A new 100% vegan eatery called Vegan Box has opened in Faro in a bid to prove to everyone that following a vegan diet can be just as delicious as any other.
It is a family-run business located on Rua das Mestras where people can enjoy homemade meals, snacks and desserts, free of any meat or animal-based products, Monday through Saturday, from noon to midnight. The eatery also provides a take-away service, meaning you can take your vegan meals home with you.
Beatriz Lopes, 25, is one of the ‘faces’ of Faro’s new vegan hotspot.
“My mother and my sister have a great love for cooking. Seven years ago, when we stopped eating meat, my mother started creating vegan recipes. As the years went by, friends started wanting to try her dishes. Everyone began encouraging her to open an eatery serving her dishes,” Beatriz told Barlavento newspaper.
Although the family believed it would be “impossible”, an opportunity emerged three months ago at a time when she and her sister were unemployed.
Her mother, 47-year-old Ana Lopes, said she was weary to bite the bullet because she had a “steady job” and “rents are expensive”.
“It was a coincidence that we found this space. We came here to check it out in October and together decided that we would open in November to celebrate World Vegan Day (November 1). It was a family decision and it really involved a compromise from everyone so that we could be available to work during the opening hours,” Ana told the paper.
Although the dishes that Vegan Box serves are always changing, there are a few staples on the menu such as stuffed sweet potato or seitan burgers.
Customers can also choose from a wide range of vegan desserts such as coconut ‘arroz doce’ (sweet rice), Oreo chocolate salami, fruit mousses and even vegan ‘pastéis de nata’, Portugal’s famous custard tart dessert. The eatery even makes special vegan birthday cakes to order.
Being environmentally responsible is another goal at Vegan Box, where take-away clients are encouraged to bring their own containers in order to avoid using plastic.
Even the furniture follows this mindset. “Everything we have here is second-hand, recycled and restored. We have a piece of furniture that is nearly 100 years old. We only bought a few specific objects, which are new,” Ana said.
Another goal is to ensure Vegan Box remains affordable.
“Some establishments use the fact that they are different to charge higher prices,” says Ana. At Vegan Box, a meal costs an average of around €10.
Beatriz hopes that Vegan Box will be an answer to those who frequently ask her what she eats as a vegan.
“People tell me that I can’t eat cakes or chocolates. But we are proof that you can eat everything. It is easy being vegan and it is easy to eat well and at accessible prices”.
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Original article written by Maria Simiris for Barlavento newspaper.
Photos: MARIA SIMIRIS/OPEN MEDIA GROUP