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New Hastings stockist of Guide to VegeCafesNZ

Cornucopia Organics

Summertime travellers through Hawke’s Bay rejoice!

Cornucopia Organics at 221A Heretaunga St, St Leonards, Hastings is now stocking the Guide to VegeCafes in NZ

With your copy in hand, you’ll know immediately where to go for vegetarian and vegan food anywhere in New Zealand – not only where to find them but exactly what to expect from each cafe – food style & ethnicity, plus whether gluten free and/or organic; opening hours, parking, disability access, and more.


Touring around NZ this summer …

???????????????????????????????Whether you’re vegetarian or not, if you’re travelling to or through unfamiliar territory – or even the well-travelled routes – it’s always useful to know where to go for a good quick meal.

We’ve done the research for you! The Guide to Vegetarian Cafes shows you where to find 60 cafes from Whangarei to Dunedin.

You can be confident that you’ll get a good meal – vegetarian cafes are usually a reliable choice for tasteful, healthy food.

It tells you whether they provide Kiwi style food, or Indian or Asian meals; whether their menu caters for vegetarians or vegans, and is gluten free and/or organic; what days and hours they’re open; whether there is disabled access and facilities; where to find parking.

So don’t leave home until you have your Guide to Vegetarian Cafes!

Where to find them? There’s a list of stockists here or you can buy direct through this site Buy the Guide


Golden Bay Organics, Takaka is our new stockist

If you’re travelling around the Top of the South this summer, do call in for supplies at our newest stockist Golden Bay Organics in Takaka.

‘GB organics is a funky shop on the main St of Takaka in Golden Bay. We stock a wide range of Organic food and products including bodycare and herbs. We are a vegetarian store and proud of it! We endeavor to stock as much local fruit and vege as possible.’


47 Commercial Street
Takaka, New Zealand, 7110

Get Driving Directions


Work 03 525 8677
Fax 03 525 8608

Store Hours

Mon – Fri 9am – 5.30pm Sat 9am – 2pm

Lambs to the Slaughter

Tofu burger-veganSo we’re over halfway through World Vegetarian Awareness Month – so what? What’s its about?

Being cruelty free, that’s what.

When I was in the Coromandel on a summer holiday some years ago, walking along a pier where rows of people were throwing their lines into the ocean, I watched as a boy pulled a gleaming silver fish from the water and threw it down beside him. As he loaded his hook with more bait the sleek, beautiful creature from the sea threshed frantically on the boards, suffocating to death, and I wondered how I’d feel if I was being suffocated. I never ate fish again.

We’re well into springtime so memories of seeing lambs and calves in the fields just outside our cities are still vivid. But already you won’t be seeing many of these young animals now. Anyone who has heard a calf and his mother calling to each other from separate pens when they’ve been forcibly separated would need a stone heart not to hear the desperation in those cries.

We wince when we hear about cruelty to our fellow humans. Some of us wince equally at the knowledge of the daily cruelty that takes place en masse to sentient, defenceless animals that are imprisoned and slaughtered to please our palates – from the millions of people on the planet who are successfully vegetarian, it’s obvious that choosing to be carnivorous isn’t for health reasons.

Sheep give us their fleece to make warm clothing for our bodies and furnishings for our homes, cows provide milk for our butter and cheese, chickens give us eggs. None of these animals offer us any harm.

So why, when we benefit so widely from their bounty, do we repay them so harshly?

chili con carneIf you’re new to vegetarian eating, why not try something new this month. If you’re eating out – or at home – perhaps try making chilli con carne with kidney beans instead of mince. Or try wraps or pita pockets made with falafel (just remember to use extra sauce – yum).

If you’re eating out and want to try something different, tofu often gets a bad press but Auckland’s Blue Bird Cafe in Dominion Rd and the Raw Power Cafe in the CBD both have excellent Tofu Burgers (as in the photo above), and the Blue Bird has an alternative burger with a delicious walnut-pumpkin patty.

Masala-DosaFor a tasty range of substantial cooked as well as raw salad lunches why not visit one of the Revive Cafes in the city. Or go Indian and order a masala dosa, a thin crispy pancake made with lentils and rice and stuffed with a spicy potato filling. Or for something quite different, take a trip out to Flat Bush in Manukau to the Fo Guan Shan Water Drop Vegetarian Cafe at the Buddhist Temple, and order the spicy Noodle Laksa or one of their other attractive meals, and wander around the remarkably beautiful and tranquil Temple and grounds.

There’s a world of new tastes awaiting you. Along with a clear conscience.

And remember if you’re travelling around the country, or just within Auckland, and would like to know where there are vegetarian cafes, my Guide to Vegetarian Cafes in NZ describes where to find them.

Happy eating!

Lunch at Wagamama, Sylvia Park

For a recent birthday celebration Matt and I lunched at Japanese/Asian restaurant Wagamama at Sylvia Park.

The long community-style tables look as though they encourage relaxed eating, and the menu had enough vegan options to appeal. The service was very quick and friendly, and it was fun watching the cooks with the live flames flaring up behind the tall service bench.

I ordered a Mains-Salad-Chilli-Chicken-Salad-thumbwarm tofu chilli salad which was described as ‘stir fried tofu, red peppers, mangetout, tender stem broccoli and red onions in a sweet chilli sauce on a bed of baby gem lettuce with the wagamama house dressing. Garnished with cashew nuts, chillies and spring onions’ ($18.50). It looked tasty if insubstantial so I requested a side of brown rice.

The salad tasted as good as it looked, the veges were nicely cooked and still firm, and it did need the rice to give it substance, and to balance out the flavours.Matt had the Kouma Yasai* – ‘deep fried tofu marinated in ginger, garlic and lemongrass, stir-fried with broccoli, zucchini, chillies, red onions, garlic, ginger, mint basil and coriander in chilli oil. Served with steamed jasmine rice and garnished with lime’ ($19.70).

This turned out to be a small topping of veges dominated by zucchini – not his favourite – and while the rice bowl was tasty there was a lot of it in proportion to the veg. A side of leafy greens would have been an extra $7.

While the wait staff continued to be attentive, relaxed eating is not, alas, encouraged. Matt’s empty plate was whipped away well before I had finished, and when I did, my own plate was politely removed within seconds. The message was: don’t linger. Not that the restaurant was busy.

Would I go again? Perhaps, if was was seeking a quick, light meal, but other places give better value for money.

*Yasai or V denote vegetarian options, but not always vegan, so do check if you want egg-free.

It’s World Vegetarian Awareness month this October – why not give a vegetarian meal a try when you’re next out at your favourite cafe? 

Latest news on food and healing

OrgNZ_July_CoverAnyone interested in good quality nutrition as the basic building block of our health will be aware of the value of organic food – even if we can’t always find, buy or grow it!

The NZ Soil & Health Association publishes a two-monthly magazine Organic NZ. It’s always worth a look – the latest issue includes features (among many others) on

* pesticides in our baby food (there are lots)

* updates on GE – what’s really happening now in our food chain and  how it affects us

* beneficial foods to reduce the effects of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

* the crucial need for zinc in healing any wounds to our bodies – eat pumpkin seeds, everyone!

* a feature on the Wild Earth Organics shop and vegetarian cafe in Tauranga

* moon calendar for your garden

And a wonderful quote from the owners of IE Produce (50/50 organic and conventional groceries): “Many perceive eating organic food is expensive, and they can expect to pay maybe a third more, but they don’t realise it has a much better quality, high density nutritional content and they don’t need to eat so much of it.”

Once you join the Soil & Health Association, you automatically receive the magazine. Or you local library may have it, and if not, simply ask them to subscribe

Blue Bird Cafe hours change

BlueBird extThe Blue Bird Vegetarian Cafe in Dominion Road has been trialling new hours including open until 9pm on Saturday evenings.

That’s still the case BUT ONLY IF YOU BOOK FIRST.

They now open from 8am-3pm on Saturdays but will re-open at 6pm on request.

Plus, they’ve amended their opening hours in April and August – details are posted on their website.

The new updated 2015 Guide to Vegan and Vegetarian Cafes in Aotearoa is available – simply go to BUY THE GUIDE to order your copy. 

NEW 2015 edition of the Vege Cafe Guide out now!

???????????????????????????????The 2015 edition of A Guide to Vegetarian Cafes in Aotearoa/New Zealand is out now!

The revised and updated edition contains:

  • details of 10 new cafes
  • a total of 60 vegetarian and vegan cafes nationwide
  • highlights where cafes have full disabled facilities, and not just flat access
  • colour coding ethnicity of cafes for ease of choice
  • a sturdier spiral binding and plastic cover

To buy simply go to Buy the Guide 

you’ll find a list of stockists

or you can buy direct through the website.

To receive automatic advice whenever new posts are added to the website, remember to click on the ‘FOLLOW VEGECAFESNZ’ button on this page.

Food is our medicine: Turmeric

Indian Turmeric Abstract“Medicines derived from plants have played a pivotal role in the health care of both ancient and modern cultures,” says the WHO. One of the prime sources of plant-derived medicines is spices. Turmeric, for example, has been consumed over the centuries around the world.

Turmeric is the dried powdered root stalks of the turmeric plant—a member of the ginger family—from which the orangey-yellow pigment curcumin can be extracted. The spice turmeric is what makes curry powder yellow, and curcumin is what makes turmeric yellow. Because it is so drying and heating in the body, turmeric needs to be used judiciously – one part turmeric to 6 parts cumin, fennel or especially coriander, which are cooling.

This article in Autumn Leaves explains why turmeric is important and when it can be beneficial.

The Blue Bird sings – and for longer hours

BlueBird extThere’s a shortage of Kiwi-fare vege cafes open for dining in the evenings, especially on Saturday nights. So I was delighted to hear last week that Dominion Road’s The Blue Bird is now opening to 9pm on several weekday evenings and trialling a later time open on Saturdays until 9pm – at least for now. Whether they continue these later hours will depend on how busy they become.

Sometimes what you want in a meal is really good quality comfort food. Something tasty but not too spicy, filling but not heavy. At The Blue Bird, whether you’re vegan, lacto-vegetarian, vegetarian, or gluten-free, they cover all the bases.

Blue Bird interiorIn addition to their standard menu – and their tofu burger is the best in town – they have a cabinet with a changing array of hot and cold foods, cakes and sweets, all made in house. (Including the focaccia bread for the tofu burger, and yes they do a gluten-free version). I have shared a slice of their pineapple and coconut cake with a friend and we found it delicious, especially when the sweetness was balanced with a little plain yoghurt. Their coffee is excellent.

Early on this hot February evening I enjoyed a generous serving of Hazelnut Loaf, made with lentils, herbs and rice flour bread and served with their own tomato and onion sauce($9.50). Vegan and gluten-free, it was truly comfort food. I could have added a side of Roast Vege Salad or Thai Ginger Slaw, but in fact would have liked a crisp light green salad to add a little crunchy summertime perfection.

Blueberrycheescake-BlueBirdThe Loaf was filling but the Blueberry Cheesecake looked irresistible, so I took a slice home ($6.20). Egg free and gluten free, it was nevertheless a real cheesecake, complete with sweet biscuit base and tangy/sweet blueberry glaze, to which I added a little plain yoghurt. And it wasn’t overly rich, as are many of the raw food cheesecakes being made with ground almonds and/or cashews and coconut oil.

The cafe is open from 8am Monday to Saturday. It closes at 3pm Monday and Wednesday and is open until 9pm on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Saturday evening bookings are recommended if possible to assist. You’ll find the menu on their website

Remember to sign up for our new monthly VegeCafesNZ Newsletter for featured cafes and other useful tips.