travel

Food Guide to Berlin

There are countless reasons to love Berlin. One of them being the food. Germany might be the home of the sausage but you may be surprised to find out that 10% of the German population is vegetarian or vegan. So on our recent trip to Berlin, we were absolutely spoilt for choice with more than 50 exclusively vegan eateries and most restaurant and cafes offering vegan options. It makes such a difference to be travelling around a city that has such an active vegan culture. In fact, I almost wish we had had more time to eat our way round more of the city. We definitely gave it a good try.  

Here are some of our favourite food discoveries:

Kopps

Kopps is ranked as one of the best fine-dining vegan restaurants globally and it’s not hard to see why. The food is unquestionably amazing - each dish telling a story with depths of flavour heightening with each course. Traditional German dishes fused with creativity and passion. I love their focus on high quality and local produce too. If you’re for something a bit special then definitely head to Kopps.

Soy

I loved this place Soy much. Ya get it? It’s called Soy and I just made a little pun. The food here was amazing – fresh, filling and packed with flavour. They largely use organic ingredients with no added artificial colours, flavours and no MSG! It’s really well priced and I would recommend this place to anyone heading to Berlin. It’s a must!

 

The Bowl

Healthy food heaven. The Bowl is a really nice addition to the city's vegan restaurant scene. It is completely vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free and serves...well, bowls. I had a Buddha Bowl and it was packed with so much organic plant-based goodness. Kimchi, tempeh, beansprouts, quinoa… it felt like Christmas come early. Hearty and wholesome portions with so many incredible flavours. Plus it’s just above Veganz (vegan supermarket) so you can fuel up on goodness after shopping around downstairs.

Voner

Not such a health food spot but goodness me is it tasty. Vegan kebabs made with a mixture of seitan, vegetables and spices; you can get the Voner kebab stuffed inside a wrap of a fluffy pitta bread. I was extremely hungry and we ordered one to share and when it came round to it, turns out I didn’t want to share.

 

So if you are worried that you might be stuck for where to eat in Berlin, never fear, there are so many brilliant food spots that you will find it hard to choose!

Food Guide to Krakow

For a country with a cuisine that is known for being very meat-heavy and where they seem to cook most of their dishes in lard, it might seem that Krakow would not be the best choice for two vegans. Well, it might come as a surprise but, turns out they love their plants. More and more people are cutting meat out in favour of a healthier lifestyle with so many restaurants and cafes advertising vegan options and a huge amount of high quality vegan food spots all over the city. In fact, Poland has the highest rate of fruit and veg consumption in Europe. Yes Poland. 

Krakow is a beautiful place and there's plenty to see. I'm excited to go back when it's a little bit warmer. It was freezing. Literally. -10C.

So my first port of call whenever I arrive in a new country is Happy Cow. It is a life-saver for any vegetarian or vegan travelling to a new place. There is always somewhere on Happy Cow no matter where you are! Actually that's a claim that I can't back up because you might be in Antartica so please don't sue me. 

Anyway, here are some food highlights from our trip to Krakow:

Veganic

A beautiful vegetarian restaurant with a great atmosphere. We felt like being a little bit fancy so we took ourselves here and it did not disappoint at all. Great variety of vegan options with familiar favourites, to traditional dishes with some unusual choices in there too. We started off with rosemary polenta chips and for our main course we both had buckwheat pasta with homemade pesto, pine nuts, walnuts, olive oil, avocado, basil and lemon. So. Good. I'd highly recommend this lovely place. It's a little bit more expensive than other food spots but it's definitely worth it! 

Krowarzywa Vegan Burger

Burger place (I was on my holiday so I'm allowed to let my hair down. Happy Em takes priority over Healthy Em sometimes!). There was a great selection of burgers ranging from tofu, seitan, millet and chickpeas, all served in a bun of your choice (gluten-free options available). They use local and seasonal produce and each burger comes packed with a load of veggies. I saw a review before I went here that simply read "THESE ARE THE BEST BURGERS YOU WILL EVER HAVE IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE" and my friend who had been to Krakow last year said the same. I had extremely high expectations. I had the chickpea burger. The burger was chewmongous and packed with so much flavour. We loved it so much we went back again (I never normally do this unless I am completely in love with a place) and I tried the millet one second time round. So yeah, turns out it was pretty spectacular. 

Momo

A relaxed and casual Tibetan fusion cafe with a whole range of options from juices, to salads to traditional Tibetan dumplings called Momos. We had a plate of their signature homemade Momos and tucked into a Dosa Masala. A dosa with all kinds of spices, potatoes, vegetables and a peanut sauce. I could have eaten two. It was great. They don't use any kind of preservatives, additives or anything at all in their cooking and I (obviously) love that. They cater to all kinds of dietary needs and all the food is freshly made on site! Would definitely recommend getting here early if you do fancy a visit though as it gets pretty packed during busy times and service can be quite slow. 

Pod Norenami

An Asian vegetarian restaurant with a really extensive vegan-friendly menu. We got the Vegan Sushi set. Avocado and mushroom nigiri, maki rolls, rolls with guacamole (think they could tell I'm a huge guac fan) and inari. A fifteen piece sushi set wasn't enough to satisfy these two greedy piglets so we ordered the momos too. The whole meal was great. Thinking about that meal is making me pretty hungry right now. 

Luca Cafe

A tiny little spot that does the tastiest juices and sandwiches! We were taking a trip out of the city one day so we ordered a kale hummus and vegetable sandwich to take with us and although our Polish isn't up to scratch they couldn't have been more helpful. So tasty and all freshly made on the day. We also had a homemade seed and nut bar (full of sunflower seeds, nuts, goji berries and cranberries) so it definitely gets the thumbs up from me. 

There was a whole heap of other spots that we wanted to try out and didn't get a chance to but I've heard seriously good things about these spots:

Vegab

Glonojad

Smaki Roslinne

Hamsa

Cafe Mlynek

Lody Si Gela (they do amazing ice cream here apparently. Slightly heartbroken that we never got to try them out but it was full on snowing when we went so didn't feel right when it was -10C outside!)

Also I found a really useful bunch of phrases that might help when you're trying to spot things on a menu:

mieso - meat

ser/serem - cheese

mleko/mlekiem - milk

maslo/maslem - butter

jajka/jajkami - eggs

boczek - bacon

zelatyna - gelatin

All that writing about food has made me so hungry so I'm off to stuff my face and wish I was back in Krakow!

Camphill Cafe and Bakery - Holywood

Holywood is a small, bustling and vibrant town in County Down, Northern Ireland. 

It is not only the hometown of golfing extraordinaire Rory McIlroy and Hollywood (and Holywood) hunk Jamie Dornan, but it is also home to my favourite food spot; Camphill Cafe and Bakery. Of all the healthy spots I've found in all the places I've been to, Camphill remains my firm favourite. 

There are a number of Camphill communities all over the UK and they offer a diverse range of opportunities in which vulnerable children, adolescents and adults, many with learning disabilities, live, learn and work with others. At Camphill Holywood, a number of adults with learning difficulties work in the coffee shop and they bring a real enthusiasm and joy to the place. It really lifts my heart to know that places like Camphill are available for people with learning difficulties to go and be supported in such a safe and encouraging environment.  The principles and ethos that are practised at Camphill are something I really believe in and I can honestly say, it's a truly wonderful place to visit.

As well as playing an important role in the local community, Camphill also offers a wonderful selection of tasty, nourishing organic, vegetarian food that is made fresh every day on the premises. They have a bakery on site which offers hand-crafted, organic and freshly baked bread. The menu changes daily with a variety of exciting seasonal produce being used to make everything from soups to stews to salads. They go out of their way to cater for all kinds of dietary needs and there are plenty of gluten-free, dairy-free and other healthy alternatives on offer. The staff are always warm, friendly and go above and beyond.

 The shop is stocked with hundreds of healthy and nourishing goodies and the organic fresh fruit and vegetables are to die for! 

Camphill is not just about eating better, it's a way of life. 

The website says 'When you visit Camphill Holywood we hope you will be pleasantly surprised; you only came in for a loaf of bread, a cup of coffee or an apple and you leave with a smile!' 

I left with a full stomach, a full heart and I think you could spot my smile all the way from Belfast Lough.

 

For more information on Camphill Holywood, please visit their website:

www.camphillholywood.co.uk

Stockholm - Rosendals trädgård

Whenever I visit a new place I always find a healthy food spot. No matter where I am, I will always hunt one down. I'm pretty much a healthy food detective. Healthy food, I will find you and I will eat you. 

 

On my recent trip to Sweden I found my new favourite healthy eatery in the beautiful city of Stockholm nestled amongst a beautiful garden called Rosendals Trädgård.

Only half an hour's walk away from the city centre, it is the most perfect natural haven hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is most definitely off the beaten path. It took us two hours to walk there from our apartment but it was definitely worth it! We wandered alongside the river enjoying the breeze and shade of the trees before heading on up to Rosendals Garden for a spot of Fika. It's a new word that I have discovered and am trying to drop into any old conversation. I love words and phrases that are almost non-translatable into any other language. One of my favourites is an Indonesian word 'Jayus' which describes a joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh. Or the Japanese concept 'Wabi-Sabi' which is a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay. Deep stuff. Now Fika is a concept in Swedish culture and is the moment you take a break, often with a cup of coffee or tea and find a pastry to pair it with. Being a Brit, I'm used to afternoon tea but for the Swedes, it's all about the fika. 

 

After a lovely stroll around the scenic gardens of Rosendal and Djurgården an afternoon pick-me-up-fika was a must. We were greeted by gardens filled with beautiful colourful flowers and an abundance of fresh green leafy vegetables. Fruit trees adorned the beautiful orchards and little greenhouses were dotted about the gardens filled with herbs. The greenhouse café offers a completely organic menu with biodynamic food and pastries. We sampled freshly baked bread filled with garden grown vegetables, brownies and pastries. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. It definitely sorted out our fika-fix. 

 

There is also a shop selling all kinds of wonderful things from jam to vegetables to freshly-baked bread and flowers (which you go and hand pick yourself in the garden). There is nothing quite like the smell of flowers and freshly baked bread!

If you ever find yourself in Stockholm and fancy a moment to catch your breath then head on over to Rosendal. It's the ideal spot for a lazy summer afternoon to relax under the shade of the apple trees in the orchard. A true hidden gem! 

Travel Summer Essentials!

Oh summer, you beautiful thing you!

The long summer evenings, fresh lunches and soaking up that Vitamin D.

I've put together some of my favourite summer essentials to make things easy for you if you're jumping on a plane and heading abroad to enjoy sunnier skies!

However, arriving at your holiday destination feeling exhausted and full of gross plane food is not a good start to your holiday. A little preparation goes a long way so here are some of my favourite travel essentials to making sure you arrive feeling ready for relaxation!

Get cooking!

I always try to pack food with me so I know that I've got a big load of goodness with me. I'll usually try to make up some homemade granola, date and nut protein balls, oat cookies or a sweet potato salad. If I don't have time to cook then I'll always try to bring some snacks with me such as Pip and Nut sachets, 

Always try to have a really healthy meal before you fly - a big old smoothie packed with loads of fruit and vegetables and any added superfoods that you can sneak in there is perfect!

Stay hydrated

This is so important anyway but when you're flying, it's even more important. Travel can be stressful sometimes and it can be hard to keep track of how much you're drinking so it's always best to buy a big bottle of water so you can make sure you're getting enough liquid! Avoid alcohol when you're on a plane (yawn I know) but I guarantee you'll feel so much better when you arrive - feeling fresh and ready for your holiday!

Skincare

A small wash bag filled with essential products is perfect for travelling. So many fantastic companies do travel kits, check out Naturisimo for brilliant natural beauty products that you can take on a plane with you. I always decant some coconut oil into a small empty container as a little goes such a long way and coconut oil can be used for lip balm, moisturiser, mouthwash...Everything! Seriously, if anything is going wrong in my life I just drizzle some coconut oil on it and it sorts it out straightaway. 

Food Spots

Finding healthy places to get your smoothie fix can be hard when you're far away from your local haunts. If you're struglging to find a healthy spot to eat then check out www.happycow.net  to find nearby healthy eateries!

My travel kit essentials:

- Food to take with me on the plane and if I have time, snacks to have whilst I'm away such as homemade oat bars or bread. If I have no time to make food myself then I'll pick up some Pip & Nuts nut butter, Biona Rye Bread and Punch Foods Superseeds.

- Travel probiotics

- Empty water bottle

- Favourite teabags (I'll take Green Tea and Chamomile so I have a perfect wake me up as well as something to help me to sleep)

- A small washbag for the plane with lip balm (Burt's Bees coconut is my fav!) and moisturiser (I love Balance Me products)

- Earplugs and eye mask to ensure I get my zzzz! 

So there we go! My summer travel favs. What are yours?

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