Thursday, 6 September 2012

Emma moves to Spain and writes a list

The narrow, winding streets of the old town
For a bit over a week now, I've been living in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia where I'll be studying at the university for a year. I have a few friends with year abroad blogs, which I've really enjoyed reading, but for me, I'd rather focus on food. Or more specifically, cake. I haven't yet got round to making one yet, although I have bought a cake tin (my flatmates have giant pots and pans for cooking all the vegetables they grow, and a jam maker, but no cake tins... til now).

I took a boat to Santander, then a train to Palencia and another train the next day to Santiago (it was a long journey, but a good way to avoid flying and see some beautiful countryside on the way). When I first arrived, I stayed in a hostel for 5 nights whilst I looked for a flat. The hostel didn't have a kitchen, so I ended up eating out a lot. These are some of my favourite places and foods that I had:

- Vegan Spanish omlette (tortilla) at Rúa Restaurante
This restaurant is on Rúa de San Pedro, a creative area just outside of the old town, and about 5 minutes away from my flat, and has a few vegetarian and vegan options. The omlette was amazing! I've had vegan tortilla before at El Piano in York, and tried to make it myself, but this was even better.

- Falafel with rice and salad at Newroz Döner Kebap
More yummy food. I had it without the mayonaise option, or at least I did second time round (oops). Unfortunately I didn't have a camera with me to take photos of any of these foods, so you'll just have to imagine.

- Seitan/lentil and vegetable burger at O Elefante
This is a vegetarian restaurant (although it does have a few meat options too) in the old town, full of elephant statues and models. The food was really lovely.

- Iced chocolate (granizado) and churros at Valor Chocolate
This is like a slushy drink, but made with pure chocolate. Yum! They also have a seasonal fruit one which is also really good. Churros are like long, thin, sugary donuts and they're vegan! Wahey!

- Horchata
In Spain, this is made with tigernuts and sugar, although there are other versions in other countries (I've had a Mexican version before, made with rice). It's really a Valencian drink, but you can find it here in supermarkets and occasional cafes.

- Vive Soy soya/fruit juice drinks
Milk mixed with fruit juice seems to be quite popular here, as does soya milk, and this is a tasty combination. Although there are less on-purpose vegan foods in Spain, there are more by-accident ones. (I haven't seen any vegan ice cream, for example, but there are loads of different flavoured soya drinks and yogurts and you don't have to go to any special shops to find them.)

I've also found a few wholefood and fair trade shops which is a less interesting list, but a very useful one for anyone reading this more with the intention of visiting Santiago than hearing what I had for my dinner the other night... Click here if you're interested.

 There are lots of street musicians here and my favourite is this sitar player

Anyway, Santiago is an amazing place, a bit like York or Edinburgh (two of my favourite UK cities) and I've found some great flatmates. They're really friendly and as well as helping me with my Spanish, they're going to teach me some Galician. They're not veggie themselves, but they enjoy veggie food such as tofu and home made seitan. They're also curious to try vegan cake, so I should get baking soon...

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