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French Vegan Road Trip

French Vegan Road Trip Part 7 – Under The Lime Tree

I’ve got to say that I love the Charente area even though eating out is a bit of a challenge for us plant based eaters.
In saying that, after doing an extensive search in the area for Vegan eateries we came across a lovely place called “Under The Lime Tree”.
Under The Lime Tree is not just a restaurant it’s a b&b and a spa. I checked out the website and the venue looked fab so I sent an email to Nikki and arranged for a 3 course vegan meal for two.
The place was certainly out of the way, it didn’t help that our sat nav took us to the centre of a wood. Anyway after a few grumps from John we finally found “Under The Lime Tree”. It was worth the effort as the whole set up was lovely. The buildings have been lovingly restored by Nikki and her partner over a period of 18 years. There are stunning gardens for chillin’ centred around a hot tub that overlooks a glorious valley of undulating fields and all under the shade of the famous lime tree.

Our meal was lovely, we had a beetroot and water melon soup, that was delicious and then a vegetable tagine and a fruit cake to finish. All served with plenty of wine for me, (well someone had to drive).

All together a lovely evening out with some welcoming people. Definately worth a visit if you are in the area. Here is a link to their website.


French Vegan Road Trip

French Vegan Road Trip Part 6 – The Beautiful Charente

The Charente is famous for its Cognac production which is music to me ears as I love a little tipple occasionally.
It is also very beautiful and after the South of France it has the most amount of sunshine hours per year than the rest of France.
At the moment there are undulating fields of yellow from the rapeseed farms and as these fade you will notice lines of vines that stretch for miles.
It goes without saying that the wine in the region is delicious.

The Charente is on the West coast of France and you are never more than an hour from the sea but why not visit one of the many beautiful lakes? The lakes and rivers are so beautiful, you can swim, go boating, go fishing or just laze in the sun, they are a more gentler way of enjoying the long hot sunny days of summer rather than baking on a crowded beach.

I love it here but sadly, it is hard to find cafes, bars and restaurants in the Charente to buy ready made plant based food. So far I haven’t found a single coffee bar that has anything other than cows milk and most could not do a decaf coffee either.
Some restaurants do have a veggie choice but that’s about it. I have got a bit sick of salad and chips which is the only choice for me if I want to stay completely plant based.

I have found a hotel called “Under The Lime Tree” based in Cellefrouin. “Under The Lime Tree” is a Spa and B&B. They specialise in home-cooked vegetarian and vegan meals and the restaurant is open to non residents as well as residents.
I am going to try to get a booking for a vegan evening meal. I’ll report any findings in my next blog post.

We came across a little farm that had some gorgeous goats. They all had names and the owners obviously loved them very much. I mentioned to them that I wasn’t happy with the way billy goats are killed at birth because they don’t produce milk and they agreed that it was an awful practice. Their billy goats lived out a lovely life as their pets.
So we bought some goats cheese and, I have a confession to make, it was delicious.

I would be interested to know how you feel about this? Would you eat organic, ethically reared cheese from happy goats?

French Vegan Road Trip

Vegan Road Trip Part 5 – Eating In Quimper With A Wimper

What a fabulous place, a stunning cathedral, cobbled squares, a lovely market place and a lot of high end shopping.
But try to get a cappuccino with non dairy and you have no chance.

We did, however find a cute little restaurant called “Sherlock Holmes” that had an extensive vegetarian and vegan menu that would put most of our places to shame.
It’s so strange, they were so busy they were turning people away and two thirds of the people were actually eating veggie but for other establishments the penny hadn’t dropped.
Here are the veggie pages from the menu. The food was delicious and real chips too.

Here is a pic of our meals. Yum!

French Vegan Road Trip

French Vegan Road Trip Part 4 – A Big Gripe And Something Wonderful

First of all let me have a moan.
Today we have traveled to quite a few lovely villages in Brittany. Most of them have lovely cafes where you can sit outside taking in the ambiance, (can’t say ambiance without thinking of Micky Flanagan, look him up on You tube he’s so funny).
For me sitting outside in the sun drinking a lovely grand creme, (France’s version of a cappuccino), is what France is all about.

But no, not for us! Despite the fact that you can buy non dairy milk in every supermarket, you can not get it in your coffee in a cafe. What’s that all about?
Are people secret non dairy drinkers? Are they afraid of ridicule?
I must admit, unless you are in a tourist area the customers do tend to be old yokelly looking, (in a quaint sort of way), and must wonder at our new fangled ways.
Ce la vie!

Let’s now get to the something wonderful.

It’s this: Bonne Maman Abricot Intense Confiture moins sucre.

It is the best apricot jam I have ever eaten and it even has 30% less sugar. John, who doesn’t like apricot jam loves it too.
I am so getting loads to take home. When Austin, (my son in law who has a massive sweet tooth), tries this he will think he has died and gone to heaven. Oops we only talk about “food not to die for” here.

There are, of course, many wonderful things in France and we’ll get to them, but this fabulous jam just blew me away.

French Vegan Road Trip

French Vegan Road Trip – Part 3 – Brittany’s Eco Mayor

Spoke to Lisa today. She lives close to a village called Théhillac in Brittany.
She said that the Mayor of the village is so into saving the planet that he has allowed people an almost free hand to build any home they want as long as it is eco friendly.
She said that weird and wonderful homes are popping up all over the village.
The Guardian even wrote an article about the village.

What a great idea!

Here are some pictures of some of the homes:

French Vegan Road Trip

French Vegan Road Trip – Part 2 – France’s Biggest Supermarket

The massive Carrefour supermarkets in France sell everything from fruit and veg to toys to tractors.
I was still feeling unsure that I’d be able to find organic produce and my staples like cashew milk and vegan butter.

I have got to say I was pleasantly surprised. They would put our supermarkets, with their little “free from” sections, to shame.

Not sure how the smaller shops in the towns and villages will fair but we’ll see.

French Vegan Road Trip

French Vegan Road Trip – Part 1, The Ferry to France

We booked the French ferry, DFDS rather than P&O, to see how they fared with my vegan diet.
Not good.
The bar was well stocked but the food consisted of sausage rolls, quiches, pizza, fruit tarts and sponge cakes.
I asked the French bar man if he did coffee with a non dairy milk. He looked at me as if I was mad and said,
“you want milk, you must buy in the shop”.
He obviously hadn’t understood me so I explained, “No I want coffee with milk not from a cow”.
He replied smirking, “You don’t want milk from a cow? What do you want, from a pig?” He obviously thought he was funny.
“No”, I said, pretending to laugh, “no animals, do you have soya?”.
He replied with a curt “non” and went to serve someone else.
After waiting for him to come back, I ended up buying a raspberry tart and just eating the raspberries.
As the only teas they had were fruit teas, (I hate fruit teas), I had to buy an extortionately priced bottle of water.
We do love France but the Ferry service from the UK was not a good experience on my “France Vegan Road Trip”.
Not sure P&O would have done much better, anyone tried it? Let us know.

Saw this funny sign in the loos:

So as long as the objects are English then I am ok?