Friday, 01 June 2018
Half an hour by local train from Abano Terme or about 40 minutes South of Padua the City of Rovigo (first mentioned about 800 ad) invites for a self-guided stroll or at least a visit to its main sight, the octagonal Church of the Rotonda. City life starts at 15:30 pm, and this is exactly the time when the church opens its door to visitors.
If you arrive earlier Gelateria
Fantasy Accademia comes to the rescue, a 100 percent organic ice-cream parlour.
A serving of ice-cream consists of two flavours, beautifully shaped into a heart, and comes at 2.50 EUR, but you can also have a single flavour on demand at 1.80 EUR. You can also mix a scoop of traditional ice-cream with a scoop of ice-cream mousse (the ricotta mousse -- contrary to the tiramisu one -- is a mouth-watering delight). Another original twist are the vegan ice-cream flavours made with olive oil. The gelateria also sells home-made iced lollies (ghiaccioli), brioches and crepes filled with ice-cream, granite (slushes), and, of course ice-cream cakes.
Fantasy Accademia in fact is the second branch of Fantasy Bio which opened in lieu of a gelateria with a longer history in town but currently is closed due to refurbishment.
For food, fresh and dried, and other daily necessities head for the local branch of the fully organic NaturaSi supermarket chain.
For more organic body care, cosmetics, detergents and other bathroom items there's a small and well-assorted specialist shop in town, EcoSmile on the way from the train station to the city center.
I could not find any organic bar or eatery open during the day, but in the evening you may try
Pizzeria Mucho Gusto. They use organic flour for the pizza dough, and you can choose between four types: wheat, kamut, spelt and multi-grain. They also sell dry organic pasta for your home cooking. Instead of eating out you may phone in for pizza delivery, either here or at their second branch a little out of town which is delivery and take away only.
[Rovigo, biologico, organic, vegan, ice-cream, supermarket, grocery, bodycare, household, pizza]
Wednesday, 30 May 2018
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.
On local websites the owner of Gelateria Alaska, a small whole-in-the-wall shop near Campo Santo was dubbed "king of organic ice-cream in Venice", so I went there to try and ask. While the all-natural ice-cream itself was perfectly palatable he told me that the main ingredients, milk and sugar, were too expensive, but he would occasionally use organic fruit and spices. Unfortunately he couldn't tell me whether any of the flavours on display contained organic ingredients that day.
If you read my post on Rovigo you may be tempted to try Gelato Fantasy in Calle dei Fabbri. DON'T! They are not connected with the Gelateria Fantasy in Rovigo, and they definitely do not use organic ingredients.
Ceased to exist
The following place does no longer exist, though you find still find references on the web:
[Venice, Venezia, organic, ice-cream, coffee, cafe, trainstation]
Tuesday, 29 May 2018
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 Padua 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 a freshly made organic smoothie, or an organic soft drink from the shelf in the backmost corner of the shop. Vegan sandwich options are readily available, the meat items on non-veg versions usually aren't organic. 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, and if you're lucky there's a vegan and 100% organic dinner special during your stay. Advanced booking by phone are required for such an evening.
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. The granite are available in two sizes, for 2.80 or 3.50 EUR.
On bank holidays the shop keeps open as on Sundays.
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 Padua (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.
[Padova, Padua, Selvazzano, Montegalda, organic, biologico, vegan, ice-cream, supermarket, coffee, bakeries, cafe, grocery]
Monday, 28 May 2018
To no surprise Padua has a branch of the
artisanal ice-cream parlour chain
Grom: The Grom in the city center is located
at Piazza dei Signori and serves gorgeous ice-cream flavours made from organic milk, and often (though never guaranteed) more organic ingredients as well as iced lollies (ghiaccioli) 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 smallest portion for 1.80 EUR. For additional 60 cents you can choose the flavour of your wafer cone: plain of course, or perhaps ginger, cinnamon, liquorice...? The (vegan) slush goes here under the name Venetian ghiacciate, and can be had in eight different flavours, small, medium, and large (small for 2.60 EUR, medium for 3.60, large for 5). My coffee ghiacciate 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. Apart from this you can have a freshly pressed fruit juice or a chocolate-coated ghiacciolo.
If you find it difficult to part buy a package of their organic meringues or a small glass of the organic spices they use (like cinnamon, liquorice, curcuma or ginger) for you or as a small gift.
For a change you may also try ICream.it North of Prato della Valle. Their ice-cream is hidden in locked containers instead of openly presented, an important sign for high quality ingredients and no fuzz processing. Flavouring ingredients like basil or matcha often are organic and play the most important part in extremely smooth non-diary ice-creams (I had an intense yet delicate lemon-basil which unfortunately isn't always available). The milk used in the non-vegan flavours is not organic, but feel free to enquire about the origin of the ingredients: When I was there the staff was both friendly and knowlegeable. A single scoop goes for 2 EUR.
[Padua, Padova, biologico, organic, vegan, ice-cream, gifts]
Wednesday, 23 May 2018
A classical spa town on the foot of the Euganean hills (the "Colli Euganei" in Italian), about ten kilometers south-west of Padua, 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 Padua-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.
[Padova, Padua, Abano_Terme, Colli_Euganei, biologico, organic, zero_waste, ice-cream, supermarket, grocery]