Vegan gelato in Spain

We are finally settled in our new flat in Zagreb after a long travel day this past Friday and a restful weekend, but I just can’t move on to blogging about Croatia until I write a detailed post about our vegan gelato findings in Spain. 🙂

We certainly had a proper summer this year spending three months in Andalucía. As expected, temperatures were higher than anything we experienced in Scotland. We welcomed the heat and the sunshine but most days we still struggled to keep cool.

Our favourite way to beat the heat: ice cream!

Is there a better way to keep cool besides indulging in cruelty-free vegan ice cream on a hot summer’s day? I don’t think so.

While we avoid eating out as much as possible, we do make exceptions for vegan gelato, ice cream, or popsicles. No surprise, there’s no shortage of ice cream shops in Spain. Everyone loves ice cream. In fact, I’ve yet to meet another human (or cat or dog…) who doesn’t like ice cream. If you know of someone, send them my way. 😉

In general, most gelato places will offer something vegan, like fruit sorbet. Ask if it’s made without milk or eggs (sin leche ni huevos) just to be sure.

I also researched vegan-friendly places to try using HappyCow. If you are on the hunt for vegan ice cream, I suggest you search there before planning your trip. Don’t forget to double-check opening hours, especially in the summer. Most places adjust their opening hours to allow for a midday break.

So what’s the difference between ice cream and gelato? The difference comes down to the proportion of milk, cream, and eggs (if any are used). Since we’re only talking about vegan ice cream and gelato, which are free from any animal products, it doesn’t really matter what we call it.

These are all the places we tried but keep in mind, this list is far from exhaustive.

Stickhouse in Fuengirola

This was the first vegan-friendly frozen treat paradise we tried in the Costa del Sol. Kuba and I both tried the chocolate popsicle, and we opted to have it freshly dipped in chocolate and rolled in nuts. Yum!

Not all of Stickhouse’s popsicles are vegan, but several of the fruit and chocolate ones are. I haven’t had a dipped chocolate popsicle like that in years, so I was happy to indulge.

The second time we visited Stickhouse, I tried a chocolate dipped passion fruit popsicle and Kuba tried a chocolate dipped hazelnut one. Both were delicious but the hazelnut and chocolate popsicles were our favourites. They were richer than the fruit popsicle and had a better texture since they were made with nut milk and chocolate as opposed to fruit puree.

Stickhouse is located at Calle España, 18, Fuengirola.

Puro y Bio Artisanal Ice Cream in Sevilla

I’m glad I had the foresight to research vegan ice cream possibilities before we stepped foot in Sevilla. Homemade vegan ice cream that isn’t overloaded with processed sugar is hard to come by, so we always hope to take advantage of any artisanal ice cream shop offering vegan flavours.

Puro & Bio is located down the street from Torre del Oro. They offered at least a dozen vegan flavours. We each ordered a large serving of ice cream for €4.50 each. I tried mango and coffee and Kuba tried pistachio and coffee. The ice cream wasn’t cloyingly sweet and had an authentic gelato mouthfeel. It was the perfect break from the intense heat that day.

Puro y Bio is located at Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, 9, Sevilla.

Eco De.leite in Granada

I had Eco De.leite on my Granada to-do list thanks to HappyCow. Eco De.leite isn’t a fully vegan ice cream shop, but they had over 20 natural and organic vegan flavours to choose from. We chose wisely!

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Raspberry, lemon with basil and mint chocolate chip for me. Chocolate, frutas del bosque (berries) and rice milk with cinnamon for Kuba. We brought our own spoons so we can avoid using plastic ones.

I appreciated Eco De.leite’s creative flavours like lemon with basil along with their safe and reliably delicious flavours like chocolate. The texture was nice and it wasn’t overly sweet. This ice cream hit the spot after walking around in the sun all day.

Eco De.leite is located at Calle Sta. Escolástica, 1, Granada.

Amandine Dolce Gelato in Ronda

We tried two different gelato shops in Ronda since we stayed there for two days. Our flat was located in a touristy pedestrian area so we had several gelato shops to choose from. Amandine Dolce Gelato only had mango and lemon available for vegan flavours that day, but they sure were delicious.

Amandine Dolce Gelato is located at Carrera Espinel 45, Ronda.

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Heladería La Ibense De Ronda

For our second gelato in Ronda, we tried the shop just below our flat. Kuba tried a healthy portion of the strawberry and chocolate gelato while I tried their iced coffee. We both agreed that this gelato was better than the gelato from Amandine Dolce Gelato because the texture was thick and neither flavour was too sweet. The coffee was pretty good too!

Heladería La Ibense De Ronda is located at Carrera Espinel 46, Ronda.

Amorino in Madrid

I’ve seen Amorino shops elsewhere in Europe (and in the States) but I never thought to investigate their vegan offerings. We happened to walk by an Amorino shop on the way to our flat in Madrid and couldn’t resist stepping inside. I’m glad we did because all of their vegan flavours were clearly labeled. We found at least a dozen vegan flavours, including hazelnut, chocolate, and all the fruity flavours you can imagine–even passion fruit! The gelato is pricey compared to other gelatos we’ve tried, but I still think it’s worth it because the gelato is top quality.

In Spain, Amorino is located in 15 cities including some of the ones we visited: Granada, Málaga, Madrid, and Seville. Check out Amorino’s website to find the location nearest you.

Aldi

A cheaper but just as delicious option is to purchase a pint of GutBio vegan ice cream from Aldi. Several flavours are available, including chocolate, coffee, and several fruity ones. These pints only cost €2.99 making them more affordable than buying ice cream out at a café. Both Kuba and I were impressed by the coffee ice cream. It tasted great and didn’t contain too many ingredients. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too fatty either. I’d definitely eat it again but we don’t have Aldi in Croatia. I guess I’ll have to wait until next year when we travel to Poland!

What are your favourite places in Spain for a frozen vegan treat?

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Day trip to Granada・Alhambra・Eco De.leite Vegan Ice Cream

Two weeks ago, Kuba and I spent a day in Granada touring Alhambra, the most visited tourist site in Spain. According to the 2014 tourism study carried out by Alhambra itself, over 2.4 million tourists visited Alhambra in that record-breaking year.

And just because I like knowing the specifics (and perhaps you do too):

The day with the fewest visitors was December 11th, with 2,212 people visiting, while the busiest day was May 1st, a bank holiday in Spain, when 9,329 people visited.

WOW. I’m glad we didn’t visit Alhambra in May!

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Alcazaba, the fortress, is one of the sites of Alhambra. You need a ticket to enter, plenty of water and a hat as there’s hardly any shade.

The Alhambra complex is massive. It includes Alcazaba, several palaces and gardens. While there is evidence that Alcazaba existed since the 9th Century, Kings didn’t take up residence here until the 13th Century.

According to the official website of Alhambra:

The Alhambra was a palace, a fortress and a citadel; the residence of the Nasrid Sultans and top government officials, court servants and the royal guard.

The Nasrid Kingdom became the last Islamic sultanate on the Iberian Peninsula, and its capital Granada progressively received Muslim populations forced to retreat from the Christians. The city grew with the development of new suburbs and extended its walls nearly until it was conquered at the end of the 15th century.

And according to Andalucia.com, Alhambra fell into neglect during the 18th and 19th Century:

As the crowning blow, Napoleon’s troops, masters of Granada from 1808 until 1812, were to convert the palaces into barracks. During one retreat they mined the towers and blew up part of them. Two of them, the Torre de Siete Suelos and the Torre de Agua were left in ruins. And so the incredible neglect continued, until 1870 when the Alhambra was declared a national monument. Travellers and romantic artists of all countries had railed against those who scorned the most beautiful of their monuments. Since that date and up to now, the Alhambra, protected, restored, cared for and even improved, has been preserved for the pleasure and admiration of all.The Alhambra became an UNESCO World Heritages site in 1984.

We knew we couldn’t pass up visiting Alhambra, especially since Granada is only a 2-hour bus ride away from Torremolinos.

Fortunately, you can walk around the Alhambra grounds for free. Even without purchasing a ticket, you can visit the Palace of Carlos V, the Alhambra Museum, the Church of Santa María de la Alhambra, the Angel Barrios museum and the Arab Baths.

Thanks to my husband Kuba for sharing his photos in this post. Check out his Instagram account @roaming_kuba for more stunning photos of our travels.

While there’s plenty to see for free, we still opted to purchase tickets in advance. A general daytime ticket (around €15) granted us access to Alcazaba, the Nasrid Palaces and Generalife Palace, in addition to all the free sites.

We picked up our tickets from Corral del Carbón in the city centre. Based on my research, it is easiest to enter Alhambra from la Puerta de la Justicia (the Justice Gate), a short (but uphill) walk from Corral del Carbón. Corral del Carbón happens to be the oldest Arabic monument in Spain, so it’s worth swinging by even if you don’t need to pick up tickets for Alhambra.

Once you enter Corral del Carbón into the courtyard, turn left. The Ticketmaster machine is just inside a little office. Don’t forget to bring your credit card as you’ll need this to retrieve your tickets.

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Tickets for the Nasrid Palaces designate a specific time slot for your visit. You’ll be denied entry if you are more than 30 minutes late so plan to arrive early.

The most impressive thing about our Alhambra visit was the carved tile patterns in the Nasrid Palaces, especially the ones embellished with Arabic script. It was difficult to capture the intricacy and beauty of the tiles with my camera. You just need to see them in person to fully appreciate the design. (You can see the decorative tiles in my Granada vlog linked at the end of this post.)

We toured Alcazaba and the Nasrid Palaces but left the rest of the palaces for another time because we wanted ice cream. It was very hot that day, what can I say!

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The palaces are surrounded by lush gardens.

I had Eco De.leite on my Granada to-do list thanks to HappyCow. Eco De.leite isn’t a fully vegan ice cream shop, but they had over 20 natural and organic vegan flavours to choose from. We chose wisely!

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Raspberry, lemon with basil and mint chocolate chip for me. Chocolate, frutas del bosque (berries) and rice milk with cinnamon for Kuba. We brought our own spoons so we can avoid using plastic ones.

I appreciated Eco De.leite’s creative flavours like lemon with basil along with their safe and reliably delicious flavours like chocolate. The texture was nice and it wasn’t overly sweet. This ice cream hit the spot after walking around in the sun all day.

We only spent the day in Granada and that definitely wasn’t enough time to explore the entire city. Still, it was enough time for us to realise we’d like to revisit Granada in the future. Out of all the cities we visited in Spain this time around, Granada was our favourite.

Check out my vlog to see Alhambra and more of our day in Granada.

Thanks for reading and watching! 🙂

Why I cut my hair・long to buzz cut

Three weeks ago Kuba buzzed my head with his beard trimmer. I’m no stranger to short hair as I’ve had all sorts of hairstyles in the past, but this is much shorter than my pixie cut from a few years ago.

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I’m glad Kuba cut my hair before our trip to Sevilla. It was far too hot there!
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I took this photo after our trip to Thailand. It’s the only recent photo I have where I’m wearing my hair down. Long hair just isn’t for me!

There are several reasons why I decided to cut it all off.

Firstly, I’ve always suffered from a flaky scalp. I hoped quitting harsh chemical-laden shampoos would remedy it. Through the years, I tried different variations of the “no poo” method. Baking soda and apple cider vinegar, water and lemon juice, just water, but none of them worked. I’ve also tried countless natural shampoos and conditioners without any success.

Secondly, I never enjoy styling my hair or wearing it down. I usually have it up in a ponytail. I can’t be bothered straightening it and I definitely can’t use products. My hair is greasy enough without adding more products just to style it.

And lastly, it’s far too hot in Spain during the summer to have a head full of long, thick hair. I had so much trouble washing my hair here because it’s so dense. Kuba had to wash it for me every couple of days, and even after washing it, my hair would be greasy the very next day.

After contemplating the shape of my head for a few days, I decided to give it a try. I absolutely love it! Now I’m kicking myself for not cutting it off sooner.

A buzzed head is the perfect minimalist hair style. Now my head will never be greasy because washing it is easy. I don’t have to worry about what my hair looks like because it always looks the same. It saves me money since I don’t need to buy shampoo, products or haircuts. Now Kuba can cut it for free!

My scalp is still mildly flaky but I’m hoping it will sort itself out in a few weeks. The fact that I’m able to easily wash my hair and scalp already makes a huge difference. Currently, I’m using Aleppo soap for my body and hair. It seems to be working well and it smells great.

I don’t think I’ll go back to long hair since having it buzzed means little to no maintenance. This will be perfect once we start living out of our van next year. Not only is short hair is easier to maintain on the road, shorter showers means less water used.

I also discuss my reasoning behind cutting my hair in this video:

Thanks for reading and watching. 🙂

How do you feel about short hair?

Have you buzzed your hair before? Would you?