The Organic Traveller
Saturday, 01 July 2017

Venice: Organic pizza

The city being more or less a lively and living outdoor museum has one major disadvantage compared with other Italian cities: When it comes to eating out it is difficult to follow the rule: "Follow the natives". Arguably it might be the only place in Italy where spotting tasty, or even reasonable food is a real challenge -- especially when your tastebuds are used to organic food. But things have improved vastly since I first visited Venice.

For a decent lunch or dinner with a romantic view of the Giudecca island try Pizzeria Oke on Fondamento delle Zattere between waterbus stops Zattere and S. Basilio. The place looks quite touristy, with US-nostalgic interior, but in fact it is not just a decent pizzeria using organic kamut flour for the dough and organic veges, but a full-blown restaurant. They serve tasty, local-style food prepared with high quality ingredients. If you like give their seafood dishes a try. Wine lovers should try "Ca' d'Oro", the product of a pleasant organic vineyard in the nearby Colli Euganei hills.

For the informal pizza snack head for Bella&Brava, a 100 percent organic fast food pizzeria. Although you may sit down on a bar stool to have a crispy, tasty pizza and an organic softdrink, beer or filtered tap water they do not own any real dishes, not even a single glass for water. Whether you eat on the spot or order to take away -- your pizza is always served in stylefully designed alveolar cardboard boxes, producing a lot of waste. Although comparatively small it is surprisingly filling since the dough is made from aromatic wholemeal. Apart from the seafood pizza dubbed Venexiana all pizze are vegetarian, and four of the six varieties are vegan. Loves for taste and first class ingredients, the organic soap in the bathroom as well as for the tasteful and clean interior but thumbs down for the throw-away mindset.

2017-07-01 08:00:03 [Venezia, organic, pizza, dinner, lunch, Italian, restaurant, eatery, takeaway] link

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Sunday, 25 June 2017

Venice: Partially organic ice-cream (and organic coffee)

Right after arrival at Venezia Santa Lucia train station, you may arm yourself for the queueing at the waterbus ticket office with a delicious ice-cream, milk-shake or granita from Gelateria Grom fronting the entrance hall towards Canal Grande. They use organic milk, some organic fruit, only natural ingredients and of course no additives, and have in general a eco-conscious agenda. Above all the ice-cream is gorgeous, and a favourite of the locals, too, as can be seen by the increasing number of often crowded Grom branches in Italian cities. For the ice-cream you have to specify a size -- small, medium or large -- and can choose a suitable number of varieties; up to two varieties for the small, and up to three for medium size. For something special (or if you are vegan) try a granita water ice slush (medium or large), especially when espresso granita is available -- it will easily take you through a summer night.

Grom has three more, in fact older branches in Venice, one of them on Campo San Barnaba square. If departing the waterbus at Ca' Rezzonico stop you can't miss it when following the only way into the open of the square and keep an eye on the left side.

If you not just want to have an ice-cream but recharge your phone meanwhile head for cafeteria con gelateria Handay in Cannaregio about five to ten minutes by foot from the train station. Have a flavoured tea or organic coffee or indulge yourself in a small, medium or large cup of all natural frozen yogurt while making use of their free wifi. The place with its artificially generated name is actually a self-service cafe but newcomers are taken good care of by the friendly staff. A small frozen jogurt goes for 3 EUR (and 2 EUR per refill) and has the size of two scoops in other gelaterie. 12 flavours are available, about one third of them vegan. Whipped cream comes for free, toppings cost 1.80 EUR extra, but only the cereal ones are organic. Unfortunately a lot of waste is produced as everything is served in paper cups with plastic spoons.

2017-06-25 12:00:02 [Venice, Venezia, organic, ice-cream, coffee, cafe] link

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This work by trish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For commercial use contact the author.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Selvazzano Dentro and around

Those with a sweet tooth may feel in heaven when coming to the comparatively ugly urban sprawl which comprises the municipality of Selvazzano Dentro south-west of Padova and north of Abano Terme: In the neighbourhoods of San Domenico and Tencarola, devided by the crossing of the river Bacchiglione you will find a confectioner's shop cum bakery, an ice-cream parlour and finally a supermarket serving customers preferring organic food and delights.

When entering the municipality from the west following Via Euganea your first stop should be at a roundabout with an artisanal bakery, Viennese-style cafe cum confectioner's shop where all the main ingredients are organic. At Pasticceria Da Angelo you will find all organic and vegan options clearly marked, and the friendly staff will proudly and often unasked point out what's organic. If you do no feel like a delicate ice-cream or a gorgeous pastry along with an organic coffee drink (with organic soy milk if you prefer) have a tramezzino sandwich or toast together with an organic soft drink from the shelf in the backmost corner of the shop. Vegan sandwich options are readily available. A serving of ice-cream is 1.30 EUR, with each additional scoop for 1.10 EUR. You may also buy a bag of organic cookies to take home.

Not enough ice-cream or arriving after half past nine in the evening? Well, you can be helped. Gelateria Soleluna a few meters east opposite Hotel Piroga uses more than 80 percent organic, and predominantly locally sourced ingredients for their granite, gelati, and ice cakes. A delight not to be missed, the first ice-cream scoop goes for 1.30 EUR, each additional one for 1 EUR. Again, vegan flavours are available, but -- making a difference from Da Angelo -- are restricted to fruit varieties.

Groceries

To fullfill your everyday needs follow Via Euganea in eastern direction, cross both, the bridge over the river, and the street side. Here, on Via Padova (the street changes its name in Tencarola) you'll find a well assorted NaturaSi supermarket where you can get everything organic from fruit and veges over dairy products and vegan alternatives to dry food, natural cosmetics, and more. This would also be the place you had to do most of your organic shopping when living in one of the villages in the vicinity -- your next real options being the NaturaSi in Abano Terme or, naturally, the ones in the city of Padova (e.g. here).

With one notable exception north-west of Selvazzano, in the village of Montegalda half way to Vicenza. Surprisingly it has a small organic grocery, Alimenti biologici Come Una Volta, a few steps north of the gelateria on the central roundabout (which you'd better avoid). Here you find a decent choice of organic dry goods, vegan alternatives and body care, a small fridge with some refreshments, and a handful of seasonal fruit and veges, probably directly from the owner's garden. When cycling or driving through pay a visit to this friendly shop.

2017-06-24 06:00:08 [Padova, Selvazzano, Montegalda, organic, vegan, ice-cream, supermarket, coffee, bakeries, cafe, grocery] link

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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Padova: Organic ice-cream

To no surprise Padova has a branch of the artisanal ice-cream parlour chain Grom: The Grom in the city center of Padova is located at Piazza dei Signori and serves gorgeous ice-cream flavours made from organic milk, and often (though never promised) more organic ingredients as well as iced lollies (ghiaccoli) and natural slushes (granite). They have a second branch in Via Roma.

But it gets even better! About 50 meters east from the Grom at Piazza dei Signori you'll find the city's only fully organic ice-cream parlour, Gelateria Gnam Gnam, and so you can compare the taste of partially and fully organic fare. I was amazed how much delight one can still add when restricting oneself to 100 percent organic ingredients. The ice-cream was extremely delicate, with a lot of surprising flavours such as "cinnamon and ginger" or "pineapple and ginger", about one third of them vegan. The (vegan) slush goes here under the name Venetian ghiaccate, and can be had in eight different flavours, small, medium, and large (the latter for 5 EUR). The coffee ghiaccate was a deliciously melting dream, ways better than the extremely tasty one I had a couple of years ago at a Grom branch in Florence. In addition you can have a frappe or chocolate-coated ghiacciolo. If after this you find it difficult to part buy a package of their organic meringues to take along.

2017-06-20 19:00:03 [Padova, organic, vegan, ice-cream] link

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Saturday, 17 June 2017

Organic Abano Terme

A classical spa town on the foot of the Colli Euganei hills, about ten kilometers south-west of Padova, Abano Terme still oozes of old grandezza. And with an audience interested in health and wellness I'd expected to find more places serving and selling organic food than in other towns of similar size (like nearby Selvazzano Dentro). So in fact this is a somewhat disappointed account on what I found during my half a day long visit -- no restaurants or (Italian) bars, only a spacious supermarket of the NaturaSi chain and a partially organic ice-cream parlour.

The first, a clean and welcoming place, covers all daily necessities, both in terms of eating, drinking, and hygiene, and offers an abundance of unpackaged fruit and greens. There's also a small number of dispensers for rice and pasta to take home in your own containers. Given that on the web the Padova-based organic restaurant Vegetariamoci can still be found under the same address I hoped for a small cafe, but unfortunately the listing is due to the fact that the Vegetariamoci people run the predecessor organic market dubbed "Bio Emporio" in this location. So no organic coffee or sandwich here.

Fortunately the best ice-cream parlour in town is not far. Gelateria Panciera uses predominantly local and partially organic ingredients for its delicious artisanal ice-cream and granite (water ice slush). When I was there it turned out to be a coffee lovers dream: coffee granita, coffee ice-cream and a delicate, off-white coffee-cream variety along with many other vegan and dairy flavours. The granita (apart from coffee they offered lime and grapefruit) had a more solid consistency than in other places, and you can also buy organic tisanes. Unfortunately for the foreign visitor not yet fully adapted to Italian customs this family-run place usually won't open until after the traditional siesta. Be aware that also the organic supermarket usually is closed during the hottest hours of the day.

2017-06-17 21:00:02 [Padova, Abano_Terme, organic, zero_waste, ice-cream, supermarket, grocery] link

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This work by trish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For commercial use contact the author.