Recently, I took off to celebrate Thanksgiving in Vienna, Austria and Budapest, Hungary for my annual “Friendsgiving” travel tradition. For the last 5 years, instead of chowing down on a Thanksgiving feast, my former roommate and I jet off to explore, adventure and sample the tastes of the world–my favorite part! We usually journey to Europe during this time period because of all the amazing Christmas markets and holiday décor. Plus, the temperatures are quite a bit cooler than California, (actually let’s just call it COLD) which truly makes it feel like the holidays have set forth. I was on top of life and prepared for this most recent trip, as I had carefully researched ahead of time for the most health savvy cafes and eateries in both cities. Typically, I look for health and travel blogs on Pinterest as well as Yelp to find my spots.
Vienna is famous for their decadent cafes and museums, however I was happily surprised by the amount of health conscious eateries in the city. One of my favorite spots was the sweetest and coziest café called Simply Raw Bakery. It was not only a savior from the icy cold temperatures, but it proved to be one of the tastiest raw vegan tea rooms I have ever tried. Raw Vegan means the food is not cooked over 114 degrees Fahrenheit, does not contain dairy and is most often sans gluten, soy and wheat. Simply Raw’s avocado toast (not pictured), homemade cashew milk hot cacao and a plethora of allergen-friendly raw, vegan desserts were such a comfort. I felt like I could really partake and enjoy the “Let Them Eat Cake” attitude that Vienna is so well-known for (being the birthplace of Marie Antoinette). In fact, even at the spot deemed, “The Most Beautiful Café in the World,” New York Café, I was able to partake in a sugar-free, lactose-free, gluten-free dessert (say that five times in a row) that was actually quite delicious…so delicious I devoured it without snapping a photo…my apologies.
If you ever stop in Vienna, Austria you really must stop in Simply Raw Bakery! The atmosphere is so quaint and the service is truly welcoming. Most importantly, please try the raw vegan cupcakes, as I couldn’t manage to fit one more dessert down the hatch.
After three blissfully cold days in Vienna, the next stop was Budapest. Following a tour of Fisherman’s Bastion, the largest Synagogue in Europe, the Opera, St. Stephens Church and shopping at the central Christmas Market, we had really worked up an appetite! Instead of dinner first, we decided to partake in dessert first…because…well, when on vacation;) With our fingers numb and toes frozen, we jumped into Naspolya Nassolda. Equally as cute and cozy as Simply Raw Bakery, with Naspolya we couldn’t have asked for a better rest stop. After trying the raw lemon poppy seed “cheesecake” and the date sweetened hot cacao, I simply had to go for seconds…because…well, it was vacation and a rare gem of a find. Next, I sampled the raw chocolate tart with cacao nibs and goji berries and of course one more date sweetened hot cacao. Can you guess which dessert came out on top…actually, it was the hot cacao!!! I have never had a better hot chocolate…it even beat Angelina’s in Paris (don’t tell the French I said that). The best part was, it was totally allergen friendly and divinely healthy!
I have yet to recreate that cup of hot cacao since being home, but this will be my next endeavor as the holidays fast approach. In truth, I tried to make it back to Naspolya the following day, but being completely in bliss from a long spa day (a.k.a. Hungarian massage and mineral baths) and night boat tour of the Danube, it wasn’t possible to get there before closing. I was quite saddened that I couldn’t try those delectable raw vegan treats one more time before returning home, so I made a vow to myself that I would learn to make a dessert just like the ones I sampled at Simply Raw and Naspolya.
Arriving home from vacation and real life setting in, my taste buds pushed me to recreate one of the joys from my vacation…a raw vegan cheesecake! After researching recipes, I came across a “cheesecake” recipe from the book, “The Earth Diet” by Lana Werner-Gray, which looked super easy and required very few ingredients. After playing around with the portions and making it just the way I like it (sweetness factor and all), I share with you my take on the recipe found in Liana Werner-Gray’s wonderful book “The Earth Diet” for Raw Cashew Cheesecake. I highly encourage you to check out this book as there are some great organic recipes and tips on a healthy lifestyle. I chose to increase the amount of maple syrup in the crust and the amount of lemon juice for the filling, just to play up the flavors of the dessert. I love that all of the ingredients are plant-based and are easily found in any supermarket. Now for the recipe…
Raw Vegan Lemon Cheesecake
- 4 c. almond meal
- 6+ tbs. maple syrup
- 1 tbs. melted virgin coconut oil
“Cheesecake” Filling Ingredients:
- 3 c. cashew nuts, soaked in filtered water for 3 hours
- 3/4 c. maple syrup
- 3/4 c. melted virgin coconut oil
- 1 tbs. pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp. Himalayan sea salt
- 1/2-3/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (depending on how strong you would like the lemon flavor)
- In a bowl, combine the almond meal, maple syrup and melted coconut oil. Mix the ingredients with a fork or your fingers until the mixture is moist enough that it sticks together and can be patted into your pie pan for the crust. You can add more maple syrup if the mixture is too dry.
- Press the crust mixture into your pie pan until the bottom and sides of the pan are evenly distributed with the mixture.
- For the filling, put all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high until you see a smooth pudding consistency. All ingredients should be completely processed and the filling should be light.
- Place your pie in the freezer for 4 hours or overnight so that it can set. Remove from freezer 30-45 minutes before serving. Slice and top with coconut whipped topping or Coyo Coconut Yogurt, a drizzle of maple syrup and a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon.
Wishing you divine health and a super divine holiday dessert!
<3 Eat Your Greens Out