It was incredibly easy to eat vegan in London, and lucky for us, Megan (who we were staying with for the week) is a vegetarian and had plenty of vegetarian foods on hand, as well as great suggestions for vegetarian places to eat. There were also a bajillion ethnic foods, and most of them were vegan friendly without even realizing it (hello Indian and Thai food). You can find more pictures and a better outline of our week on my post about eating in London.
Surprisingly, Germany was one of the most vegan-friendly places we went to during our two months of travel. Our first stop was Hamburg, and it's a student filled city, which meant that all the restaurants were catered to young people, which means that they had tons of great options, as well as an awesome burger joint that was totally vegan!
Similar to London, there was a variety of exotic food, so we loaded up on curries and pad thais. There was also an amazing market that we went to, where they served fresh soups made with local ingredients, homemade lasagnas, fresh juices... Ugh, it was incredible.
Freiburg was the same, with a market running every single day, and a lovely cafe with a delicious homemade tomato soup.
The only time we didn't eat vegan in Germany was when we were eating pastries. AND OH MY GOD DID WE EAT ALL THE PASTRIES. I steered clear from any cream filled croissants, but I definitely indulged in some buttery almond horns, or pineapple buns, or other pastries that I can't pronounce. Other than the overload of sugar, my stomach was fine. Bloated, but fine.
We tried to save as much money as we could while in Strasbourg, staying with our lovely friends Jane and Joe, and so we ate as many meals as we could at their place. They were wonderful, and Jane made us some tasty plant based meals, and we had an unforgettable vegan Thanksgiving feast with them.
Whenever we did go on double dates to restaurants, that's where I began to have problems. It's no secret that the french are known to be very proud and sometimes snotty, and I found this especially true when we would go to restaurants and I would ask for substitutions. Not to mention, Strasbourg is a very small french town, so they're not exactly up to date with current vegan substitutes. I had my first egg in over a year while on a lunch date. It was good, but it didn't change my life.
Also, every restaurant that we went to had a VERY small amount of items that were vegetarian friendly. There were absolutely ZERO vegan options, and the only foods that weren't stuffed with meat were omelets and quiches. So while in France, I ate a lot of eggs.
I should mention that on our first night in France, Kaylee and I decided to have a typical french meal, brie included.
This was my first time eating cheese since my allergy testing, and oh boy did I pay for it. I ate about three slices, and proceeded to puke for the following few hours. Not going to lie, it was totally worth it. That brie was the best I've ever had.
Paris wasn't too hard to eat vegan, although we did indulge in more pastries (how could I go to Paris and avoid pain au chocolat?!) Because Paris is such a popular tourist city, there are plenty of restaurants that cater to every diet, and we also looked up the best vegan/vegetarian restaurants and tried to eat at all of them.
A highlight is Le Potager du Marais, where we had a date night with two lovely couch surfers from Denmark.
**I'd like to give a shout out to one of my favorite bloggers, Elise, who compiled a very helpful list of vegan restaurants in Paris. We tried many places on her list, and they were all great.
We discovered a rule of thumb when it came to traveling around Europe, if you can't find a vegan/vegetarian restaurant, find your nearest falafel/kebab shack! There was an abundance of lebanese holes in the wall, and during our two months overseas we realized that there is no such thing as a bad falafel. If we were ever hungry, we could walk down a popular street and be guaranteed to find at least one or two places that made falafels for very reasonable prices.
I knew that spending the most time in the land of cheese and gelato would be a bad idea, but I underestimated how hard it would be to avoid these products while living in Italy for a month. Luckily for me, on our first day there we discovered an amazing restaurant called "Dolce Vegan" that specialized in Italian food - made vegan. We ate there three or four times during our stay in Florence.
A really great thing about the Italians and their pizza is that they love simplicity, and many times there were vegan pizzas available. They love their pizza with just marinara sauce, and while that may sound gross to some, it was actually really flavorful. They make their sauces and doughs, so everything is fresh and bursting with flavor.
I think it's finally that time in my post when I talk about how much I FAILED at avoiding dairy while in Italy. I was good for the first few days, where I ordered the marinara pizzas and only got the gelato that was made with fruit. But then, slowly but surely, I began to try a slice of cheese pizza here or a scoop of pistachio (MILK) gelato there. While my stomach was a tad uncomfortable, I wasn't sick or out of comission, so I figured the dairy in Italy is a much higher quality than the dairy we have in Canada, so maybe I was only allergic to the bad dairy. Maybe, I thought, the dairy in Italy is so good that it won't affect me?
I WAS WRONG.
First, I got cocky. I figured one scoop of dairy filled gelato was fine, so I would have a slice of cheesy pizza to top it off. Then I got crazy, and threw my milk allergy to the wind and began stuffing my fucking face with all of the delicious, delicious dairy that I hadn't eaten in years.
So while it wasn't impossible to eat vegan in Italy, it definitely was the hardest place of them all. And Rome's food sucked, vegan or not, it just sucked.
That's my recap for two months in Europe! I tried my best to eat vegan as much as I could, but some places made it almost impossible (the biggest culprits being France and Italy). That being said, if you were going for a week or two, there are definite ways to avoid meat and eggs and dairy, but seeing as we were there for two months, we had to break a rule or two ;)
Hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I loved writing it! And even though I was sick off of the gelato, it still looks damn appetizing....