A north-of-Auckland vegan

last cheese for miles

I’m back! I spent last week at Mangawhai Heads, away from computers and the internets.

One afternoon, I went to Kaiwaka, which turned out to be one of the vegan-friendliest small New Zealand towns I’ve ever visited. I only spent a couple of hours there, so the following vegan guide to Kaiwaka is probably not exhaustive.

chickpeas and chocolate

Kaiwaka’s Cheese Shop smells very strongly of cheese, but is otherwise surprisingly vegan-friendly. It’s full of non-cheese related organic food, local wines and fancy European goodies. Things I bought: golden roasted chickpeas, Abu Kicher german vegan paté (chickpea and sesame oil, one of 5 or 6 different kinds), Bennetts of Mangawhai almonds in dark chocolate, RitterSport dark chocolate with marzipan, a bottle of local rosé (not pictured).

eutopia

chocolate vegan cookie

Eutopia claims to make “the best coffee north of anywhere” – I’m not sure, but it’s pretty good. I had a soy flat white with a vegan chocolate cookie. The kitchen had closed for the day, and the all-organic menu had been scrubbed off the blackboard (I suspect it changes with the seasons), but apparently there are always vegan menu options. Check out Eutopia’s vision on their website – by drinking their coffee you’re funding the construction of a library tower and labyrinth. As well as being a café, they’re a small press publisher and a second-hand bookshop – I picked up a book of essays about gardening for holiday reading.

stained glass

And lastly, the general store, Jaques, has a really good range of organic food (including tempeh and tofu).

I’d definitely recommend checking out the town if you’re in the Kaipara or heading North. It’s an hour and a half north of Auckland, not far past Wellsford on the main road.

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