Vegan Mofo: Belgian Chocolate

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When one is in Belgium, there are three things one must sample:

 

1. Belgian Beer. (Check)

 

2. SPECULOOS COOKIE BUTTER. (Check)

 

3. Belgian Chocolate. (Check)

 

Belgian fries are up there, too, but I heard too many warnings that the majority of stands use horse or cow fat to fry their specialty potatoes. No thanks. And 2 out of the 3 vegetarian fry places I tried were closed. Nuts.

 

I did have Belgian beer (heavenly) and massive spoonfuls of Speculoos and OF COURSE I tracked down a bar of vegan Belgian Chocolate.

 Belgian Chocolate

This chocolate was the last thing I bought before I left Belgium, and it was devoured in the two hours it took my friend Mireilla and I to reach the border of the Netherlands. It is quite close to the perfect chocolate bar–it’s pure and creamy with crunchy little bits of cocoa nibs throughout.

If I’m ever in Belgium again, I will drink even more beer, eat my weight in Speculoos, find those elusive vegan Belgian fries, and buy truckloads of this chocolate. (I’ll be a millionaire of course next time I’m there.)

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Vegan Mofo: The Hummus Bar in Budapest


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Hi, welcome to snacky Tuesday! Last week I confessed my powerful love affair with Mexicorn. This week it’s….. HUMMUS.

 

It’s sort of strange, because hummus is such a default vegetarian/vegan option in the States that I get bored of it quite easily. But after eating across Europe, I started missing that creamy lemony chickpea spread. In Budapest, at the suggestion of my Instagram friend Huggy29, I tried The Hummus Bar.

OH MY GOD, I forgot how much I love hummus. And chickpeas in general. And pita bread. And fava beans. And everything that is good and beany and creamy in this world.

I sort of got confused when ordering, so ended up with a bowl of hummus with chickpeas as my side. Never fear. The more chickpeas the better. The salads all looked good; I ended up ordering a tomato/cucumber/onion delight that went into my little pita pocket of wonder with the hummus and chickpeas.

Magical Chickpeas

Magical Chickpeas

GIMME CHICKPEAS OR GIMME…. well, mexicorn or thyme chocolate or wine spritzers. I’m not picky.

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Vegan Mofo: Thyme Chocolate Bar

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Hello and good morning! Welcome back to Monday’s Sweet Treats. Last week I shared with you the sweet and creamy peanut butter cookie milkshake from Cookies & Scream in London. This week we’re moving over the The Netherlands; to The Hague, the capital.

The Hague

The Hague

 

One of my best friends, Mireilla, was a foreign exchange student from Rotterdam to my tiny little high school in Cave Junction, Oregon back in 1997. We hit it off right away, and have kept in touch and seen each other occasionally since. This trip marked the first time I was able to visit her. She and her boyfriend hosted me for 10 days, and were the best hosts ever. Turns out things are a little different in the Netherlands; on your birthday YOU supply the cake, and when you host friends, you treat them. They were lovely wonderful hosts, and when I ventured into The Hague one day to explore, I stopped into a specialty tea shop to buy a thank you present.

 After I found some delightful tea blends, I came across a thyme, flax seed and quinoa crisp chocolate bar from the chocolate company Newtree. Sure enough, it’s vegan. There is no way I’d ever not buy a vegan chocolate bar with thyme in it. Duh.

bites from abroad

The taste is something altogether different. It takes a square or two to get used to, but then it gets seriously addictive. The crunchy quinoa and flecks of flax are a perfect balance to the herby fragrance of the thyme.  The thyme itself makes me think it’d be the perfect sweet bite after an Italian pasta dinner. Not that I gave it the chance; I basically ate it all within 2 days, furtively popping squares from my purse into my mouth for that elusive taste of sweet thyme chocolate.

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Vegan Mofo: Pizza n’ Pasta

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Hi guys! Happy Mofo-ing! Welcome to ‘Round the World Thursdays, in which I showcase food or drinks I’ve consumed in a plethora of places.

Here’s a little secret: I love pasta. If you told me I would get a perfectly balanced diet by only eating tacos, popcorn and pasta, I would be perfectly content for life. Give me noodles in some kind of sauce, and I will not get bored. Ever.

So in cities or countries where it’s been hard to find vegan food, either in the grocery store or in restaurants, a lot of time I’ll fall back on pasta. Throw in a cheeseless pizza (or vegan cheese when available, because I like my pizzas with cheeeeese) from time to time, and you’ve got an ideal fallback for many meals.

thank goodness for carbs and sauce

thank goodness for sauce and carbs

 

The meals shown above range from raw beet and cashew cheese ravioli (Coach and Horses Pub, London, top right) to a vegan pepperoni Turkish pizza (Brno, Czech Republic, middle center) to an Indian-style spaghetti made for me by an amorous restaurant owner in Novi Sad, Serbia (bottom right).

And Vietnam is no exception, actually. Most restaurants, even with a vegetable section, add fish sauce to dishes and the language barrier is sometimes too hard to overcome. Plus a lot of Vietnamese restaurants seem to have a small pizza and/or pasta section (Heck yeah). So when Happy Cow doesn’t show a vegan or vegetarian establishment close by, I’ll frequently opt for spaghetti (no butter, no parmesan).

As I’ve thought numerous times on this trip: I’m so thankful my stomach is forgiving when I eat copious amounts of wheat and soy. At home in Portland, I usually opt for gluten-free noodles and rarely eat soy (unless it’s tofu), but I would have a harder time traveling if I didn’t have those options available to me.

 

 

Spaghetti in Phu Quoc (mysteriously garnished with a mint leaf) (which I ate, and it was good)

Spaghetti in Phu Quoc (mysteriously garnished with a mint leaf) (which I ate, and it was good)

 

Side Note: I thought I’d lose weight when I started traveling because I wouldn’t have access to ALL THE VEGAN FOOD that I eat in Portland, plus I’d be drinking less and walking more. But it turns out that I still really like to eat pasta, bread, ice cream, corn nuts, and I still love my wine spritzers. Go figure. Food’s the best.

 

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