The Organic Traveller
Monday, 18 June 2018

Organic Vicenza

Its lively main street, the Corso Palladio dates back to imperial Rome and, still today, is framed by buildings of the arguably most influential medieval architect, Andrea Palladio.

Silene

When feeling hungry while you stroll through the Unesco World Heritage head for spacious, wholesale organic supermarket Silene in a quiet side way a few meters North off Corso Palladio. As you enter you will notice the self-service coffee bar immediately, open for a coffee, healthy drink or snack even before the supermarket opens itself. But there's a real restaurant when you proceed into the building: At the left hand side you'll pass the open kitchen, and arrive at a water tap where you can refill your drinking bottle with both, plain and sparkling water. There you are: more tables to sit down, you will be served.

The small menu offers vegan and vegetarian Italian wholefood, tasty pasta and risotti of course, but also surprising twists as the hearty risotto-style oat porridge with spring vegetables I had, or carrot-based falafel (which I liked less). A refreshing surprise was the alcohol-free "sangria". Unlikely you can have the same, though, as the menu changes according to season and daily availability of fresh ingredients. Needless to say that the coffee was a delight, too, and the staff helpful and friendly. If you're looking for the toilets: They are hidden at the opposite, right wall of the supermarket, and open for guests.

The supermarket itself will provide you with all daily necessities, all types of fresh and dry food as well as organic household chemicals and a superb choice of organic body care. Unlike other groceries it keeps open throughout the day without an afternoon break. There's a second Silene supermarket a little further west, without a day restaurant though.

For a treat of ice-cream follow Corso Andrea Palladio to its Western end and proceed straight ahead, past the Giardini Salvi park to the right. In less shiny neighbourhood San Felice another gem is hidden: Gocce di Bio ("gocce" meaning "drops"), a vegan-friendly fully organic ice-cream parlour. With its modest window front the spot-free place with its fresh-green painted walls is easy to oversee, but unlike other shops it sports a clearly visible organic logo over the entrance. On the premises of a traditional neighbourhood gelateria it's one of the ice-cream and no frills (not even coffee) places you'll rarely find outside Italy serving a mouth-wateringly creamy all-organic delight. Unless you avoid alcohol try the Malaga variety, and you will be cured for all time from that fake yellowy sweet and flavoured stuff with raisins and perhaps low quality alcohol going under this name elsewhere: The Malaga ice-cream here has distinct, melting flavours -- cream, grappa and raisins of highest organic quality, delightfully combined. The smallest serving comes at 2.50 €, with every additional flavour for another 1 EUR.

Ceased to exist

A few years ago the following gelateria served very nice organic ice-cream but unfortunately did not survive:

2018-06-18 03:30:00 [Vicenza, biologico, organic, vegan, ice-cream, coffee, supermarket, grocery, eatery, restaurant, breakfast, lunch] link

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Saturday, 09 June 2018

Padua: Organic restaurants and eateries

Uneasiness with industrial agriculture often starts with the brutal reality of how we treat animals, and consequently eggs and meat often are the first ingredients restaurants use from organic farming. In many cities this means that conscious omnivores have a better chance to find a place to eat than vegetarians or vegans. With Padua this is different: All organic or partially organic restaurants I found within the city boundaries focus on vegetarian courses, and all of them are vegan-friendly.

Biofood For breakfast, coffee, lunch or a small meal until late in the afternoon head for BioFood RistoBar located between Piazza Garibaldi and Piazza dei Frutti. Although the place looks like a self-service eatery it is not. Take a seat, and you will be served salads, pasta, and a few side dishes from the buffet bar inside. Most of it is vegetarian or even vegan, and everything very healthy, though not 100 percent organic. Taste comes from the goodness of the ingredients, there's little seasoning to it. In the morning it is a pleasant place to have breakfast, and later in the afternoon you'll probably want to drop in for an aperitif or an apericena -- a little snack before dinner time. Needless to say that the coffee is good at any time of the day. Organic drinks are clearly marked "bio" on the menu. However, don't be fooled: Although the opening hours at the entrance suggest that the place keeps open on Sundays -- it is most definitely closed this day of the week.

More to try

Unfortunately my time in Padua was very limited, so here's a number of places I'd like to try but haven't had the opportunity yet:

Fully organic and vegetarian (needless to say these days: vegan-friendly) restaurant Vegetariamoci a little North-West and over the bridge from the Giardini dell' Arena park is the brainchild of organic pioneers in the region. Unfortunately closed Mondays through Wednesdays.

Also in the neighbourhood of Arcella, North of the main train station, the Osteria di Fuori Porta offers uncomplicated organic dinner, and, on weekdays, lunch, the latter also at a fixed price for 12 EUR including a beverage and coffee. If you take the tram leave at stop "Borgomagno".

Food, art, and concerts -- that's the concept of the Ca'Sana cultural space offering organic brunch on Sundays, and apart from Mondays, late night food. The place is situated a little out of town, near the airport.

If you fancy a pizza Daltrocanto seems to be the place to go. There's more on the menu, all vegetarian and vegan-friendly.

2018-06-09 05:30:00 [Padova, Padua, biologico, organic, vegetarian, vegan, eatery, restaurant, breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee] 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.

Friday, 01 June 2018

Organic Rovigo

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.

Ice-cream parlours

Fantasy Accademia

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.

Daily necessities

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.

Eating out

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.

2018-06-01 05:30:00 [Rovigo, biologico, organic, vegan, ice-cream, supermarket, grocery, bodycare, household, pizza] 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.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

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 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.

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 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.

2018-05-29 06:30:00 [Padova, Padua, Selvazzano, Montegalda, organic, biologico, vegan, ice-cream, supermarket, coffee, bakeries, cafe, grocery] link

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Monday, 28 May 2018

Padua: Organic ice-cream

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.

Gnam Gnam 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.

2018-05-28 21:00:01 [Padova, Padua, biologico, organic, vegan, ice-cream, gifts] 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.