Change of Address

Little Frog

Any further information you might wish to find on Travelling Vegan can now be found here at Travelling Vegan. Thanks for visiting.

Amelia

Merry Merry Christmas

christmas lights

It’s Christmas! Well, nearly. Last weekend I travelled (oh yes) to Bristol to celebrate with my Dad and family, since he is leaving (on my birthday) for New Zealand over Christmas.

This was my first Christmas as a vegan, and it went exceedingly well. I’m lucky to have a step-mum who is very organised and accomodating, although she did not let me try and make my first nut roast in the morning while she was co-ordinating the turkey, two different pans of roasting potatoes (one in duck fat and one not!), various boiling pans, starters, guests and presents, so I had a fake roast from Linda McCartney’s range. Which has egg in. Sainsburys does not have the greatest range of vegan fake meats. I did not know this. Almost everything has egg in.

crackers

Next year I think I will make a nut roast, or similar Christmas appropriate meal, beforehand, and reheat it in the morning.

I spent most of the meal fielding questions about What I Eat, with my uncle deciding I must mostly eat potatoes and my second cousin saying something about my diet being boring. I showed them when I produced my desert, prepared the evening before as I know the recipe off by heart and we happened to stop by a whole foods store where I picked up oatly cream and my dad picked up their organic, free range turkey.

chocolate tarte

Chocolate Tarte!
Almost everyone had a sliver (they were, of course, saving themselves for the Christmas pud) and pronounced it ‘very nice’. That’s because it’s made with craploads of dark chocolate, mmm, yeah.

For the base:

2oz butter
4oz brown sugar (muscavado)
6oz dark chocolate, melted
8oz plain flour

Mix butter and sugar, add melted chocolate, add flour. Grease pan, roll out cookie dough, and squish it in. 180 degrees for 12 minutes.

For chocolatey bit:

Carton of soy/oat cream
Melted dark chocolate
Icing sugar/cinnamon to taste.

Mix all together. Pour into cooled base. Stick in fridge. Chill ’til edible.

Easiest, most delicious, desert in the world.

Christmas flowers

I think the way to do Christmas, if you are a visitor of family rather than a hoster of Christmas, is to make it as easy as possible for said family to accomodate you. Email them any specific food requirements beforehand (like cumin. My family don’t have cumin!) and don’t expect there to be any room in the oven on Christmas day, because turkeys are fat. Also, whip up your BEST vegan desert to waft under people’s noses right after the obligatory ‘You live on rice?’ comment. Mmm, yeah.

Merry Christmas!

Amelia

Corsica – L’ile de Beauté

Corsica is beautiful. There’s no getting away from it. We stayed in Saint Florent in Haute-Corse, to the north of the island, and wherever we drove there were sweeping valleys, majestic hills, glittering seas, ramshackle rooftops; all up in our faces being breath-taking.

travel,corsica

travel,corsica

Saint Florent is enough on its own, a pretty harbour town backed by a hill range over which the sun sets impressvely but you only have to drive a few miles north to Nonza where the town perches precariously atop the sheer cliff face, or forty-five minutes across the mountain ranges to Bastia and the beautifully preserved Old Town. We mostly stayed in Saint Florent at the beach, but spent a couple of days driving in different directions around the island – once around the Cap Corse, making friends with ponies, hanging around old towers and climbing really large rocks and once down to the Ile Rousse where we walked to another tower…there are lots of towers and citadelles in Corsica, a town just isn’t complete without one, it seems. This may have something to do with L’ile de Beauté’s strategic defensive position in the Med; it is highly sought after for this reason and has been occupied by the Ancient Greeks, Etruscans and Genoese in its history and was secretly bought by France in 1764. So that explains that!

travel,corsica

Corsica is heavily influenced by all things French and Italian due to its past; everyone speaks French (and not much English) though there is a Corsican language which seems more Italian-ate.
As for the food…Corsican specialties include (and are not limited to) ewes’ cheese, donkey sausages, wild boar, honey and fromage de tête – “head cheese” made from seasoned pigs’ brains. We didn’t come into contact with any of the more exotic specialties, though my step-dad did want to try the wild boar. Fish is also big on the menu, what with it being so easy to come by.

travel,corsica

travel,corsica
The Rough Guide for Corsica suggests that vegans go for self-catering and I would add a double thumbs up to that. Meat and dairy are massive in Corsica eating. We did eat out one night, at a place called Tchin Tchin in Saint Florent which offered cheeseless pizza and came loaded down with aubergines, red peppers, onions and olives. A couple of places had cheeseless pizzas on the menu, called ‘Vegetarian’. Otherwise, it was chips all the way whenever we stopped at a café.

travel,vegan

We were staying at a villa in Saint Florent which came with a kitchen. (Since we were there in practically the last week of the season, the six bedroom villa cost about a quarter of the price for high-season – plus there were barely any other tourists on the island.) Visitors prior to us had left some of their dry goods, so we were lucky to have an almost full box of sugar and various spices – including cumin! – as well as the ‘Welcome’ box provided by the reps which consisted of wine and Corsican biscuits; another speciality of Corsica, and vegan! They’re dry hard and sweet, made with flour and white wine. You can get other flavours including chocolate and aniseed (though I’m not sure of their veganosity). One of the brands declares their part in la lutte contre la deforestation – the battle against deforestation – so I made my Mum buy those when she was considering presents for people.

travel,vegan

Vegan self-catering in Corsica depends on your ability to whip up tasty meals from scratch. In the main supermarkets, like Carrefour, there is no such thing as tofu and there are no forms of meat substitute. Other than beans. There is even fromage frais in the houmous. (This incited quite a rant from me.) One of the spreads seemed to not have any (obvious) dairy ingredient, that was one of the Fruit D’or range. I would suggest taking a couple of recipes which only involve fresh fruit and veg, like bolognaise or stew (which is what I made for us out there.)

food,vegan

I also had my first go at making pancakes with banana instead of egg! I mashed a couple of bananas together, then mixed them with flour and water ’til it looked like regular pancake batter. They were a bit too gooey after cooked, so I think I underdid the flour. I ate them with the bolognaise from dinner and the tastes actually went really well together. After that I had them with dark chocolate, melted on while they cooked. Delicioushness.

travel,corsica

If you don’t end up with anywhere to cook whatsoever, then I would suggest a diet of salad sandwhiches, chips and dark chocolate. Or, see how many chefs you can shock by telling them you don’t eat dairy and bet them you can’t make something vegan AND good to eat. Perhaps this way you will also get to eat for free?

Corsica is definitely well worth visiting – I want to go back and see the rest of the island, already! – just…mind the seasoned pigs’ brains.

travel,corsica

Amelia

# More photos can be found here at my Flickr.

# This page contains a useful list of words for different kinds of meat and cheese.

Mornin’

Hi, my name is Amelia and herein I plan to provide a (not-exhaustive) guide to travelling vegan.

I began to eschew animal products about half-way through 2009 and discovered that trying to find nutritious, delicious, cheap and easy food whilst travelling gained an extra edge of inconvenience.

I write about the places that I’ve been and how hard it is to find hummus in different countries, as well as dazzling y’all with shiny pictures of mountains and sunsets, and such.

I can’t go everywhere, unfortunately, so if you’re a traveller and a vegan please get in touch with any tips, hints, tricks and reviews.

Thanks!