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Vegan Friendly Ireland

An Inspired Spire

Adam’s adventures with The Live Food Experience continue in Ireland. With the class in Wicklow completed, it was time to visit Dublin and see the sites. Donal acted as my knowledgeable tour guide. The Sunday schedule had us visiting a farmer’s market in Dun Laoghaire and then heading to a potluck with the Irish Raw Food Meetup group in Dublin. There were a few brief rain showers that had us ducking for cover at the market, but the rain/sun combo made for some great rainbow opportunities. At the market I was pleasantly surprised to see an entire booth dedicated to rawfoods. Donal commented that he knew the business owner, Natasha Czopor of Natasha’s Living Foods and that he could inquire about meeting with her. I was like “hells yes I want to meet her” and he set to arranging things.

Look for the sign

I have to say I failed miserably as navigator while in Dublin. To my defense the street signage is practically non existant and when it is there it’s placed in random and obscure places on placards the size of a postcard. It took a while to find the meetup, but eventually we did. Keep in mind we were cruising the narrow neighborhood streets of Dublin in Donal’s camper van… u-turns are not an option. At the meetup I took a moment to snap a picture of another rawfooders fridge. It’s funny what I find fascinating these days. The hosts of the meetup were a married couple originally from South Africa; Caroline and Norman Rasmussen. Caroline  had just returned from a long stay at the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia, Arizona. We chatted a bit about life in that magical raw community. There were around 12 people at the meetup and I think that only 5 of them were originally from Ireland… quite an eclectic bunch. I had to excuse myself when an 80/10/10 discussion broke out. 80/10/10 needs to be added to the list of things not to be discussed at parties and potlucks along with religion, politics and urine therapy.

On Monday Donal and I were at it again, this time visiting Dublin and a few health savvy business owners. Highlights in Dublin were “the really big flag pole with no flag“, the James Joyce statue and Saint Stephens Green. Little did I know when we visited Natasha at Natasha’s Living Foods, that I would end up spending my last 5 days in Ireland hanging with her. Natasha radiates raw inspiration and I have yet to discover her source of endless energy. Could it be the energy bars? During our brief visit she gave us a tour of her production kitchen and gave us her background which sounded more like an adventure novel than a rawfooder’s bio. Natasha had done some living, and she had plenty more adventures in her as well. After our visit to the rawfoods fun factory, we visited Cornucopia, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant that has been open since 1986. Owner and operator Deirdre McCafferty met us for an afternoon munch and told us about her magical restaurant and the plans for expansion into the neighboring building. Do they have rawfoods on the menu at Cornucopia? They do have a variety of amazing salads to choose from that are above and beyond iceberg lettuce and canned corn. Deirdre said they were focused on the expansion at the moment and definitely considering raw editions to their evolving menu. I raised my hand and volunteered to come back to Dublin and help design some raw dishes when ever they were ready. It just doesn’t seem fair that Dublin and the area surrounding it would have a variety of vegetarian and vegan choices peppered across the landscape while I’m here in Jacksonville, Florida with no vegetarian options to speak of other than The Present Moment Cafe, which is an hour away in St. Augustine.

Donal, Mary, Adam at Fresh

The next day Donal and I explored another veggie option just up the road from Cornucopia, known as Cafe Fresh. We arrived just before the lunch rush and got to see owner Mary Farell strap on her chefs gear and work the grill in preparation for the lunch crowd. Rumor has it Cafe Fresh has a raw lasagna on the menu on occasion… the rumors are true, but we missed out on the lasagna by a day. No worries, I was able to enjoy an uber salad with 3 choices from their raw salad selection, while Donal got the Super Uber salad with 5 choices. I’m not sure where he put it, but Donal polished off his mountain of salad with ease. Mary was able to take a moment to chat with us about her restaurant, rawfoods and future plans before jumping back behind the counter to meet the lunch crowd. Other restaurants and health shops of note around Dublin are The Happy Pear in Greystones and of course Healthy Habits Cafe in Wicklow. Join me as my Ireland adventure continues with Natasha of Natasha’s Living Foods.

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Raw Times in Ireland

Live Lunch
Paul Making Wraps

Ireland is to blame for all of my travels in Europe. Specifically Gabrielle Kirby of the Servant s of Love (SoL) in Wicklow, Ireland. Gabrielle is the one who had sent me an email regarding the April retreat in Spain. This was back in December and it only took a couple email exchanges before we were able to set some dates for my class in Ireland. The Servants of Love are an amazing group of monks and nuns that have dedicated their lives to teaching and sharing information regarding the importance of healthy holistic living. This includes the importance of a spiritual practice, meditation and prayer, music, service and conscious eating. The Servants didn’t start out as raw foodists, it was something they gravitated towards over time. At the heart of The Servants of Love is their founder Kevin Jacobson, who is no longer with us in physical form. Kevin’s inspiring contribution lives on in every meter/foot of The Servants of Love’s cafe (Healthy Habits), health shop and work and living quarters. Every where I looked at SoL there were little time and energy saving gadgets and inventions that Kevin had designed and created. Most impressive were the blanks he created for making wraps and breads in the dehydrator. He had even created a dehydrator the size of a phone booth which was recently taken out of service because it had been constructed of wood and was a potential fire risk. The spirit of Kevin is inescapable at SoL and you could feel it and see it in the selfless work of the Servants. When I had arrived on Thursday none of the Servants that had been at the retreat in Spain had returned yet. So I worked with Paul, Vera, Michaela and Donal until most of the group returned the following day.

Veronica Makes Kimchi

Chef Veronica, the one person that wanted to be at my Saturday class most of all would not arrive back in Ireland until Sunday, the day after my class. We were able to take some time during the week to make some kimchi and also redo the onion bread recipe. The class I taught featured a spinach wrap, buckwheat refried beans, onion bread, my signature “gadget” recipes as well as some chia recipes. We had an amazing crew in the kitchen helping out. I owe a big “thank you!” to Donal for helping on both Friday and Saturday and also Carlos Corkish, a classically trained chef  who rocked out the guaca-ole, fig vinaigrette and headed up the lunch time plating. Margaret Carey also assisted in plating. Gabrielle pitched in by rolling the burritos and adding a colorful floral finishing touch to all the plates. She even devised a way of giving the blackberries a magical shine before dessert was sent out. My experience with teaching in Wicklow was fantastic. I hope to return next year for another teaching event.

Enjoy this dessert recipe featured during the class in Wicklow, Ireland:

Chia Pecan Flan

  • 1/4 C chia gel

    Pecan Flan
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 C cashews (soaked),
  • 3/4 C pecans (soaked)
  • 1/2 C dates (soaked)
  • 1 T maple syrup or agave
  • 1 vanilla bean or 2 t powder/extract
  • 1 T lecithin
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 1/2 t salt

Add water and chia gel to blender and blend for about 30 seconds or until smooth.
Add remaining ingredients except for lecithin and blend.

Add lecithin to the mixture while blending.
Transfer to bowl and allow to cool in the fridge or freezer before serving. Decorate with fresh/frozen berries and mint leaves.

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Rest and Chillax’in in Paris

Class at Bob'sSunday was class day and Arletty and I gathered our strength, for I had to teach and she had to translate. But first we had to schlep all of our ingredients and equipment over to Bob’s Juice Bar. Now Bob’s Kitchen was right around the corner, but not the Juice Bar, it was 3 times further… not a fun hike. The class went great. Everyone seemed happy and well fed. With our weekend duties behind us we were ready for some restin’ and chillax’in.

chillax'in

Did I mention that Arletty is a phenomenal host? I told her she should offer a rawfoodist travel and tour support for people that come through Paris. She’s got Paris dialed in, especially the out of the way places that most tourists don’t know about. And of course there’s her culinary creations. At the moment there aren’t any rawfood options in Paris, so it was great to be able to connect with someone who speaks the universal language of rawfoods. Over the next few days I was able to do some exploring on my own and also visit some places with Arletty. I went to the Louvre one morning and got a healthy dose of painting and sculpture. The weather seemed to be cooperating with us and we were able to visit some of the Parisian parks that were bursting with Spring growth. These were my favorite excursions, when I was able to be with the trees and plants, a brief respite from concrete and cars. Call me a “candy ass” if you wish, but Paris is a little to busy for my taste. A nice place to visit but I not sure if I could be happy living there.

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Paris in the spring time

Spring Flower

Paris, what can I say, it’s an amazing city. It has art, history, culture, fashion, music and cuisine… actually there is one aspect of cuisine in which all of France seems to be lacking: Raw Food Cuisine. It seems that Paris and France in general are a bit stuck in their old ways when it comes to health and food. This is the country that gave us foie gras, not the most conscious of food creations. While there are a number of organic grocery stores in Paris, they’re unfortunately lacking any of the raw decadence you can find in any of the major cities in the US, Canada, England and …Ireland? Yes, it was quite a pleasant surprise to find out that Ireland is totally hip when it comes to conscious culture and cuisine. I’ll be sure to fill you in on the details of the Irish rawfood scene in future posts. My host in Paris is the beautiful and gifted Arletty Abady. We met at the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center a couple of years ago when she was a guest there. We kept in touch through email and of course on Facebook. It’s great being able to reconnect with the growing minority of conscious eaters around the globe. Everyday in Paris we had the opportunity to wow each other with crudo (raw) culinary creations. She has been working her raw food magic and doing healing work in Paris for the past year. While staying in Paris for my first stretch, she organized a dinner and class which was a great success and quite a learning experience. cabbage arugala saladThe dinner was hosted at Bob’s Kitchen and the class at Bob’s Juice Bar. Both locations owned and operated by Marc Grossman… aka “Bob”. Arletty tells me that “Bob”, pronounced “Bub”, is the hoop name that Parisians throw around typical American’s, so “Bob’s Kitchen” and “Bob’s Juice Bar” represents that American style… or something along those lines. Dinner at Bob’s Kitchen featured a Thai themed menu: coconut curry soup, green papaya salad, Pad Thai noodles with almond miso sauce and mango pineapple sorbet with passion fruit and chocolate topping. Before we could pull off the dinner and class we had to purchase all the ingredients and schlep them back to Arletty’s flat. We did almost all of our buying at “Place d’Italie” in Paris. “Place d’ Italy” of course is China Town… duh? In the past this area of Paris was populated by Italians, now it is where the majority of Asians live and have their shops. We made two visits to “China/Italy Town” and returned home with full loads each time. I think we ended up buying more than a dozen young Thai coconuts. Once we got the ingredients back to the flat we had the task before us of prepping  everything in her tiny tiny kitchen space. When I say tiny, I ain’t kidding; imagine 3 phone booths lined up, narrow and tiny. No worries though, it was proof to me that raw foods can be prepared just about anywhere.Raw Ingredients