do a great, veggie-friendly brunch. To me the brunch (around CHF 36) looked like a typical European hotel brunch, with Zopf, butter and jam, cheeses and meats, and I would have struggled to get a proper meal in. Luckily we were there just in time for the lunch menu (around 11.30 am), and we all ended up going for hummus and falafels while sharing super satisfying and crispy sweet potato fries. While I’d not specifically recommend it for brunch, the lunch dishes we tried were so delicious and I’d definitely order them again!

Locations: Zürich West (Pfingstweidstrasse 102; near the Toni-Areal) and Langstrasse 150

 

Vegan PizzaAvanti

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This (from the outside) not extremely impressive-looking Italian joint was a completely accidental discovery. When I was driving into Zurich to bring more of my things to my new place, we took a wrong turn. Somewhat grumpy by that point, my mood immediately changed for the better when I saw the words „vegan pizza“ – all irritation at the traffic and false turns vanished as I delighted at the prospect of a new place to try. I went there on Friday evening around 8 pm and was surprised to see the place completely crowded, with young couples and groups of friends sitting in the tiny dimly-lit restaurant, the TV on in the background, and a queue of people ordering takeaway while an authentically rotund, Italian-looking guy was preparing pizza after pizza. I was so impressed that this (non-vegan) Italian place had specifically designated vegan options. I went for a vegan vegetable pizza (they use a soy-based cheese) and enjoyed every bite. While no Pickywops or Fed by Watersensation you can get in London, this is definitely the place to hit up in Zurich for pizza cravings – both vegan and regular.

Location: Stationsstrasse 1 (near Kalkbreite/Wiedikon)

 

That’s it for part II of my Zurich recommendations – as vegan options are becoming more and more widespread here, I’m sure I’ll be back with another part in the not-too-distant future

Have a lovely evening and a great start to the week!

Celine

xoxo

Banana Breakfast Bars

Hello and happy Saturday evening!

It’s my first weekend in my new place and of course I couldn’t wait to test out my new oven 😉

As part of an ongoing collaboration with health food company Iswari (if you’re not in Switzerland, check them out here) I’ve been trying some more tasty products, one of which inspired me to make these delicious and nutritious breakfast bars.

The “Super Oats Banana Bliss” (Gekeimter Hafer Banane & Kakao in German) is made up of gluten-free raw sprouted oats, ground buckwheat, powdered lucuma, banana powder, ground almonds, cacao beans, activated buckwheat and blackberries and is such a tasty mix! I love that it’s only made from wholesome ingredients and is packed with so much flavor and nutrition. You can also add liquid to it and create an instant porridge.

Variation: If you can’t get your hands on this product, the recipe should also work with the same amount of dry ingredients, such as a mix of ground and whole oats, buckwheat flour, ground almonds, lucuma etc, but may not have quite the same depth of flavor. I’ll probably experiment with this when I run out (which is bound to happen very soon), so I’ll keep you updated 😉

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Makes: 9 small bars

Ingredients:

  • 200 g Super Oats Banana Bliss* (/for non-Swiss residents: see here)
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 100 g soft dates, mashed or blended
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 heaped tbsp tahini
  • generous pinch of cinnamon

* If you’re thinking of ordering this and live in Switzerland you can get 5% off (as well as on any other Iswari products) with the discount code “blueberrysmiles”. [I get a small commission on any orders placed with this code. I only promote brands and products that I genuinely love and would recommend to friends]. 

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together (if your dates are soft enough, you can just mash them in, meaning you only need to use one bowl).
  2. Spread the mixture into a loaf tin lined with baking paper (it won’t fill the whole one, but that’s fine as the mixture is firm) and bake in an oven preheated to 180 °C for ca. 15 minutes. Depending on the thickness, the oven time may vary – you’re looking for the bake to spring back when you touch it.
  3. Leave to cool for a bit before removing from the tin and cutting into bars.

Tip: they’re even better with some tahini slathered on top 😉

Enjoy!

xoxo

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Buddha Mug Cake

Hello and happy Monday evening!

I’m back to share a new recipe with you that I’ve come up with as part of a collaboration with the health food company Iswari (if you don’t live in Switzerland, check out their international page instead). I only recently found out about them, but immediately fell in love with their product range, and was only too happy to try some of their goodies.

This weekend I got myself acquainted with their “Buddha’s Awakening Morning Protein“, made of 100% organic milled buckwheat, rice protein, banana powder, tiger nut flour, milled flaxseed, carob and activated buckwheat, and boy was I in for an awakening! As much as I liked the sound of the ingredients, I wasn’t prepared for how much I would love the taste of this nutritious combination.

It’s hard to describe, but the banana, tiger nut and carob give this mix such a wonderful, naturally sweet and also warm and slightly exotic yet incredibly comforting flavor. I decided to make the ultimate comforting treat out of this, by turning it into a mug cake. This is a super easy recipe for a protein-rich breakfast, post-workout snack or afternoon treat. I hope you enjoy!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-sized ripe banana
  • 5 tbsp “Buddha’s Awakening Morning Protein
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3.5 tbsp unsweetened rice milk (or almond/oat etc.)
  • 1 tbsp smooth, slightly runny peanut butter

Method:

  1. Mash the banana and combine with all the other ingredients.
  2. Pour the batter into a cup. The trick here is not to overfill, as this baby will rise! For me this makes enough for about 1 small coffee cup and 1 small espresso cup, or simply one larger cup. The important thing is that the cake has space to rise above the rim (without overflowing and resulting in a funny mushroom shape).
  3. Cook in the microwave at high heat for ca. 1.5 to 2 minutes (times may vary depending on your microwave and your preferences – I like to have mine a little bit under-baked, so that it’s nice and gooey inside 😉 ).
  4. Optional: add yummy toppings – I’ve been having mine with dark chocolate (I loved this lucuma vanilla chocolate, also by Iswari) and more peanut butter, but berries or jam will work well too.

 

Happy Mug Cake Making!

Celine

xoxo

Version 2

Plant-Based Eating – Zurich, Part I

Good morning and happy Saturday!

This post is way overdue – It’s been a bit over 4 months since I’ve moved back to Switzerland, and I’ve had some great plant-based food I want to share with you! I’ll be doing this in several parts, with this one focusing just on Zurich – the largest city in Switzerland. (Check out Part II here).

Juicery 21

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I first tried this place when I came home the Christmas before last, and I absolutely loved it. It’s probably one of my favorite health food spots in Switzerland, as it serves delicious and creamy açai bowls (tip: ask for some peanut butter on top!), super comforting bowls of porridge (love the mango and passionfruit one) that you can get topped up with extra almond milk and really nice hot chocolate. They also have juices and some savory options like bagels and a quinoa bowl, but I always go for a breakfast-y option. Add to this the generous portions, reasonable prices and relaxed vibe, you have no reason not to go here on your next visit to Zurich 😉

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Roots & Friends

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This place had just opened before I moved to London, and it was the first fully plant-based restaurant I’d been to in Switzerland. They serve fresh, nourishing bowls and also do a good açai bowl (Juicery’s is my #1 favorite though). Besides the location near Zurich main station you can also find them close to Paradeplatz, as part of Balboa Bar & Gym (really awesome HIIT/strength classes!). The Balboa location also does a weekly Sunday brunch (for CHF 35, last time I checked).

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Hiltl

I already did a full blog post on the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Europe, so check that out if you want to know more. This place is veggie paradise, with all kinds of fantastic options, warm and cold. Every dish is clearly labeled, and most things are vegan (there are only some with dairy). I definitely recommend piling up your plate at the buffet, but there’s also a menu you can order from instead. There are several locations throughout Zurich and the original one (Sihlstrasse 28) also has the Hiltl Shop (see below) around the corner, where you can shop for Hiltl brand goodies, order a matcha latte or pick something up from the veggie butcher’s section 😉 (They also sell some UK goodies, like Trek and nakd bars, Rude Health mylks as well as great quality vegan chocolates from Naturkostbar and Löwdelights).

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Tibits

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Tibits is another awesome veggie place – very similar to Hiltl, to which it belongs, but buffet-only. If you have to choose between them, I’d definitely go for Hiltl, as the options are just that little bit better in my opinion, but a meal at Tibits is always a treat. There are quite a few Tibits throughout Switzerland (St Gallen, Basel, Lucerne, Winterthur), plus, as you may know if you live there, there are also two in London (one off Regent Street and a new one on Southwark Street, near the Tate Modern). They also do nice drinks, my most recent try being the rooibos cappuccino, which I can only recommend!

 

Elle ‘n’ Belle 

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This fully vegan restaurant is one of my favorite places I’ve been to here, which is why I’m so sad that it’s closing soon! If you have the chance you definitely should take it – the place has a really fun and relaxed rock ‘n’ roll vibe (try to bag the comfy armchairs by the window front) and both times I’ve been there I’ve loved every bite. I first went with my boyfriend for some burgers (his – the Manson Burger – was the best!) and another time I had “Vish” fingers (tasted like the real thing) with pumpkin mash and creamy spinach. So so good.

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Vegan Velo

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This little joint is located in the Seefeld area, near the lake, and will deliver any food you order before 10 am to you by bike. I once stopped by for the ‘cactus burrito’, which was yummy (and very spicy!!), but a bit small. Maybe it’s because I’d just come from a workout, but I could have eaten three of those things! Nevertheless, I’d definitely try more of their food – maybe I’ll order some to work sometime.

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Beetnut 

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This plant-based place offers healthy options, most of which are vegan (it’s possible to add things like eggs or cheese). I have slightly mixed feelings about this place, as my first two visits there left me feeling quite disappointed. I definitely do not recommend the açai bowl (go to Juicery 21 instead – cheaper and so much better!), which was watery and almost tasteless, and the “power bread” was nothing special. Why am I including this place here? I recently went back to try one of their savory bowls, and I absolutely loved it! ‘Khaled’s Favorite‘ is a bowl of quinoa, kale, aubergine, cauliflower, chickpeas, avocado, pomegranate, fresh mint, slivered almonds and lime – so delicious! I was initially a bit irritated by the fact that the white hummus sauce is not vegan (it contains yogurt), but the incredible tomato balsamic dressing completely made up for this. Conclusion: I’d go back for Khaled’s Favorite, and try other savory bowls – for breakfast options I’d go elsewhere.

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Gärtnerei

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This place focuses on fresh, nourishing ingredients and, while not fully plant-based, does offer vegan options. I’ve had their smoked tofu burger (with hummus and in a wholewheat bun) and, more recently, the ‘Fall by Fanny‘ bowl (black rice, pumpkin, carrots, purple cabbage, marinated tofu, fresh figs and mixed seeds), created by food blogger Fanny the foodie. It was a dream! Gärtnerei has several locations around Zurich as well as some stores.

 

Cupcake Affair 

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This cute little place is not vegan, however, there is a vegan cupcake every Tuesday as well as a daily vegan mini cupcake. When I was there I had a matcha cupcake (yummy, but could have had a stronger matcha taste) and a delicious soy milk matcha latte. It’s definitely a nice little place to warm up in and have a little treat. Other locations are: Aarau, Berne and Basel. Speaking of cupcakes, Michelle’s cupcakes has vegan ones every day – I haven’t been yet, but it’s definitely on my list!

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That’s it for today – I hope you enjoyed reading, and please let me know what you think of these places, and if you have any recommendations of your own!

Have a lovely weekend!

xoxo

P.S. For more information on vegan options around Zurich, definitely check out @vegansofzuri 🙂

 

 

 

Dubai Holiday – Food Spots

Hello and happy Friday!

I was in Dubai recently for a relaxing beach holiday with my sister. We had an amazing time soaking up the sun and stunning views, exploring some of Downtown Dubai and eating good food. It’s an incredible place and I’d love to go back again to discover more!

While we spent most of the time at the beach, enjoying the warmth and working on our tan (a wishful endeavor in my case – still pale), I do have a few recommendations I’d like to share with you.

Fairmont the Palm

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First off, the hotel we stayed at was truly amazing. Fairmont the Palm is perfectly situated on the stem of the Palm Jumeirah, providing incredible views of the city. In terms of the food I honestly wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’d inquired ahead of time about vegan options and had been assured that wouldn’t be a problem. And indeed, I was spoiled for choice at the Flow Kitchen buffet – from the creamiest hummus, moutabel (eggplant dip) and my favorite ‘burghul bi banadoura‘ (tomato bulgur) to cold soba noodle salad, veggie sushi, fresh and cooked vegetables, sweet potato mash and tofu curry, there were all kinds of wonderful things. Most of our meals were at the hotel, but we never got tired of them, as there were always new options alongside some yummy staples (hummus all day every day 😉 ). Breakfast left me with slightly less choice than my sister, but the choice I did have was delicious. I always went for the same: fresh fruit with amazing homemade granola topped with berry compote, nuts and soy milk. (I’d sometimes have some whole wheat toast and jam after). The only caveat is that vegan options are not specifically labeled, but, for me, there were enough obviously plant-based dishes so that I didn’t have to inquire about everything.

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The hotel also has other places to eat, our favorite being Little Miss India – an Indian (no surprise there) restaurant with a wonderfully eclectic feel to it. The staff immediately asked about intolerances/special dietary requirements, and were quick to help me find dairy-free options. Both times there I went for turmeric & ginger cauliflower with saffron rice, which I’d have again and again! Absolutely incredible flavor.

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Common Grounds

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This cute little place in the Mall of the Emirates has lots of lovely options – not all vegan, but they do have really nice breakfast things (including buckwheat pancakes), as well as an all-day açai bowl and lattes – my kind of place 😉 It also feels quite relaxed and bright.

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Super Natural Kitchen

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We almost didn’t find this place, as it wasn’t listed in the Dubai Mall directory – but that’s only because it’s located in the Galleries Lafayette (2nd floor). This little raw vegan place is an absolute gem! Just looking at the menu filled me with joy.  I went for the banana pancakes, açai bowl and matcha frappe – all of which I totally recommend! The only thing I didn’t quite like was the açai bowl topping (basically just a lot of pistachios and other nuts, versus granola). Definitely one not to miss in my opinion!

That’s it for this trip – I’d love to go back someday and try more of what Dubai has to offer!

Have a great weekend 🙂

xoxo

 

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London Vegan Guide (continued II)

Hello and happy Friday!

Time is flying, Christmas is nearing, and I still haven’t uploaded a post about my most recent trip to London from earlier this month! So, without further ado, let me share some of the food spots where I had delicious plant-based meals while catching up with friends.

Wulf and Lamb

 

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This fully vegan restaurant near Sloane Square is an exciting new addition to the London vegan scene, and a must-visit in my eyes. They serve breakfast (including a unique scramble made of “ackee” – a fruit notably used in Jamaican cuisine) lunch & dinner and desserts, including amazing looking cupcakes by Rubys of London). I went there for lunch, and I strongly (!) recommend getting the Wulf Burger (made with seitan and comes in a dreamy brioche bun with cashew aioli, sauerkraut and perfect potato wedges) AND (trust me!) a side of mac & cheese. This was honestly one of the best meals out I’ve had in a long time. Tip: go sit upstairs – it’s much nicer!

 

Farm Girl Cafe (1 Carnaby Street)

 

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While Farm Girl Cafe is not a new one for me (it’s in my Ultimate London vegan food guide), this was my first time going to the recently opened one inside the Carnaby St Sweaty Betty store. The space upstairs is beautiful and has a great vibe. As expected, the food was absolutely delicious. I had the pitaya bowl, which was probably the best I’ve had! Tip: ask for nut butter (they have almond butter) on top if, like me, you’re nut butter obsessed. I also couldn’t resist trying the (blue) Butterfly Matcha, which didn’t actually taste like matcha though. That’s probably because blue matcha apparently isn’t actually green tea, but is made from a flower known as butterfly pea or blue pea. It had a nice, mild taste that reminded me of saffron, but I probably wouldn’t order it again. It was definitely worth it for the novelty of it, but taste-wise I’d rather have a regular old green matcha next time 😉

Mr Bao 

 

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This Taiwanese joint in Peckham is another must! A friend brought it to my attention as they recently added vegan baos to the menu – and who can resist a good steamed bun? Not me, that’s for sure. There is a shiitake mushroom bao and a tofu bao, which was an absolute dream! I tried to eat it as slowly as possible, to savor the wonderful softness of the dough as well as the incredible flavor! We also had some sides, including the delicious sesame spinach (fresh spinach with a fantastic dressing), tenderstem broccoli and sweet potato chips. It was a wonderful meal. Just make sure to book a table in advance!

Yum Chaa Cafe

 

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To fuel my extensive walking around London I had to stop by the Yum Chaa cafe on Berwick St (there are also other locations) for a wonderful almond milk hot chocolate and (warm!) banana bread. This is the same banana bread I had during the yoga & mindfulness workshop of theirs I was kindly invited to a few months ago, and it’s absolutely delicious. Not all the bakes are vegan, but there definitely are some plant-based options, and all the drinks can be made with plant milk. They also have a massive selection of their speciality teas that I definitely recommend checking out. (I talk a bit more about their teas in my Yumchaa Indian Summer Porridge post). I also love the interiors of the cafes – perfect for a catch-up with friends or a little solitary recharge from bustling London 😉

Kaia 

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This asian-pacific-inspired restaurant located in the gorgeous hotel The Ned (near Bank station) has been on my list for a while due to the amazing things on their breakfast menu. The morning I went there the options were somewhat limited, however, as the chef had not turned up that day – no black rice porridge for me! There were some smoothie bowls ready in the take away fridge though, so I wasn’t too disappointed. I had the pitaya smoothie with an oat milk matcha latte – a wonderful start to the day. If you’re at the Ned I also highly recommend Malibu Kitchen for dinner (this is also on my more comprehensive London vegan guide).

Doughnut Time

 

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I came across this little food spot after my banana bread and hot chocolate at Yum Chaa (see above), on my way to lunch at Salad Pride (also in my ultimate guide) and more extensively here).  Walking down Shaftesbury Avenue I spotted donuts, so of course I asked if they happened to have any vegan ones. I did not expect a yes, the whole middle shelf is vegan (!!) and simply had to get one. The ‘Jolly AF’ was an epic chocolate-covered donut with cookie dough on top and tasted like a proper, indulgent, all-out donut. (The Crosstown vegan chocolate truffle one is still my all-time favorite, but I definitely recommend checking out the Doughnut Time ones; they also have awesomely wacky names – Veruca Salt anyone?).

That’s it for this trip – hopefully I’ll be back with more London recommendations in the future 😉

xoxo

 

 

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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