Remember in my first post about Florence, when I said our Couch Surfing host, Helena, had a sweet tooth? Yea, well I wasn’t kidding. On our second night, she brought home a huge bag of her favourite vegan treats for us to sample. How generous! She started us off with some cacao e nocciola, chocolate and hazelnut, gelato from the Coop Bene.sì line, which, according to their website, is “a line of products with specific nutritional characteristics, capable of performing a particular function beneficial to the body.” Ice cream that’s good for your body? Sure, I’ll take it.
Italians love their food, and so do tourists visiting Italy. If Florence wasn’t totally jam packed with beautiful outdoor sculptures, buzzing piazzas (squares), river views, famous museums and churches, we would have probably eaten the city out of ice cream and pizza. Despite the welcomed distractions, we managed to make a good dent. Our Couch Surfing host was vegan, and had a real sweet tooth. As soon as we arrived in the city, she directed us to her favourite ice cream parlor, Perche No!. I’m known for choosing soy milk gelato, for the creaminess, but on this rare occasion opted for a scoop of fruity fig and peach, because you just don’t see these flavours everyday. They were fresh, light and oh so satisfying.
Us vegans are always packing snacks when we travel. That’s just what we do. One of my favoruite things to pack, because they’re just so darn easy to store and eat, are vegan bars. I have my favourite brands but am always willing to try new varieties. That’s why I was so excited to receive a sample box of Pure Bars.
It wasn’t until we arrived in Bologna that we realized Italy really is closed in August. Our first hint was when a Couch Surfer wrote to us asking why we were coming in August when everyone is out of town on holidays, tourists fill the streets, and many of the shops and restaurants close their doors for the month. Well, we certainly didn’t plan for it. The reality of the situation came crashing down when we arrived at Stefino Veg, an all vegan ice cream parlor, only to find the door closed and a small sign saying the staff would be on holidays from August 6 to 18.
I answer questions like…
What do you do when you can’t find vegan food? Please give our readers some easy tips for grocery shopping.
Has being vegan ever prevented you from experiencing a particular culture where non-vegan food is a crucial part of the daily life?
What are some of the carry on foods and snacks you pack along during your travels?
In my post about Venice, I mentioned that we didn’t stay in the city but took the train from Padova. The Couch Surfing hosts in Venice are pretty maxed out with requests. Some will host you but in exchange for meeting their crazy demands, like entering into a video taped wrestling match. Seriously. Given this, we were very happy to have found a friendly host in nearby Padova who was eager to show us the city, share home cooked vegan meals, and introduce us to a variety of Italian beverages.
Falafel…in Venice?!? It’s sad, I know. But what else were two budgeting vegans to do? There are no vegetarian restaurants in Venice, a city that feels more like a theme park than a place where people live. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful, if not magical, city and a great place to get lost for a day or two. There are expensive tourist restaurants where we could have found pasta with tomato sauce, pizza without cheese or a salad, but we decided against that route. Instead, we ate breakfast before commuting to Venice from Padova, and returned home for dinner.
Welcome to the October edition of Tips & Trips, a roundup of vegan travel tips and blog posts by vegans who have recently traveled and documented their food finds. If you have some tips or want to submit a link, please contact us.
Vegan Travel Tips
- Many airlines offer specialty meals on long flights but, due to cutbacks, meal options are limited on short trips. I’ve yet to fly with an airline that has a vegan sandwich on their buy-on-board menu. This is why I was super excited to hear about Vegan Pimp‘s experience with Jet Blue. She bought the ShapeUp box, which was full of healthy vegan snacks.
- Babe in Soyland has some ideas for vegan ladies who want to pack smart, and light.
- Do your furry friends come along for family vacations? Check out the It’s a Vegan Dog’s Life blog for a list of their favorite travel products.
- Maria from Vegan World Trekker just launched her first eBook, which has tips for vegan travelers. For another new book that features some travel advice, check out Street Smart Vegan by Jay Wesley Anderson.
- Whether you’re going on a short business trip or visiting friends for the weekend, why not pack your essentials in a stylish and vegan-friendly travel bag? Corrie from Brooklyn Bliss, has created a short list of vegan weekender bags.
- Users of Vegan Diets, a site for questions, answers and information, offered some great advice to a teen who is trying to eat vegan while traveling with her family.
- Are you a vegan with allergies? If yes, I’d recommend reading the latest post by the Discerning Kitchen, which documents the advanced planning required when traveling as a vegan who also avoids soy, corn, gluten and other major allergens.
- If you’re planning to travel somewhere cool (as in temperature), Heather from the Healthy Vegan Recipes blog has some advice on foods you can eat to warm you up while on the road.
Vegan Travel Bloggers
- I shared some stories from Prague earlier this month but didn’t manage to cover all of the city’s veggie options. For more on this city, you can read reviews by Vegtastic and Vegan in Brighton. But don’t stop there! Read about Vegan in Brighton’s adventures in Vienna, Zurich, Luxembourg, Cologne and Berlin.
- Sarah, The Ordinary Vegetarian, also had some recent European eating adventures. This month she wrote about her visit to Spain and Amsterdam, where she found so much awesome vegan food, she had to split up her review into two parts. As if that isn’t exciting enough, she also published a post with tons of photos of the food she enjoyed while in the vegan mecca that is NYC.
- On the United States front, To Happy Vegans visited Portland, Oregon and summarized their finds into two categories: eating out, and eating in. For even more US food, Bitt of Raw has posted about her time spent in Massachusetts, DC and Virginia
- We visited Florence, Italy in August, when everything was closed, including all of the city’s vegan and vegetarian restaurants. Our tips (coming soon) will be limited to food we found at “regular” restaurants but EuroCheap has a great article with a roundup of the best places to find veg-friendly fare in the Florence.
- Speaking of vegan food in Italy, check out some food porn on the Vegan Around the World blog. The photos were taken by Feather, who has been traveling for several months and most recently touring around Italy.
- Christy, The Blissful Chef, has been busy traveling around Asia. She’s been reporting on her trip, and including some notes about vegan food finds in Malaysia, Thailand and Japan.
- The traveling nomads from The Never Ending Voyage blog recently passed through Sucre, Bolivia, where we were earlier this year, and have compiled an off the beaten track tour of Sucre’s vegetarian-friendly (some vegan options) restaurants.
- Polly from Veggywood recently returned from a trip to Asia and posted her first travel recap with lost of pictures and information about her vegan finds in Hong Kong. She’ll be posting more about her trip in coming weeks so stay tuned :)
Earlier this week I wrote about all of the vegan products we were able to find in Prague’s organic shops and health food stores. Today’s post is all about the restaurants. Well, not all of Prague’s veggie restaurants. Just a couple we managed to dine at during our three day visit. Oh, and one ice cream shop, just for good measure.
This guest post was written by Dan Friedman, a guy who lives in New York, misses China, and can order vegan meals in a lot of languages. He also runs More Than Salad, a worldwide directory of vegetarian and vegan restaurants.
I am vegan, and I traveled in China for six months. Such a journey is not without its trials.
Certainly, there are vegetarian restaurants in China. In bigger cities like Shanghai or Beijing, there are many, and out in the sticks or suburbs, you will find one at a Buddhist temple here or there (sometimes a really good one).