Lis­bon exper­i­ences – from shopper’s para­dise through a veget­ari­an fest­iv­al into a day spa

A few weeks ago I scored Ryanair return tick­ets to Lis­bon (from Pon­ta Del­gada) for a mere 30 EUR. Since I will only get back to Hun­gary on Christ­mas eve – give or take one day – I need to do my Christ­mas shop­ping before and I figured this will be the per­fect trip for get­ting gifts for my fam­ily and friends. I highly recom­mend check­ing the Ryanair web­site because they have great pro­mo­tion­al deals all the time.

I woke up in the wee small hours of the morn­ing, only to find out the flight is delayed with 2 hours. How­ever, I used the extra time well and gave myself a chal­lenge to see how my Por­tuguese is pro­gress­ing (I am enrolled in a very intense lan­guage course since Septem­ber). I struck up con­ver­sa­tion with a sweet Azorean fam­ily, and we had a really nice chat. They told me my pro­nun­ci­ation was good and that I under­stood everything I said, so this exper­i­ence made me for­get about the annoy­ing delay.

The biggest sur­prise came when at the board­ing I saw that a friend of mine is also booked on this flight, moreover, his seat is next to mine! What a lovely coin­cid­ence.

Thanks to anoth­er friend I had great acco­mod­a­tion down­town. So after drop­ping of my bags I headed to the mall. I have nev­er thought I would enjoy the hustle and bustle and all these people around me – but I did. I loved look­ing around, and of course the shop­ping.

I loc­ated prob­ably the only gluten-free bakery of Lis­bon, and I went there to place my order so I don’t need to bake my own bread at home in Fur­nas dur­ing the next 2 weeks. All in all I had a won­der­ful day. In the even­ing when brows­ing through some tour­ist inform­a­tion mater­i­als I picked up at the air­port I found that there is a veget­ari­an fest­iv­al (Veg­gieWorld Por­tugal) this week­end in Lis­bon – so I thought I will check it out on Sunday. Fun­nily enough, when I asked at the vis­it­or cen­ter (at the air­port) if there is some­thing going on this week­end, they told me there are no pub­lic events. So the les­son learned here is that regard­less what you are told by someone, grab these free inform­a­tion mater­i­als at the air­port and browse them through in the even­ing in the hotel, or dur­ing a cof­fee break. The fest­iv­al was great, and being able to com­mu­nic­ate in Por­tuguese put me in a fant­ast­ic mood, and of course I have seen a few inter­est­ing things which I am going to share with you right now.

Gluten-free bakery – Zar­zuela

All read­ers with food aller­gies please take a men­tal note and remem­ber that the source of gluten-free and lactose-free baked goods is the Zar­zuela bakery. You can read my per­son­al exper­i­ences about this bakery below.

What I liked:

  • The bakery is cent­rally loc­ated and easy to access from Praça do Comér­cio or from the Baixa-Chiado under­ground sta­tion;
  • They have a huge sor­ti­ment of both sweet and savoury baked goods;
  • Even though no bakery can beat my per­son­al Hun­gari­an favor­ite gluten-free bakery named Free the products I tried were very tasty (note: I haven’t tried their bread yet);
  • The gluten-free Pas­tel de Nata was divine, so if you have food aller­gies and you are trav­el­ing to Por­tugal and would like to taste this very tra­di­tion­al cake: this is the place to come to.

What I did not like:

  • Bread must be pre-ordered and pre­paid, you can not just walk in and pick up a loaf so if you are in trans­it you might be out of luck here (unless you know someone there who can place your order and pay upfront);
  • The store itself is not really wel­com­ing: I would try to add music, col­ors, and a kind and com­pet­ent sales staff in order to cre­ate a friendly atmo­sphere where cus­tom­ers return to with pleas­ure;
  • It was a little bit strange that even the savoury products tasted sweet (even though this is more or less typ­ic­al for Por­tugal).

Gluten-free bakery & patis­ser­ie – Choco and Mousse

The second gluten-free bakery I heard about is run by a Hun­gari­an girl called Erika Szabo, and appar­ently she also works based on pre-orders. I will try and find out more about Erika and her busi­ness.

And now let’s head to the veget­ari­an fest­iv­al. In the fol­low­ing chapters you can read about all my new dis­cov­er­ies.

Organ­ic beauty products in con­scious pack­aging – Ringana

There is a com­pany in Aus­tria focus­ing on cre­at­ing preservative-free, organ­ic products for face, body, and hair. What makes them really spe­cial is that they are not only focus­ing on their products them­selves and their impact on the human body and the envir­on­ment, but also on the pack­aging which is made of pro­cessed sug­ar canes. The filling mater­i­al used dur­ing deliv­ery to pre­vent break­age is made of wheat, and products are shipped in chemical-free can­vas bags.

The have a spe­cial tooth oil, which I am about to try out. I have to admit I have nev­er heard about oil pulling before, so I am excited to exper­i­ence some­thing new. I have been very impressed by this com­pany and their Por­tugues spokes­per­son. Hereby I would like to thank them for the detailed inform­a­tion they have giv­en me. Here you can find their web­site. From their online shop they deliv­er to main­land Por­tugal, but unfor­tu­nately not yet to the Azores.

It was lovely to see how the fest­iv­al event itself has been envir­on­ment con­scious: I don’t remem­ber see­ing much plastic plates, spoons, forks, or straws any­where. Most of the pack­aging I have seen was made of recycled paper. So what else did I see?

Bam­boo toothbrush and stick swabs (Q‑tips) – Babu

On the fest­iv­al there was a booth pro­mot­ing envir­on­ment friendly bam­boo tooth­brushes and bam­boo stick swabs (Q‑tips). The tooth­brushes even had their own cute bam­boo travel case. These won­der­ful eco-friendly, and nat­ur­ally bio­de­grad­able products can also be pur­chased in Pon­ta Del­gada. The sales rep­res­ent­at­ive in the booth has been very kind, we had a nice con­ver­sa­tion. I am hop­ing to meet up with her next time she comes to Pon­ta Del­gada. You can check out the com­pany web­site here.

Bio gro­cery store – Cel­erio

Of course a lot of loc­al veget­ari­an res­taur­ants and shops were fea­tured at the fest­iv­al, the gro­cery store chain Cel­erio among them. Cel­erio is focus­ing on bio products and hence is a Para­dise for people with food aller­gies all over main­land Por­tugal (unfor­tu­nately no store on the Azores). They had an impress­ive, very col­or­ful booth with great present­a­tions and a lovely staff. There is a huge Cel­erio store in Lis­bon, at the Colombo shop­ping mall. You can check out the company’s web­site here.

Vegan and gluten-free cheese from Bar­celona – Veg­gie Karma

Anoth­er dis­cov­ery has been a small vegan and gluten-free cheese man­u­fac­ture from Bar­celona, with 3 salespeople behind the counter. The cheese offer­ing war truly spe­cial, I had a dif­fi­cult time to choose between the thyme & olive and the sun-dried tomato vari­et­ies. The feta was divine, too. They are deliv­er­ing to main­land Por­tugal, but not to the Azores, not yet. Hope­fully soon. All their products are vegan and gluten-free. You can check out their web­site here. Photo: Veg­gie Karma web­site.

Mini veget­able patch, also for inside – OKPlants

I find it dif­fi­cult to describe but prob­ably the best way would be to say that this com­pany is mak­ing mini (ver­tic­al) veget­able patches which come in dif­fer­ent shapes and sizes which allow you to grow herbs & spices or smal­ler plants on the wall, inside your apart­ment even, or in one of their styl­ish (ver­tic­al) plant­ers. Moreover, they are also giv­ing their spe­cially engin­eered soil along­side this these plant­ers. I am look­ing for­ward to tell you more about this in the near future… because believe it or not, I – who was on a Christ­mas shop­ping quest in the first place – ended up buy­ing a plant­er and 10 liters of soil and flew it back to the Azores. I have to admit the notion that this maybe was not the best idea ever crossed my mind when I was huff­ing and puff­ing and lug­ging my pre­cious cargo on the way home. But now the heavy bag of soil has arrived to Fur­nas, and I can­not wait to try my new plant­er. Check out the pho­tos I took and of course the web­site of the com­pany, if you are curi­ous.

The Veg­gieWorld Por­tugal event was organ­ized very pro­fes­sion­ally, with lots of environment-conscious par­ti­cipants, and I am very excited about my new dis­cov­er­ies. I highly recom­mend when you travel some­where that you check out the tour­ist inform­a­tion mater­i­als about the events hap­pen­ing dur­ing your stay.

High­light of the weekend: mas­sage – Belez­in­tem­por­al Day Spa

But the best part of the week­end was still yet to come. My friend is a mas­sage ther­ap­ist and lucky for me she could squeeze me into her busy sched­ule. I have longed for a mas­sage for so long, and I was very grate­ful for this oppor­tun­ity. It was divine! I can only recom­mend for every­one to reward them­selves with a nice mas­sage after a few long days of sight­see­ing in Lis­bon, so next time you are in town and would like to be pampered: pay a vis­it to my friend Kriszti. The mas­sage was def­in­itely the high­light of my trip.

I am already on my way back to Sao Miguel, filled with exper­i­ences and suit­cases filled with gifts, and tonight I have anoth­er Por­tuguese les­son. I hope with this art­icle I could give you a few hints about where to buy envir­on­ment­ally con­scious products in Lis­bon, where to find gluten-free sweet del­ic­acies and where to go for a bit of relax­a­tion!

I am look­ing for­ward to hear your thoughts and feed­backs, and please let me know if you know any baker­ies or res­taur­ants in Lis­bon or at the Azores which are also cater­ing for people with food aller­gies.

For the latest news fol­low us on the Azori Éden Face­book page.  For more inspir­a­tion and beau­ti­ful pho­tos check out the Edenazores Ins­tagram, and for com­pre­hens­ive posts of course the www​.edenazores​.com blog.

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