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A Little European Advisory, Please ...

Alright, here's the deal.  My sister who is in her tenth year of school is going to Europe this summer as a part of a special program offered to her earlier in the year.  It just so happens that she will be turning seventeen while she is away.  Her peers haven't planned anything for her as it's all quite official and a birthday party is a bit out of the question.  My question?  Are there any impossible-to-miss health food stores, chains to be more specific, that we could easily locate in the major regions - England, France, Italy - that conveniently carry soy ice cream?  I'd really hate to think she didn't get any on such a special day and being a quite melded to her beliefs I know she won't cave for real dairy, even if it was her only option.

i don't know of any in europe, but you should toss her a big old vegan birthday party before she leaves, with lots of cake and soy icecream! it might tide her over for her trip!  ;D

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That's something I've considered, and am planning on doing either prior to or immediately after she departs/returns, but can't shake off this mindset that she's got to have soy ice cream (or some other similarly delicious vegan friendly treat) on her actual birthday.  Something small but satisfying, you know?  She put a lot of effort into making my last birthday a real treat - peanut butter cookies, chocolate cake, ice cream, pizza, the works, all homemade and all vegan! - so I'd like to return the favor.

I guess if we can't find a place to send her I can always work equally hard at making one hell of a birthday bash.

;D

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i have another idea. what about finding a really good bar of chocolate or some other treat that she really enjoys that would travel well and wrap it up, so on her birthday she could have a delightful little treat. this is, of course, the soy icecream remains a mystery. i don't know if she likes sorbet (is that the dairy free one?) but i would bet she could find those in europe.

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She could try Holland and Barrett in the UK. All I can think of, sorry.

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Sainsbury's and holland and barrett in the UK i found both had soy ice cream....

Not sure if you will be in Switzerland, but I found soy ice cream in Coop grocery store there...
i would do some research on it, and a great vegan/veggie place to eat in london: Eat and Two Veg is really wonderful... and im fairly certain they serve soy ice cream as a dessert option (www.eatandtwoveg.com)...

hope this is helpful!

Nora
elenoise@cfl.rr.com

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I'm with baypuppy... a little care package from home means a lot... even if she's only a wee bit homesick.  A chocolate bar, or candies, some homemade cookies, a card (maybe one that opens up and plays a tune?), you can include a phone card too, so she can call home to you and her friends.  Wrap it up in some bright wrapping paper. Don't forget to add some confetti to the package to spill out all over the rug (you always have to clean up after a party :D )

K

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i'd straight away go with everyone so far who said find holland and barrett - you can find out if there is a store near where she'll be at: http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/pages/stores.asp?xs=F9EA94704C8F4039A957DAD3A3072891
or sainsburys- http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/home.htm
when she's in the UK.
holland and barrett is a high street health food store,- and sainsburys is a major supermarket chain. both should carry the BEST soy icecream (in my opinion lol) which is 'swedish glace'- really smooth, creamy, and soft- i love the vanilla and raspberry ripple. http://www.fayrefield.com/gallerySwedish.htm
you might also find it in larger tescos supermarket branches depending on if they stock it in a specific store or not- you can always call them in advance to find out (another supermarket chain) http://www.tesco.com/ . sainsburys also carries their own brand soy icecream in their 'freefrom' (allergy and special diets) section- which aint bad if you're stuck- the raspberry ripple and crunchy icecream cones pieces version is wheat free too. i think that morrisons (was safeway, and some of their stores may still use that name) also has some really nice sorbets- blackcurrant, lemon, and raspberry,- but i haven't checked in the past 2 years as i ran off to canada a while ago and haven't been back much, lol.
i've not found soy icecream in europe before- but haven't specifically looked for it (language barrier!)- i've found the easier option is to go with a sorbet- like those made by a high end brand like haagen dazs http://www.haagen-dazs.com/segsor.do ,you can get these in any corner supermarket in paris, i've found- and probably right across europe- and check that there is no random egg or dairy in it- there is in some flavours- anyway- the mango is gorgeous!

hope your sister has an amazing time!

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sorry, lol, i have more to add:

you can try http://www.happycow.net to search by area for local health food stores and restaurants across the world- it also has a handy fuction that tells you how to say 'i'm vegetarian' etc, in the local language.

there are also some really handy tips from vegans who've travelled, along with things like french (etc) supermarkets that stock vegan products and where to find them , at vegan/vegetarian forums like  this one: (you don't need to join to read posts!)http://www.veganforum.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=21

aparently in france you need to look for the section labelled 'rayons biologiques ou dietetiques' in the supermarket, and brands like 'Sojasun'.

i don't know if she's going to holland at all, but if she is, i remember that they're really friendly, speak english much more than the french and italians do, and are pretty vegetarian friendly!

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if she is going to be in london there is a great vegan cafe called pogo and they do the best vegan cake & ice creams and whatnot.  there are a lot of good places to get good vegan food in the uk.  you can order a book through the vegan society called vegetarian europe which might help too.

http://www.pogocafe.co.uk/
http://www.vegansociety.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=1&products_id=33

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I found a good brand of soy ice cream in the UK called "Tofutti", which I bought in Tesco.  I don't see it very often though.

I have found Sainsbury to be better than Tesco in the "Free From" range (for dairy free, wheat free etc).  I was disappointed at Tesco to discover many of the nicer looking products in the Free From range were gluten free but not dairy free.

I also buy products in my local independent health food store, which is excellent and the owners can actually give advice too.

The UK is pretty good, I think - we have a lot of vegetarians here, dairy free milks are widely available (even in small stores) and being veggie or vegan isn't regarded as weird.

Good luck if you are going to France!  My French friend who is vegetarian but eats dairy struggles a lot of the time.

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Thanks for the referrals, everyone.  I have resolved to create a list composed of veg-friendly diners and/or stores and give it to her along with something from home, as suggested, though now it's a matter of choosing recipes!  Like I said, thanks a ton!

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