If you’ve been reading Coconut and Berries for a little while you’ll know that I’ve spent the last month in Geneva! I’m actually still here, but will be heading back to England this weekend. It’s been a good month but I’m pretty excited about going home now. I’m a real home girl and am rather missing my little flat, especially my kitchen! I’ve been building a whole stack of recipe ideas so I can’t wait to execute them and share the successes with you.
I know you’re all here for the food really, so I thought I’d share a little about my experience eating vegan in Geneva
Everyone told me Geneva was expensive but I didn’t quite appreciate HOW expensive. Buying ingredients is bad enough but restaurants are even worse- not exactly very student-friendly, especially when you’re doing an unpaid internship…As a result, I didn’t eat out much. One of the few meals I bought was from Qibi. It’s not an exclusively vegetarian place but puts an emphasis on healthy food, with vegetarian (mostly vegan) dishes dominating the menu. It’s actually pretty good value too. I got my meal to-go but they do have seating and also offer delivery!
I went for the meal deal (starter/main/dessert of your choice) and chose the Beetroot and Orange Salad with almonds for my starter (pictured above). It was very tasty with a nice, light vinaigrette. My main dish was the star though- an utterly delicious Spelt Risotto with Vegetables and Hazelnut Cream. I’m going to have to try and replicate this at home.
I was really looking forward to my dessert but was rather let down. I picked the “Tof-Cake au Speculoos”. It was a bland tofu-based mousse, barely sweet, not even for me who likes things on the less sweet side. I couldn’t even detect any speculoos flavour, not even in the supposedly speculoos biscuit topping.
The rest of my meal made up for it though and if I were here longer I would definitely go back to sample the other options on the menu.
One of my favourite things about Geneva is the farmers’ markets. You can find one every day in some part of the city and the produce is all of super quality and mostly very local. I visited a few different markets during my stay, each with a different feel There are even a couple of evening markets which have a particularly lovely atmosphere- think locals sipping a glass of wine and leisurely browsing the fruit and veg on offer, sussing out the best deals. Check out the falafel stall at the Carouge or Helvétique markets!
Last Sunday morning before getting on with some work, I strolled down to the Plainpalais market for a final market visit. I was just about ready to leave when I stumbled across this all-vegan market stall! It’s run by a friendly couple who sell a selection of Vegusto products (vegan meats and cheeses), non-dairy chocolate, homemade hummus and other dips as well as homemade cakes and muffins. The pear, raisin and chocolate chip cake was pretty good and it’s always nice to support small vegan businesses.
Non-dairy milk isn’t available in most cafés like it is in the UK these days but Boréal café was one I visited a couple of times and does offer it. It’s quite American in style and though it doesn’t have much in the way of vegan food, except a couple of very small, very expensive bean salads, they do a great non-dairy matcha latte or frappe (I sampled both) and some fruit frappes too.
I didn’t manage to find any vegan ice cream in the city but I did find some delicious sorbet. This was fruits of the forest and extra dark chocolate. Look out for Italian-style gelaterias as they often seem to sell vegan chocolate sorbet. Check before ordering though as it can sometimes still contain milk powder or egg white.
Here’s a list of all the vegan-friendly places I came across, some of which I mentioned above.
I Feel Bio Not exclusively vegetarian but an emphasis on healthy vegan food with lots of options, both raw and cooked. All the desserts are gluten and dairy-free. Their fresh juices and smoothies also sound amazing. Eat-in, takeaway and delivery
Boréal Café Not much in the way of vegan food. There looked to be a couple of bean salads in pots. Expensive though and very small. They do have non-dairy milk which is a bonus for somewhere that isn’t Starbucks! They do a non-dairy matcha latte or frappe and some fruit frappes too. They have WiFi as well. Another plus point is that they’re open on Sundays when everywhere else is closed. Very busy though so don’t expect to find a seat. Eat-in, takeaway [See above]
Helveg café (Vegan Gourmet) I wish I’d had the chance to eat here as it looks amazing. Pricey but gorgeous sounding, creative dishes. Raw food menu on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Also a small boutique selling vegan foods, books and beauty products. Eat-in, takeaway
Qibi Not exclusively vegetarian but again an emphasis on healthy food with vegetarian (mostly vegan) dishes dominating the menu. Good value, especially compared to the rest of Geneva. You can get meal deals (starter/main) (starter/main/dessert) and you pay less for vegetarian! [See above]
SHOPS/ FARMERS’ MARKETS:
Urban Bio A really useful shop. Very centrally located and open late and on Sundays (unlike most places which are closed on Sundays). They stock regular groceries, including organic produce and also have a wide range of organic grains, beans, non-dairy milks and cooking ingredients you won’t find in the supermarkets here. If you’re into vegan meats/ready meals, they have a bunch of those too. Oh, and they often have reduced-price soy yogurt/milk and ripe bananas!
Aux deux portes A charming little health food shop/café run by a vegan couple. A good selection of typical grains, beans, non-dairy milks and nut butters. I went here when I first arrived and stocked up on a few basics. They sell a lovely range of all-vegan homemade salads and sauces, cakes, raw desserts and savoury tarts. I was hoping to go back here but when I tried to I discovered they had closed for 2 weeks for an extended Easter break.
Satoriz One of a chain of large health food shops. The closest is actually not in Geneva itself but just across the border in Ferney Voltaire, France. It’s only a short bus ride away though (Take the F) and definitely worth a visit if you’re going to be in Geneva a while, and especially doing your own cooking. They have everything you could need- a large organic produce section, non-dairy milks, yogurts, beans, grains, tofu/tempeh, nuts & seeds, nut butters, vegan snacks and chocolate.
The Migros and Coop supermarkets are all over the city. Neither is brilliant and I preferred to mainly shop at the farmers’ markets and heath food stores. I bought canned chickpeas, dried lentils and chocolate here.
Geneva farmers’ markets listed according to day of the week.
Sushi spot- This chain of sushi restaurants is all over the city and does vegan maki rolls (avocado, cucumber, tofu)
Starbucks- (all over the city)They sometimes have a vegan salad and have non-dairy milk for tea or coffee. Very expensive though.
Greens- (in the central train station, Gare Cornavin) A small takeaway place which usually has a vegan sandwich or two (hummus or tofu).
Fruit for Though (FFT) Juice Bar- (downstairs in the central train station) Fresh fruit and vegetable juices made to order.
That’s it! Hope that this post proves useful for those visiting Geneva in the future. I probably won’t be posting again before I get home (thanks again for all your patience with me this month. I promise I’ve got lots coming up for you) so my next post will be from England!